Why a dermatologist?
Your family veterinarian (general practitioner) is the front-line for all medical problems including dermatitis. In fact, dermatologic problems (skin infections/hot spots, ear infections, skin allergies) are reported as the top 3 medical conditions in dogs presented to a general practitioner veterinarian. If your pet’s skin or ear problems are persistent or recurrent, then you may want to talk to your veterinarian and collectively determine if a referral to a dermatology specialist is indicated. Skin and ear infections are very common in dogs and cats, and we are seeing a great increase in resistant bacteria involvement. Dogs and cats with suspected allergies require a systematic approach for proper diagnosis to help guide appropriate and often life-long therapy early in the course of the disease process. Autoimmune conditions should consider referral sooner as these can be life threatening. Hormone imbalances (e.g. low thyroid, cortisol excess, etc.) all eventually have clinical manifestations on the skin, and a veterinary dermatologist may help prevent misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatments.