Skin and Ear Disease Diagnosis and Treatments

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Montgomery Pet Skin & Ear Clinic

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf 

Member of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology

Located in Animal Hospital of Montgomery

At Montgomery Pet Skin and Ear Clinic, our mission is to identify the underlying cause of the skin and ear disease and treat it in the most effective manner in order to make your pet more comfortable.

  • Allergy Testing
  • Allergy Shots
  • Food Trials
  • Skin Biopsy
  • Skin Scrapings
  • Skin Cytology
  • Cultures for bacteria and fungi
  • Hormone Assays
  • Laser Skin and Ear Tumor Removal
  • Therapeutic Bathing
  • Video Otoscopic Ear Exams

Dr. Gotthelf can help determine the cause of your pet's skin and ear problems. There are many conditions that affect the skin, the nails and ears.  Tests may be required to help datermine the cause of the skin problem.  These may include microscopic examination of skin scrapings, bacterial and/or fungal cultures, skin biopsies, blood tests for hormone levels, and allergy testing. Once the diagnosis is made, he can then treat your pet's specific skin and ear diseases that are associated with allergies, bacterial infections, fungal infection, parasitic skin diseases, viral conditions, hypersensitivities, autoimmune/immune mediated skin diseases, endocrine diseases, alopecia, or genetic skin disorders.

mange dog



Aural Hematom a in a dog.

sarcoptic mange cat

Sarcoptic mange in a cat


In Alabama, dogs and cats are exposed to many different things that affect the skin and the ears. Our long warm season and our outdoor dogs having so many activities both contribute to skin contact with fleas and ticks, other skin parasites, allergens, bite wounds, fungi, and bacterial infections. Indoors, our insulated homes are full of allergens especially house dust mites and molds that affect the skin. In some cases, dogs and cats are actually allergic to some component in their food and the skin has an adverse reaction to the diet. 

Allergies in people affect the eyes and nose mostly, and on occasion the skin, but in dogs and cats allergy primarily affects the skin. 

Many skin problems of the dog and cat do not start in the skin, but are the result of another disease going on somewhere in the body. Hormonal diseases, autoimmune diseases, breed specific skin conditions, and nutritional problems can all contribute to skin issues.

Tumors of the skin are very common in dogs and less so in cats. Many of these growths are benign, but others are cancerous. With our surgical laser, skin tumors can be removed with a minimum of scarring. Laser skin tumor removal also results in less bleeding, less swelling, and much less pain.

rectal tumor

                                                                                                                            Skin tumor invading the rectal area.

hot spot

"Hot Spot" on a dog's skin.

Dogs are very prone to ear infections. It has been estimated that as many as 20% of all dogs have ear disease. That is 1 in 5 dogs that are suffering from painful, itchy, smelly ears.  Because the ear canal is just a roll of skin stuck in the side of the head, whatever happens on the skin can affect the skin of the ear and dogs get ear inflammation, followed by ear infections. These dogs are miserable and many of them are behavioral problems because they are in so much pain.  Because of the difficulty seeing the ear canal and doing procedures within the ear canal, Dr. Gotthelf, along with engineers from MedRx, Inc.  designed and developed the Video Otoscope for veterinarians.  The video otoscope has a bright light source at the end of the probe and a wide angle lens that gives a panoramic view of the ear canal.  A working channel is embedded in the probe so that instruments can be threaded down the ear to see procedures as they are being done. We can use grasping forceps, flushing catheters and even a laser tip to remove growths in the ear canal.  A computer captures either still pictures or videos of procedures and puts them in a computer file.


                                                                                          Video otoscope probe and video camera designed by Dr. Gotthelf.


Nasopharyngeal polyp in a cat's ear

Cats also suffer from ear disease, but it is different than in dogs. Many cats have ear mites, but many of them also have middle ear infections.

Dr. Gotthelf has spent over 30 years intensively studying ear diseases in dogs and cats. He has developed many products for the diagnosis and treatment of ear problems in dogs and cats. He has written 2 books about ear diseases for veterinarians. He has lectured to thousands of veterinarians worldwide about his methods and he is highly regarded as an ear disease authority.

small animal ear diseases first ear disease book

Dr. Gotthelf has written 2 books on dog and cat ear diseases.

So many of the patients we see have skin and ear issues. Dr. Gotthelf has developed an intense interest in learning as much as possible about diagnosing and treating these problems. Often, skin disease is misdiagnosed, since so many skin conditions look similar. Dr. Gotthelf does diagnostic tests to determine the reason(s) for the skin reaction so appropriate therapy can begin. Many treatments for skin diseases can be found from veterinarians and from the internet, so Dr. Gotthelf does extensive research to sift through what is appropriate and what is not. This is called “evidence based medicine.” Dr. Gotthelf has done many clinical research trials and he has written 2 books on ear diseases. He has lectured to thousands of veterinarians at continuing education meetings about ear diseases as well as laser surgery techniques he has developed to treat ear problems. He is in contact with veterinary dermatologists from all over the world and he can submit cases for evaluation and get opinions from them. Dr. Gotthelf sees patients that have a first occurrence of skin and ear disease, but he also sees referral patients from all over the area with skin and disease that has not responded to therapy from other veterinarians. Although some treatments done by other veterinarians may help in a small number of animals, Dr. Gotthelf will only recommend proven therapies for skin and ear disease conditions that are known to have a beneficial effect. He will work with your veterinarian to do follow up care after getting the disease under control.

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Our Regular Schedule

Office Hours


7:30 am-5:00 pm


7:30 am-5:00 pm


7:30 am-5:00 pm


7:30 am-5:00 pm


7:30 am-5:00 pm


7:30 am-12:00 pm