Russell Vale Animal Clinic

17 Bellambi Lane
Bellambi, NS 2518


Skin Management Solutions

At Russell Vale Animal Clinic, as pet lovers and owners ourselves, we also have felt the frustration of an itchy pet.  And the frustration of "trying everything" and not getting anywhere. That is why we have our "Itchy Dog" worksheet as we try to be systematic in our approach to skin cases. This applies to our pets, as well as yours.

Some owners want the "quick fix" and a "cure", and this is unfair.  Many skin problems can be cured (that is, never to come back again), but often times, this is due to ongoing management, rather than the disease going away totally. 

I often liken skin problems to a child with asthma - I, with the owners, develop an "Skin Management Solution" which consists of

- short term plan

- long term plan.

The Short term plan - often consists of the combination of things to get the skin problem under reasonable control.

The Long Term Plan - aims to keep what we achieve at the end of the Short term plan going for a long time. - in effect a "cure" from the signs the pet is showing with respect to its disease, rather than a "cure" from the actual disease itself.

Of course, after all of above, I am talking about those skin conditions which need these plans - examples include allergic skin disease,hormonal and immune mediated skin problems. 

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Your appointment time will be confirmed via email or SMS within 24 hours. If not, call 42845988 and speak with our nurses Dirk or Tegan.

Skin Allergy Test includes a basic vet check, Blood Allergy test (91 Allergens including food) and Dermatology questionnaire.



Case Study:  Merlin 

Merlin is a 7 yo XB that came in with this.  He had been to multiple vets (in other city) as he only recently moved to Wollongong. 

This is why our "itchy pet " consultations cost what they cost, as it is impossible to examine this pet, assess its previous history, do skin tests, and then come up with a treatment plan in a matter of 15 minutes (which is what happened to Merlin before - he was charged for, and had 15 minute consultations, and this is what he looked like). 

But, your first revisit consultations is free, so that is really a huge saving (whereas most other practices would charge a revisit fee even if it is for follow up - and there is nothing wrong with this, but all of our "itchy pet" consultations, because your initial consultation is detailed, the revisit consults don't take as long, due to our high rate of successful outcomes).

I don't have an "after" photo, but needless to say, he now has a furry bum, instead of a black one. 

Diagnosis: Severe Malassezia Dermatitis secondary to chronic Flea Allergy Dermatitis


  1. Eukenuba Skin and Coat (From 2015, we would've used Ivory Coat Hypoallergenic or Royal Canin Anallergenic)
  2. Fortnightly application of Advantage (From 2015, we would use Bravecto (three monthly Flea/tick tablet, or Nexguard)
  3. Short term steroids and long term antihistamines
  4. Paws and Claws Fish Oil Capsules
  5. Dermoscent Essential 6 spot on weekly for 3 months.
  6. Antifungal tablets 
(note - no shampoos - his skin had been "over shampooed" so it needed a break. 
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Merlin's owner wrote me a lovely letter, where it called the care I gave Merlin "good value for money", and where he thanked me for giving his Merlin back to him.

But the success was only achieved because Merlin came in for each of his rechecks when asked to, and we were able to "tweak" his management plan. 

This treatment may not be suitable for your dog or cat, so please please please get a vet consult for your pet.

Whilst we know that no one, not even a vet, can diagnose a condition over the internet, we do try to give you as much information as we can, so you can make informed decisions about tests that will be required to confirm your pet's skin condition.

Click here to link to a "differential diagnosis of itchy skin" page and suggested tests required.  Please note, the page is from the US, but I have reviewed it, and it is appropriate for Australia too. 

Updated Dec 2015

Dr Liz, the vet to see for itchy pet solutions

File NameDescription / Comment
A guide to the chronically itchy petI love flow charts, and this one explains why we do the tests we do, and the steps we take to ensure the right diagnosis for an itchy pet.
Itchy dog Work upA very nicely laid out work sheet to help us work through our itchy dog cases.
Antihistamine Dose ChartThis is a handy dose chart to use in the event of an acute allergic reaction (such as bee stings) for your dog or cat. Most anithistamines are available from the chemist.
Skin Handout - Choosing the Right Shampoo for yourUpdated for 2013 - choosing the right shampoo for your pet depending on their skin type and condition.