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Diseases of the skin and ears are among the most common reasons for veterinary office visits.

Skin and ear problems can leave your pet feeling uncomfortable and distressed, and leave you feeling frustrated and concerned.

The most common dermatological issues are allergies, ectoparasites, bacterial and fungal infections, hereditary and congenital diseases, chronic ear infections, diseases of the feet, footpads and nails, autoimmune skin diseases, endocrine (hormonal) disorders, and skin cancer.

Caitlin Contreary, DVM, DACVD has moved to Florida.

Specialty dermatology cases will be referred to our sister hospital, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists (GCVS) in Houston, Texas.

Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists
8042 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77024

Questions? Contact us at 210-737-7373

Common Skin Problems

  • Allergies
  • Itchy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Crusty skin
  • Skin infections

  • Mange
  • Ringworm
  • Ear disease
  • Parasites – fleas
  • …and more!

The often times complex nature of dermatological diseases and allergies can require specialized knowledge and experience. When a skin or ear disorder fails to respond to traditional treatment, we are available to provide the latest technology in the diagnosis and management of your pet’s dermatological health. Our board-certified, highly trained and experienced Dermatologist performs many specialized diagnostic procedures including:

      • Intradermal Skin Testing and Immunotherapy
      • Skin Biopsy Sampling & Interpretation of Histopathologic Findings

We work closely with your pet’s primary care veterinarian in order to provide the most comprehensive care and treatment plan. With the support of a trained and dedicated staff, MissionVet Specialty & Emergency is committed to using science, technology and compassion to provide exceptional care for pets and their families.

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What our clients say

It is so obvious that this group of professionals care very much about their clients, animal and human alike.
Rocky's Mom, Barbara
This place just blows other specialty vets out of the water. From the staff to the techs to the veterinarians to the management, we have had such a pleasant experience here despite our puppy being critically ill. It is a bit pricey but so worth it for all the care involved. You know your animal is getting close monitoring, up to date evidence-based care, individualized treatment plans and lots of TLC. We are so pleased with every aspect of our experience.
Morty's Mom, Stephanie
Thank you to the great staff at Mission! Everyone is always so friendly and welcoming. Doctors are awesome! Our dog was cared for during his stay there with the utmost respect and care.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with the staff and the facility! It was very professional and they really treated my dog like it was their own.
Streak's Dad, Jeffrey Scott
The staff at Mission is so friendly, kind and professional. They always greet my dog and myself by name – that is a nice personal touch!
Parker's Mom, Cynthia
I felt like the doctor was actually listening to the information I provided and answered my questions fully. She was very easy to talk with.
Daisy-Belle’s Mom, Lisa

I was pleasantly surprised at how attentive and thorough Dr. Contreary was to me and my pet’s needs. She also did not try to up charge or put my pet through unnecessary procedures. I was very pleased!

Pearl’s Mom, Marni

I fully appreciate Dr. Contreary and Mission Veterinary Hosp. They are very kind, knowledgeable, considerate, and very helpful and showed great care and love to my Bonnie, she is my baby, and all my concerns were fully understood. Thank you MissionVet! Any distractions at the front desk were due to incoming phone calls and the staff were all very courteous. The team was very knowledgeable and VERY thorough! I really love this clinic and the staff!

Bonnie’s Mom, Janie


If your dog or cat is allergic to fleas, they will work very hard in order to remove them. Furthermore, if your pet is sensitive to the fleas, sometimes all it takes is just a few exposures in order to create extended discomfort.
Unfortunately, allergies can be a life-long problem. If the underlying allergy can be identified, then therapeutic options can be discussed to manage the symptoms.
Antihistamines and steroids, including oral and topical therapies, should be avoided. A wash out period of 2-3 weeks is needed prior to performing the skin test as they could interfere with obtaining accurate results.
Allergy testing on pets is no more uncomfortable than the allergy testing performed on humans. Humans describe a mildly irritating sensation through which they are instructed to remain still. Since your pet can’t be instructed to remain still during the testing, a sedative may be used to help reduce any potential unease that your pet may experience.
In order to reach the skin, a small patch of hair is shaved off of the chest, near the elbow. Then, very tiny amounts of 63 different allergens are injected into the skin. A specific amount of time is allowed to elapse (8-15 minutes) and then the test site is evaluated. Since pets often can’t remain still like a person would during the testing, a sedative may be used to ensure a safe and efficient testing process.
Topical therapies including ointments, creams, and shampoos should be discontinued at least 2 days prior to the appointment as they could inhibit diagnostics that need to be performed the day of. Oral medications should not be discontinued prior to your visit unless specifically directed to do so. If adjustments need to be made in your pet’s protocol, we will make recommendations at the initial exam.
A complete and thorough medical history is essential to understanding your pet’s disease process. The dermatologist will perform a physical and dermatologic examination. Minor procedures such as skin scraping (for mites), cytology (for secondary pathogens like bacteria or yeast), and cultures are often recommended to assess complicating factors. Diagnostics and therapeutic choices will be made based on the assessment of your pet’s individual situation, and estimates will be provided for major recommended procedures such as biopsies, video-otoscopy and allergy testing.

Allergy Testing

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The goal of allergy testing is to identify specific substances that are causing an allergic reaction, so that desensitization through allergy shots may be attempted. There are several types of allergy tests performed by veterinary dermatologists.

There is a great deal of controversy about the reliability of blood testing, since the organ that is affected (the skin) is not the organ being tested for a reaction. There are several different types of blood tests offered by biomedical companies, and test results may vary in accuracy which can affect the success rates of immunotherapy. Most veterinary dermatologists use a method of allergy testing known as intradermal skin testing. This involves the injection of very small amounts of pollens (from trees, weeds, and grasses), molds, and insect extracts into the superficial layers of the skin. The test is administered under a light sedative/analgesic so that the patient (dog, cat, or horse) feels no discomfort. This is the only type of allergy testing used at MissionVet Specialty & Emergency (except in very rare cases), as we feel it is the most reliable method.

An important point to understand is that neither blood testing nor intradermal skin testing are useful for identifying food allergies. Although some companies offer blood tests for food allergy, we cannot promote their use. For this reason, we do not offer skin testing for food allergies. Instead, we use specialized hypoallergenic diet trials containing novel or hydrolyzed ingredients.