Dermatology &

Animal Dermatology: Diagnosis & Treatment for Allergies and Skin Ailments

At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services (OVRS), our Dermatology and Allergy department has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic skin diseases, ear diseases, skin cancer, infectious skin diseases, endocrinopathies and immune-mediated skin diseases in dogs and cats. Allergies may be caused by sensitivities to food or other environmental factors such as fleas, dust, pollens and molds. Most commonly, the conditions we diagnose are chronic and require long-term treatment and management. Alas, it is the minority of skin diseases that can be cured in one or two visits.

When environmental allergies are suspected, we may recommend performing intradermal allergy testing (“skin testing”) prior to beginning the allergy injections. However, there are some situations that may delay skin testing, such as the presence of extensively infected or irritated skin, if the patient was on topical or oral medications that interfere with the test, or if the patient is not a good candidate for sedation. Nonetheless, if your pet were not a good candidate for skin testing, an alternative type of test could be considered. Once treatment reaches the “maintenance” stage, the ongoing management may be pursued either through OVRS or your family veterinarian.

Our dermatologists believe it is imperative to educate our clients about their pet’s skin disease and how to manage them at home. A well-informed client is our best ally in management of chronic diseases! All members of our Dermatology and Allergy department strive to build lasting relationships with our clients and patients, so that they can feel comfortable counting on us for their dermatology and allergy needs. We understand that having an allergic pet can be frustrating. This is why our dermatology staff will do their best to make your appointment as informative as possible and will be available for ongoing management and concerns.

Questions About Dermatology & Allergy

What medications need to be discontinued prior to skin testing? What are the withdrawal times for the medications?
For intradermal allergy testing (skin testing) our canine patients need to be off injectable steroids for 8-12 weeks, oral steroids for 4-6 weeks, topical steroids for 2-3 weeks and antihistamines for 2 weeks.
What is the difference between skin testing and blood allergy testing?
Skin testing is performed only on dogs and a withdrawal period is required for most medications. Blood testing can be performed on both dogs and cats since withdrawal requirements are not as crucial and certain medications may not interfere with the test results.
My pet’s allergies are flaring. Can I get more medication?
This will depend on the type of medication that was dispensed. Some medication refills may require a recheck examination so we can assess your pet's response to treatment.
I left my pet’s allergy serum out of the refrigerator overnight. Will it still be good?
Allergy serum should be kept in the refrigerator at all times. However, if it was at room temperature for less than 36 hours it is acceptable to continue to use the serum. Allergy serum should always be discarded if it is ever frozen or left out in a hot environment.


Our Dermatology & Allergy Expertise

  • Atopy/allergic skin diseases
  • Bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Biopsy
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Ear diseases and recurrent otitis externa
  • Ear flush with video otoscopy
  • Ear polyp removal
  • Genodermatoses (hereditary skin diseases)
  • Hormonally-induced hair loss and skin diseases
  • Immune-mediated skin diseases
  • Immunotherapy
  • Intradermal allergy testing (skin testing)
  • Parasitic diseases
  • Serum allergy testing
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Tour Our Dermatology & Allergy Department

Department Hours

Our department hours are
Monday through Friday, 8am-4pm

Later appointments may be available. Please call for openings.

Meet Our Dermatologists & Allergists

Ann W. Mattise Photo

Ann W. Mattise, DVM


Ann Washabaugh Mattise, DVM is a referral dermatology and allergy practitioner. Dr. Mattise graduated from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) with a degree in biology. From there she attended veterinary school at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After 3 years of general practice in Charlotte, Michigan, Dr. Mattise returned to MSU to complete her residency in veterinary dermatology. She has been practicing exclusively dermatology and allergy in the Metropolitan Detroit area for over 18 years.

Carolyn M. Kidney Photo

Carolyn M. Kidney, DVM, M.S.
Diplomate, ACVD


Carolyn Kidney is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. Dr. Kidney is a 1996 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. After three years in general small animal practice in Owen Sound and Sauble Beach, Ontario she moved to Washington D.C. where she completed a 1 year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at South Paws Veterinary Referral Center. Dr. Kidney completed her dermatology residency and her M.S. degree concurrently at Auburn University in Alabama.

Annette Petersen Photo

Annette Petersen,
Diplomate, ACVD


Annette Petersen is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. Dr. Petersen is a 1991 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany. Dr. Petersen received her Dissertation in 1992 from the CVM in Hanover, Germany, which is equivalent to a master degree in the United States. After a 1-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Washington State University, she came to Michigan to complete a residency in veterinary dermatology at Michigan State University.