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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."

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