Due to the fact that animals have skin, just like humans, they are also prone to skin medical conditions. In fact, it's estimated by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology that nearly 75 percent of all household pets will at some time in their lives develop a skin condition that requires medical attention. Whether treated by over the counter medication or through the tender care of a Veterinarian the job of keeping animal skin healthy falls upon a group of specialists known as Veterinary Dermatologists.
What is a Veterinary Dermatologist?
Veterinary dermatology is a specialized branch of veterinary medicine that primarily deals with the proper diagnosis and correct treatment of a wide range of skin maladies and dieses for both large and small animals. Like other Veterinary specialties, a Veterinary Dermatologist will undergo rigorous and extensive training over a period of years after medical school, complete additional research and document findings in published articles before they attempt to take and pass board certification exams.
The group that administers and oversees this field of study in the United States is the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD). After passing board certification, a Veterinary Dermatologist is referred to as diplomats by the ADVA and provides this specialized training to pet owners, livestock owners along with private and public animal care facilities across the United States.
Just like other Veterinary specialties, the job responsibilities vary depending on the individual species they are working to treat. Typically, the responsibilities include:
Since the skin is the largest organ in animal bodies, it's very possible for animals to develop dermatological conditions similar to humans including:
However, due to the anatomy of animals, they can develop conditions that are unique to each species such as:
The primary job of any Veterinary Dermatologist is to ensure animal skin conditions are properly treated and their comfort level is enhanced. Due to the fact that animals can't communicate verbally with doctors, the Veterinary Dermatologist needs to understand animal behavior and communicate well with pet owners to help them diagnose and treat medical conditions.
The Educational Path for a Veterinary Dermatologist
As we stated above, the Veterinary Dermatologist is a specialist in the field of Veterinary medicine. This educational path requires a Bachelor Degree, obtaining a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, completing residency training and finally passing board certification. After obtaining your license to practice Veterinary medicine, a candidate will need to complete one year of internship at accredited veterinary hospitals. The specific requirements of residency training vary depending on the individual University, but typically the potential dermatologist will need to complete two years of residency and research and publish at least one scientific journal.
Step by Step Educational Path of a Veterinary Dermatologist
Pre-Graduate School Bachelor Degree
In order to successfully become a Veterinary Dermatologist a Bachelor's Degree is first required. Any candidate for this profession will need to complete primary course study that will focus on mathematics, chemistry, biological sciences, physiology and communications.
During primary college education, it's suggested that a successful candidate should volunteer at local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, or assist with clinical trials or research projects at their university. Not only will this experience provide practical training for any potential Veterinarian, but it will also polish up the resume for entrance into medical school.
Earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Becoming a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is the next step in the educational path for a Veterinary Dermatologist. . This four-year program begins with the first two years focusing on general animal anatomy, physiology, virology and nutrition. During the third year, curriculum shifts towards clinical studies, where the Veterinarian student has the chance to apply into practice what they've learned in the classroom. The final year of education is spent at specialist veterinary hospitals that are accredited by the Veterinary medical school.
This is also where the licensing exam is taken. In order to practice Veterinary medicine a candidate must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Most states require additional certification to practice in each state.
Complete a Veterinary Dermatologist Residency Program
The primary objective of the Veterinary Dermatologist residency program is to increase the competency level of those that choose to specialize in this practice. The program utilizes guidelines established by the ACVD for post-doctoral education in the field of Veterinary Dermatology – but also applies examination and certification of specialists that serve the public by providing exceptional care to animals with dermatological diseases and medical conditions.
The program requires the following to be eligible to complete the examination:
In regards to the specific training involved in this residency program, a candidate for Veterinary Dermatology will train in specific areas of study including:
Understanding the Career Path of Becoming a Veterinary Dermatologist
Career Options for Veterinary Dermatologists
Typically a Veterinary Dermatologist will work with private or public Veterinary medical offices. It is possible for a Veterinary Dermatologist to also work with animal research centers or public facilities including zoos or theme parks. A specialist can also be retained to provide consultation and research with Pharmaceutical companies or Government agencies.
It is very difficult to pinpoint the precise salary expectations in a specialty such as Veterinary Dermatology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average wage for Veterinarians in 2010 approached $83,000 annually. Board Certified specialists tend to earn higher than average salaries, however the BLS does not specify the direct salary for this specialty. However, a report completed in 2012 by SalaryList.com indicated that the average salary for a Veterinary Dermatologist in private practice approached $120,000 annually. It should be notated that this survey had a high figure of $225,000 and a low figure of $56,000.
Just like any other specialty, salary and compensation is primary based on need, supply and demand for the practice.
The overall career outlook for the profession of Veterinarian is positive. In fact, the BLS estimates that the growth rate from 2010 to 2020 will eclipse 35 percent. The specialty of Veterinary Dermatology is this profession is extremely detailed with rigorous training and residency programs. It's due to the complexity and dedication required to complete board certification examinations that there are a limited number of Veterinary Dermatologists active in the United States.
In short, a Veterinarian Dermatologist career path is complex, difficult and requires extensive dedication in order for a candidate to successfully navigate this field. This specialty is best suited for individuals who have a genuine desire to improve the overall comfort and healthcare for animals of all species. Through dedication and hard work, an individual can become a very successful Veterinary Dermatologist.