Waylon's Hero: Itching To Make A Difference
Posted May 29, 2018
Dr. Adam Patterson examines Waylon.
When Jill Lee noticed that her Labrador Retriever, Waylon,
couldn’t walk and was heavily panting, she immediately knew that
something was wrong. After further examination, she discovered that
Waylon’s paws and nose were covered in painful scabs and
“His paws were so itchy that Waylon was literally chewing his
paw pads off,” Lee said. “He was causing so much damage to his
skin; I was worried for him.”
Fortunately for Waylon, the dermatology service at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
(CVM) was there to help. After examining Waylon’s case, Dr. Adam
Patterson, clinical associate professor and chief of dermatology at
the CVM, concluded that Waylon was experiencing an autoimmune
disease of the skin.
“His own immune system was attacking his skin,” Patterson said.
“The pimples on his paw pads were extremely painful—he couldn’t
even assume the posture to urinate.”
Since Waylon hadn’t urinated prior to arriving at the CVM, his
bladder was full, causing more pain. The first thing Patterson did
was take Waylon outside, hold him up, and let him urinate. This
slowed Waylon’s panting and heart rate to normal levels.
“From there, we just started managing his skin disease, called
pemphigus foliaceus,” Patterson said. “It can occur spontaneously
for no reason. Occasionally, we believe that it can be triggered by
certain drugs or vaccines, but nothing has been fully proven.”
To help Waylon regain his health, Patterson began treating the
disease with steroids and a combination of other drugs. Slowly, but
surely, Waylon’s condition improved over the course of a few weeks.
However, Lee and Waylon still visit the CVM every two weeks for a
“It’s important that we constantly monitor cases such as
Waylon’s,” Patterson said. “When he comes in, we evaluate him and
run blood work to see if he is tolerating the drugs in his body.
Luckily, Waylon’s condition has improved enough that we are
starting to taper the amount of treatment he receives.”
“I’m beyond grateful to Dr. Patterson and his amazing team for
the passionate care they continue to provide Waylon,” Lee said.
“Fortunately, Waylon is now in remission and I have the honor of
bragging about the fantastic care my sweet dog received from the
best veterinary dermatologists in the world at Texas A&M.”
Though veterinary dermatologists are trained to treat emergency
cases such as Waylon’s, most dermatology cases at the CVM involve
health issues with fleas and ticks, skin allergies, and secondary
conditions such as bacterial, ear, or yeast infections.
“In dermatology, we’re like allergists are to people,” Patterson
said. “Animals can be allergic to many things—including fleas, the
food they eat, pollen, grasses, or even indoor things such as house
dust and mold. At the CVM, we mainly treat allergic skin and ear
disease of dogs, cats, and horses.”
In addition to being examined by a veterinarian, dermatology
patients at the CVM are also seen by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
students. This provides a unique and effective environment for
treatment, as well as a great learning opportunity for
“Our goal at the CVM is to educate the next generation of
veterinarians,” Patterson said. “Students are taught to recognize
details between different skin diseases so that when they become
veterinarians, they’re confident in treating dermatology
conditions. In Waylon’s case, I taught students how to
differentiate between a skin allergy and an autoimmune
Since he started at the CVM eight years ago, Patterson said the
dermatology service has grown a lot. Between more DVM students
enrolling in the dermatology rotation and the first veterinary
dermatologist residency at the CVM, Patterson is happy to see the
“We are able to see more appointments now,” Patterson said.
“When I first got here, having one appointment in a day was
exciting. Now we see multiple cases in a day, Monday through
Whether a patient is having an emergency such as an autoimmune
disease or they are experiencing symptoms of a common skin allergy,
Patterson and his team are ready to face any condition. With a
passion for dermatology and an itch to make a difference, the
dermatology service continues to provide excellent care for its
For more information about the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our
website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of CVM Today magazine.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive
Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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