What is a Veterinary Dermatologist?
A veterinary dermatologist is a veterinarian who, after completing four years of veterinary school, has completed an internship and residency program in dermatology and allergy. Qualifications to become board certified in veterinary dermatology include a 3 year residency, submission of case reports and all cases seen with the mentor to the ACVD (American College of Veterinary Dermatology), publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, presentation of the residency project at the annual ACVD meeting, and finally, achieving a passing grade in the 2-day ACVD certification examination administered once/year. Currently there are 150 board certified veterinary dermatologists in the United States.
Duties of a board certified dermatologist include assisting the referring veterinarian and educating the owners of patients referred for skin diseases due to allergy, infections, skin parasites, endocrine skin disease, hair loss, immune mediated skin disease, internal medicine disease affecting the skin, skin cancer, and nonsurgical ear diseases. Procedures include skin testing for allergies, blood testing for endocrine diseases, culture and sensitivity, skin biopsies, detection of skin parasites to include fleas, mites, ticks, chiggers, etc. Veterinary dermatologists are also involved in teaching both in veterinary and human medical schools and publishing.