Skin & Ear Cytology & Culture | Centre for Veterinary Education

Skin & Ear Cytology & Culture

This course will help you optimise your approach to skin and ear canal sampling to enable more targeted and effective treatment plans for your skin disease and otitis cases.

This course will focus on how to maximise yield from skin and ear canal samples to enable targeted and effective treatment plans for inflammatory and infectious skin diseases and otitis.

Optimal collection and processing techniques for useful tests will be detailed, together with an outline of when tests are indicated. Important principles for interpreting samples will be presented, and a wide range of cytology images provided that can become a valuable clinical resource. Optimal treatment choices, based on cytology findings, will be outlined for otitis and common secondary and primary skin infections. Finally, a series of cases will be presented to reinforce the material covered. Participants will be encouraged to practice skin cytology and culture techniques on their own cases throughout the course, and present findings to the tutor for evaluation and to the group for discussion.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Perform commonly used skin cytology and microbial culturing tests using optimal techniques.

  • Evaluate cytology samples from inflammatory and infectious skin disease and otitis cases independently and accurately.

  • Interpret results from cytology and microbial culture tests accurately.

  • Formulate targeted treatment and/or further diagnostic plans based on cytology results together with clinical findings for a range of inflammatory and infectious skin and ear canal diseases, including allergies, infectious diseases such as dermatophytosis and dermatophilosis, and rarer immune-mediated and deep infectious diseases.

  • Recognise if secondary bacterial and yeast infections require specific targeted treatment, or when it is appropriate to focus on managing the underlying disease.

  • Recognise when microbial culture testing is indicated, and have improved ability to analyse microbial culture test results to accurately guide optimal therapies.


1.  Sampling & Processing 

This introductory module will clarify the indications and optimal sampling and processing techniques for common tests: adhesive tape and glass slide impressions, ear swabs, fine needle aspirates, and skin cultures techniques.

2.  Interpretation of Cytology & Culture Findings

The focus in this module will be on theoretical and practical tips to ensure the information gathered from your skin samples is accurate and relevant.

3.  Treatment &/or further diagnostic choices

This module will focus on how to use cytology and culture findings to select appropriate treatments or further diagnostic tests for a range of inflammatory and infectious skin and ear canal diseases.

4.  Case Studies

Participants will work through a series of cases in the final module, to reinforce the material covered in this course.

Course Delivery

This course comes with:

  • A set of written notes and photographs within each module and case studies

  • Self-assessed multiple choice quizzes to test your knowledge and understanding

  • A discussion forum for conversation, debate and information exchange with your peers and tutor

  • An electronic certificate available for download upon successful completion of the course

The estimated time to complete this course is 10 hours. The course will be open for 4 weeks.

Prior Knowledge

A broad understanding of common inflammatory and infectious causes of skin and ear diseases will be helpful for working through this course efficiently. However, the course will briefly review some of the key aspects of common diseases that are relevant to diagnostic testing and treatment choices.


Monday 16 October - Sunday 12 November 2017
Delivered Online


BVSc (Hons) MACVSc (Feline Med.) FACVSc (Dermatology)

Linda Vogelnest graduated from the University of Sydney in 1984 and worked in private and university small animal practice in Australia and England for over ten years before following a long time interest in dermatology. Linda achieved Membership of the ACVSc in Feline Medicine in 1997 and Fellowship in Veterinary Dermatology in 2003. She ran a small and large animal dermatology service at the University of Sydney from 1999-2012, before moving to private referral practice at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in 2013. Linda has authored and co-authored numerous scientific publications, and lectured in both Australia and internationally. She continues to teach pre-clinical dermatology to veterinary students at the University of Sydney along with promoting a greater understanding of dermatology at all levels. Linda's special interests include atopic dermatitis, ear diseases, dermatohistopathology, skin surface cytology sampling, and dermatology in exotics and horses.

Course Fees

Member TypeTimeOnline
Recent Grad / Part-time Member$289
Student Member$145
Non-member / eMember$578
*Members include: Practice, Professional and Academic members

You may be eligible for a 10% discount off your registration. Please read the full Terms & Conditions to see if you are eligible. Discounts can’t be processed online so please contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 or to register.     

Further details

Have a question? Your answer could be on our frequently asked questions page. If you cannot find an answer for your question, please email us or call us on +61 2 9351 7979.