Pet Dermatology: Common Diagnostic Tests for Pet Skin Issues

It’s common for pets to experience skin issues like rashes, itching, dry or flaking skin, and even hair loss. When pets suffer from skin problems, they may scratch, lick, or bite on themselves excessively, resulting in a nighttime disturbance for everyone. Identifying a skin disorder could be difficult due to the similarity between many of them. Veterinarian dermatologists will need to run tests and apply their understanding of allergies and other problems to determine the origin of the concern.

Common Diagnostic Tests for Pet Skin Conditions

Various skin illnesses can influence both dogs and cats. They may also experience skin problems and ear infections due to food allergies or environmental allergens. In addition, some dog breeds are more likely to have skin complications than others. Complications with a pet’s skin can distress the animal and its owner. When pets scratch, they frequently develop other skin infections that worsen the original issue.

If you wonder about the kinds of examinations a vet will carry out to arrive at a precise diagnosis for your pet, keep reading.

Skin and Ear Cytology

Studying cells is known as cytology. By delicately pressing a glass slide against the atypical location of your pet’s skin or using a cotton-tipped applicator or a little piece of tape, veterinarians can acquire skin samples without triggering discomfort. The vet will check the slide for bacterial and fungal growth.

An ear infection in your pet demands a trip to the veterinarian, who will collect a sample of the unusual discharge from the ear and test it for the presence of ear mites, bacteria, and yeast. Additionally, having your pet examined by a veterinarian from an emergency animal hospital is vital if they are experiencing skin disorders. This allows them to give your pet the appropriate medication.

Tape Strips

Tape stripping is an easy-to-use and versatile approach to diagnosis. It’s simple, inexpensive, and can reveal some intriguing clues about what’s wrong. Because it can spot superficial pyoderma, bacterial overgrowth, some autoimmune diseases, and parasites, it is a standard diagnostic tool for veterinary dermatologists.

Moreover, a veterinary diagnostic lab should be called if you observe any skin or ear problems in your pet.

Skin Scraping

When parasite involvement is suspected but less invasive tests are negative, skin scraping is a necessary but time-consuming step in the diagnostic process. Demodicosis, scabies, and other mites like Cheyletiella can be diagnosed with it, as can other surface and burrowing mites.

For more information, if you’re also keeping your pet up-to-date on vaccinations, you can rest assured that they’ll be protected from infectious skin problems.

Coat Brushing

This easy examination is underutilized yet is excellent screening for ectoparasites, eggs, flea farces, and follicular problems. The animal must be brushed over a brown paper or black consulting table. As a result, it is necessary to collect the hairs and epithelial particles and separate the hair from the scale.

To study the hairs under the microscope, they are first installed in liquid paraffin with a cover slip and then placed in a petri dish for use with the Wood’s lamp. A cover slip is put over the scale once it has been installed in liquid paraffin.


If your pet is experiencing a skin or ear problem, your veterinarian can run these diagnostic examinations to identify if parasites or conditions cause the issue. A precise diagnosis allows your vet to recommend the most reliable treatment for your dog or cat, speeding up the recovery process.