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About our Small Animal Dermatology Clinic

Cat or dog skin problems can be extremely troublesome for pets and owners alike. Constant itching or pawing can lead to infections, abrasions and serious discomfort.

Our small animal dermatology clinic is based in Knutsford, Cheshire, close to Stockport, Manchester, and Warrington. We provide honest, tailored care in a modern and relaxed environment. Our highly trained staff are on hand to support you and your pet throughout your journey. From initial consultation, through to diagnosis and treatment, we’re here for you. 

What to Expect from Veterinary Dermatology

A referral to a veterinary dermatologist  may seem daunting, especially if you’re increasingly concerned about your pet’s condition. However, with Knutsford Vets you can rest assured that you and your pet are in expert hands; we have additional training in small animal dermatology, and support staff that are here for you through the good and the bad.

We’ll first conduct an initial consultation and examination of your pet, including the evaluation of the skin, ears, feet, and mucous membranes. In most cases, we will then require some kind of cytology to help diagnose the problem. Samples may be collected as a skin scraping, impression smear, swab, or via fine needle aspiration/biopsy, depending on the condition. Histology may be used if cytology cannot make a definitive diagnosis. 

We may then need to send samples off for analysis, before discussing our findings with you and proposing a suitable treatment plan and getting your pet  back to good health. Learn more about diagnostic tests on our blog.

Specialist Equipment

At Knutsford Vet’s we’ve invested in high-tech specialist veterinary dermatology equipment to allow us to diagnose and treat a wide range of animal dermatology conditions. We also have a range of on-site testing equipment which allows us to provide you with answers to your pet’s skin concerns right here in the surgery, saving time and money. 

What’s more, we’ve invested in a machine called Scopio, an all-in-one digital cytology tool that offers results within an hour, and is available 24/7. We use Scopio to bring you answers much faster than usual, allowing us to begin planning your pet’s treatment or next steps the very same day. 

This means we’re the perfect vets to help manage your pets skin problems or help offer a vital second opinion at diagnosis.

Second Opinions & Veterinary Referrals

Did you know that Knutsford Vets offers a referral or second opinion service? If you’re a vet, use the referral button below and to refer a pet and guide us on the case history. If you’re a pet owner, use the appointment button below to book today.


dog in white

If you’re a vet looking to refer a patient in your care, fill out our veterinary referral form today.

Refer Your Pet

Why Choose Us

There are many reasons why you should choose Knutsford Veterinary Surgery if your pet is suffering from any kind skin condition.



With specialist equipment and expert hands, we aim to provide quick, accurate diagnoses to help get your pet back to their best sooner.



We have a number of specialist machines and equipment in-house, as well as an operating theatre and qualified Veterinary Surgeons.



We believe in continuity of care and, as such, you’ll see the same vet throughout your journey with us.


Dr Rachel Caines has additional training in veterinary dermatology, with a Postgraduate certificate in dermatology. 


We always go the extra mile at Knutsford Vets, providing tailored care and treatments to perfectly suit your pet’s condition and circumstances.



We can provide medication and treatments using our extensive dermatology drug dispensary. 

Common Causes of Itching in Pets

Itching in pets can be caused by a number of things, from allergies, to bacteria, fleas, and infections. As such, it’s important to contact your vet if you notice unusual or excessive itching. Causes can include, but are not limited to:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Mites, fleas, and other parasites
  • Contact allergies 
  • Food allergies

Common Signs of Pet Skin Allergies

Regardless of the cause of the itch, once your pet starts scratching, they find it difficult to stop. Once the skin barrier is broken this leaves the potential for opportunistic bacteria and yeast to invade causing infections. In turn these infections will make the skin even itchier.

Some of the most common signs, other than itching, of an allergic skin reaction are: –

  • Red skin – in general or just in certain areas
  • Hair loss or short broken hair
  • Spots – either red raised lumps (papules), pus filled lumps (pustules) or even blackheads (comedones).
  • Crusting – this can occur as pustules rupture and scab on the skin or in rings of flaky skin associated with bacterial infections.
  • Brown nails – this is often a sign of yeast infection of the nail beds which can occur in allergies due to foot chewing as yeast thrives in warm environments.
  • Flaky skin – this can be a sign that the skin barrier is dry and therefore more likely to allow allergies to occur.
  • Ears – the skin can become thick and red, discharge can develop – either pus (yellow/green) or yeast (brown).
  • Over time if the skin inflammation continues the body protects itself by thickening the skin (lichenification) and by laying down extra pigment creating dark areas of skin (hyperpigmentation).

What to Do If Your Pet Has Sore or Itchy Skin

If you notice any of the above symptoms, or excessive itching, it’s important to consult your vet as soon as possible. Left untreated, skin conditions can become severe, painful, and may be harder to treat.

Small Animal Dermatology Diagnosis

One of the most challenging things about dermatology conditions is that, regardless of the cause, the signs that your pet shows are often the same. For this reason we often have to undertake a range of diagnostic tests to help differentiate the cause and also any secondary conditions present. Cytology (the microscopic study of cell samples collected from your pet’s body) and histology (the study of tissues) will often be used to try to determine the cause of the problem, with samples collected via skin scraping, impression smear, swab, or via fine needle aspiration/biopsy, depending on the condition.

The results from these tests will help us to make an accurate diagnosis, before preparing and presenting you with a tailored treatment plan to help get your pet back to good health.

Small Animal Dermatology Treatment

Whilst some skin conditions are treatable, it’s important to be aware that not all skin conditions have a cure, and instead, treatment is aimed at managing signs, such as reducing itching and preventing and reducing the occurrence of skin infections.

Depending on your pet’s condition and individual circumstances, your vet may recommend any of the following treatments:

  •  Antibacterial shampoos or creams to treat infection. In the worst cases of deep infections, antibiotics may be required
  • Diet change – either as part of an elimination diet trial, or to improve the skin’s barrier
  • Anti-itch medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Topical treatments – such as ointments and shampoos
  • Immunotherapy 
  • Surgery – for severe, specific conditions

Refer your pet

Refer your pet online today

Refer Your Pet

Animal Dermatology Factsheets

Read our educational factsheets for advice on your pet’s skin issues. If anything in our factsheets sounds familiar to you, then it’s probably the right time to refer your pet to our veterinary dermatology team here at Knutsford Vets Surgery.

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