What is a specialist?
A specialist is an individual who is board certified in a veterinary specialty; they have graduated from a veterinary school followed by several years of advanced training in a specialized field of veterinary medicine. Board certification is awarded if, or when, the individual demonstrates an advanced level of knowledge and skill by successfully passing a 2-day certification examination developed and administered by an AVMA-Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization.
The specialist's expertise complements that of your veterinarian. You may be referred to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet's health problem requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your veterinarian does not have.
It's critical that you, your veterinarian, and the veterinary specialist communicate and work together to provide the best care for your pet.
In veterinary school we are taught: "When you hear hoof beats, don't think of zebras -- think of horses." As vet dermatologists, we see a lot of "zebras."