What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist?
A veterinary dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of benign and malignant disorders of the ears, skin, mouth, hair, and nails. A veterinary dermatologist has also had significant training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disorders in pets.
While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine skin ailments, certain diseases and injuries require the care of a doctor who has had specialized training in veterinary dermatology in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.
Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Dermatologist?
While your general practitioner veterinarian can handle many aspects of your pet's care, just as in human medicine, sometimes there is a need for the attention of a specialist. If your pet has a complicated or difficult problem, your pet may need the care of a veterinary dermatologist. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.
What Special Problems Does A Veterinary Dermatologist Treat?
Skin problems are some of the most common reasons owners bring their pet to the veterinarian. Most routine skin problems can be handled by your general practitioner veterinarian. Certain skin problems, however, can be difficult to diagnose and treat and the help of a specialist may be required. These include skin problems associated with allergies, parasite infestations, infectious, autoimmune, and endocrine (hormonal) diseases, chronic or recurrent ear infections, diseases of the feet, footpad, or nails, and skin cancers.
While it is important to realize that your pet's skin problems, especially those that have been developing over a period of time, often aren't solvable overnight, most many can be cured or made much more manageable with the help of a specialist.
The services offered in our Dermatology Department include:
- The diagnosis and management of allergic skin disease
- Intradermal and serum testing for aeroallergens
- The diagnosis and treatment of ear diseases
- Video Otoscopy
- Computer tomography (CT scanning)
- The diagnosis and management of autoimmune skin disease
- Removal of skin tumors using a carbon dioxide laser
- Tissues biopsies
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
Your veterinary dermatologist will work together with your veterinarian as part of your pet's total veterinary health care team. Your general practitioner veterinarian will still oversee all aspects of your pet's care, but with the added, specialized input of a veterinary dermatologist.
Did You Know?
- Dogs suffer from seasonal allergies just like people, but unlike us, they tend to scratch rather than sneeze when they are allergic to something.
- Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis) occurs in approximately 10% to 15% of the dog population, usually starting between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Pets can even be allergic to the skin dander from other pets in the same household!
If you believe your pet is in need of a veterinary dermatologist, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian about a referral to VCA VREC.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What Specialized Training Does A Veterinary Dermatologist Have?
Just like a human dermatologist, veterinarians interested in dermatology must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. In veterinary medicine, specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists (ACVD). A veterinarian that has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVD,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVD. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:
• Obtained a traditional veterinary degree (three or four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).
• Completed at least a one-year internship in small animal medicine and at least two additional years of residency training in dermatology in a program accredited by the ACVD. This includes focused training in clinical dermatology and dermatopathology as well as study of skin diseases in a variety of species, including humans.
• Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVD, which includes publishing original research in scientific journals and submission of case reports.
• Passed a rigorous, multi-day examination administered by the ACVD.
After completing and passing all of the above, the veterinarian is recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary dermatology. As you can see, when your pet needs the specialized care of a veterinary dermatologist, all of the intensive training and additional education outlined above is focused on helping your pet to recover and/or enjoy the highest quality of life while living with the condition.
- How Do I Maximize the Successful Treatment of My Pet?
You can help by strictly adhering to the recommendations of your veterinary team for the scheduling of any follow up appointments and care. At every appointment, be sure to write down any important recommendations, or ask the veterinarian or a staff member to write them down for you.
- How Can I Prevent Skin Problems In My Pet?
Some skin disorders are inherited and are therefore hard to prevent. To help avoid those that are preventable, consider these tips:
• Make sure you are following your veterinarian's recommendations regarding flea and tick prevention products. Many skin problems are caused by these pests.
• Keep your pet's skin and haircoat clean and well-groomed using pet friendly products only.
• Think twice before you put any perfumes or sprays on your pet's coat. Some sprays, lotions, perfumes and shampoos made for people can irritate pet's skin.
• Prevent boredom. It's easy for bored pets to start itching or licking or engaging in other inappropriate behaviors.
• Spend plenty of time with your pet daily, grooming and petting him or her and regularly and taking special note of any irritated looking areas or lumps and bumps. Be sure to have anything unusual checked by your veterinarian.
• If your pet's skin problems are a result of an allergy, follow your veterinarian's instructions to minimize your pet's exposure, either by eliminating the food from your pet's diet or keeping your pet indoors when pollens and other irritants are present in high levels outside.
Services Offered in Dermatology
- Autoimmune skin disease management
- Allergy management
- Diagnosis and management of ear diseases
- Dietary counseling