October 17, 2018

Dermatology Requires Being a Detective

Specializing in dermatology requires detective-like work to distinguish what your patient might be suffering from.

Specializing in dermatology requires detective-like work to distinguish what your patient might be suffering from. Jennie Tait, AHT, RVT, VTS (Dermatology), a veterinary technician at Yu of Guelph Veterinary Dermatology at the Guelph Veterinary Specialty Hospital, explains some of the “clues” to pay attention to.  

“So for me [dermatology is] a lot like detective work. We're gleaning clues from everything, all the way from just the patient profile where we are looking at what breed they are. There is a ton of breed predilections, for example, when a Westie comes in you're thinking 'Oh no, we're looking at allergies for sure.' So, all these little clues, such as what age things started at. If they were having trouble with their skin from a very young age, that puts certain things on your radar—something like demodicosis because they have an immature immune system, or food allergy is in there. So, all kinds of clues, including response to different drugs—that's a big flag, how they respond to corticosteroids. So if they have a great response, terrific. What works with corticosteroids? Allergies; environmental allergies respond really well, immune-mediated diseases respond really well to steroids. If we don't get a great response to steroids, there is something else going on. So all of these clues. I really enjoy it because you get to use your brain a lot.”

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