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Dermatology Department


Dr. Meghan Umstead attended Michigan State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, concentrating in animal behavior and neurobiology. After completing her studies, Dr. Umstead developed her knowledge of medicine while working in a human emergency room, while also taking on the role of veterinary assistant at a local general veterinary hospital. These experiences inspired Dr. Umstead to enroll in veterinary school. After earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University, she completed a 1-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

Adding to her already impressive accomplishments, Dr. Umstead went on to complete a 3-year residency in dermatology, as well as a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Auburn University. Her master research was performed in one of the top veterinary pharmacology labs in the country, and allowed her to receive First Place Honors in Clinical Science Research from the American College of Veterinary Dermatology and was later published in the Journal of Veterinary Dermatology.

Dr. Umstead is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. She joined the Long Island Veterinary Specialists team in the summer of 2015, where she continues to lecture about dermatologic conditions and provides a wide array of dermatologic medical services to patients.


There are numerous common skin diseases in companion animals that may have a similar clinical appearance, therefore it is important to differentiate between them and establish a definitive diagnosis utilizing rational, accurate and cost-effective diagnostic procedures. The following is a list of common dog skin conditions and cat skin conditions that we diagnose and treat:

    • Adverse drug reactions
    • Allergic skin disease (atopy)
    • Alopecia (hair loss)
    • Auto-immune skin disease
    • Bacterial skin disease (pyoderma)
    • Chronic and Severe skin and ear disease
    • Ear disease (otitis)
    • Endocrine dermatoses 
    • Flea allergy dermatitis
    • Fungal skin disease
    • Genetic and congenital skin diseases
    • Hot spots (acute moist dermatitis)
    • Immune-mediated dermatoses
    • Metabolic skin disease (calcinosis cutis, hepatocutaneous syndrome)
    • Neoplastic (cancer-associated) and paraneoplastic skin disease
    • Nail and/or foot pad disorders
    • Parasitic skin disease (demodicosis, scabies, cheyletiellosis) 
    • Pododermatitis (foot disease)
    • Yeast (Malassezia sp.) infections


Within the past two decades, unprecedented advances in veterinary medicine have created the need for specialists. Board certification in a specialty requires a doctorate in veterinary medicine and a 2 -3 year residency program in the area of specialty. As specialists, we stay current on new research and treatments, and are often actively involved with the research. The Dermatology Department works closely with other specialists at LIVS when necessary to address all the issues associated with a specific patient’s skin problems.


Consultation and Care

A comprehensive dermatology consultation is provided; it includes obtaining a detailed history of the disease, comprehensive physical examination, skin scrapings, cytological evaluations, skin biopsies, hormonal testing, or allergy testing. Frequently, long-term management care is required for chronic conditions, and our staff of trained skilled professionals, including dog allergists and cat allergists, provides the support that patients as well as their owners require.

Diagnostics and Procedures

    • We provide comprehensive diagnostic services: 
    • Allergy testing
    • Allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) and (SLIT)
    • Advanced imaging (radiographs, CT, MRI)
    • Biopsies (tissue samples) for histopathology 
    • Bacterial culture / sensitivity 
    • Blood tests 
    • Dietary trials
    • Ear and Skin cultures
    • Ear cytology
    • Fine needle aspirates
    • Fungal cultures
    • Impression smears –cytological evaluation
    • Otic exams
    • Superficial and deep skin scrapings
    • Trichograms


Allergy Testing

There are several diagnostic procedures that are useful in determining to what substances your pet is allergic.
Intradermal and in-vitro testing may be utilized. Blood samples are sent to a laboratory that measures antibodies to specific allergens like dust, molds, and pollens. Alternatively, the skin may be injected with suspected allergens and re-examined in 15 - 30 minutes for reactions. Subsequent to such testing, specific allergy vaccines are formulated for the individual patient by the dermatology laboratory at LIVS. Once the test results are available, vaccines are usually formulated within 24 hours.


Cytology is a simple diagnostic procedure performed in-house where a small sample of moist material is taken from the skin surface and examined under a microscope. Bacteria, yeast, inflammatory cells and neoplastic cells can be identified using cytology.


Bacterial culture and sensitivy testing is important and routinely performed to address the rapidly increasing incidence of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Fungal cultures are indicated when dermatophytosis is suspected. At LIVS, we perform in-house fungal cultures for accurate and prompt results. 


Immune-mediated and neoplastic skin disease are typically diagnosed through tissue biopsies and histopathologic evaluation. Biopsies are performed using a local anesthetic or sedation. All samples are submitted to a dermatohistopathologist, with additional training and experience in recognizing skin diseases.

Dermatology Services at LIVS:

  • Comprehensive consultations
  • Allergy testing
  • Cytology (a simple diagnostic procedure performed in-house where a small sample of moist material is taken from the skin surface and examined under a microscope)
  • Cultures
  • Dermatohistopathology (a small piece of skin tissue is taken and sent to a laboratory to be examined under a high power microscope)

Dermatology Admission Form   (Download PDF | Submit Online)