Dr Richard Morris

Fenwold Dermatology Clinic

Dr Richard Morris is an RCVS recognised Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Dermatology. He gained a BSc in Immunology and Pharmacology from Kings College London in 1986, qualified as a vet in 1990, and passed his certificate in Veterinary Dermatology in 1996. Dr Morris has lectured on dermatology to veterinary students at the Nottingham and Cambridge Veterinary Schools , has published several articles in veterinary journals, runs a Dermatology Clinic in the practice dealing with both clients of the practice and taking referrals from neighbouring practices, and is particularly interested in investigating and treating Allergic, Hormonal and Parasitic skin diseases.

Hair Loss in Dogs and Cats

Cats and Dogs can develop bald patches for a number of reasons, in some cases the hair has been removed by the patient itself because the skin is itchy causing scratching and self trauma. In other cases the hair falls out because the hair follicles have shut down and no longer produce hair shafts such as in endocrine diseases (hormone disorders).

Itchy skin diseases include allergic and parasitic problems, allergies can develop to house dust mites and pollens (Atopic dermatitis), food items, flea bites and chemicals coming in contact with the skin.

The following case involved a cat who was allergic to house dust mites, once investigated with intradermal skin tests, the cat was desensitised with an Allergy Vaccine based on the results and over several months the coat grew back.

Cat before treatment


Cat after treatment


Parasites causing hair loss include fleas, lice and mange mites such as Sarcoptes and Demodex.


Microscope Images: A Flea

Sarcoptic Mange Mite

Sarcoptic Mange Mite

Demodectic Mange Mite

Demodectic Mange Mite

Hormone disorders causing hair loss include hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings Disease) and other pituitary or adrenal gland hormone disorders.

Boxer with underactive Thyroid Gland

Hair Loss in a Boxer dog due to an underactive Thyroid Gland

Itchy Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs can scratch and itch for number of reasons but all have the same end result – an ulcerated sore skin and hair loss. There are many reasons cats and dogs can have an itchy skin and these can be categorised into Allergic, Parasitic, fungal, yeast and bacterial causes:

Allergic causes (called hypersensitivity reactions) can be due to allergies to dust mites and pollens, this is called Atopic Dermatitis. Allergies can also develop to flea bites – Flea Bite Hypersensitivity, food items - Food Allergy / Adverse Food Reactions, and allergies to things coming in contact with the skin – Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Investigating allergic skin diseases involves diet trials, intradermal skin testing, and blood tests.

A dog undergoing an intradermal skin test an demonstrating strong positive reactions to Grass and Tree Pollens.

This Boxer dog was allergic to Dairy Products, once this was identified and milk removed from the dog’ s diet, the condition resolved.

Dog before treatment

Before Treatment

Dog after treatment

A few weeks after Treatment was Started

Parasites that can cause skin problems include Sarcoptic and Demodectic mange mites, Fleas and Lice, also various fungal infections can cause skin problems which is called Dermatophytosis and the yeast Malassezia can also induce skin diseases. Once the skin is damaged by scratching it is invaded by bacteria causing secondary infection and is called Pyoderma.

Because all these different causes present with the same end result ( an animal that scratches its skin causing redness, hair loss and bleeding) skin diseases can be very difficult to investigate and treat. To help resolve these difficult cases a Dermatology Clinic is run in the Fenwold Veterinary Practice, anyone needing to make an appointment to have their animal seen there should phone 01790 752227.

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For England & Wales
Company registered name: Independent Vetcare Ltd. Registered Number 07746795. Registered address: The Chocolate Factory, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 2AU. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for credit-related regulated activities under reference number: FRN738010