Our veterinary hospital has a client who is a neonatologist: he is a physician who works exclusively with newborn babies, especially those who are premature.
He once told me that his friends and family ask him questions all the time such as, “Can you look at this lump?” or, “Can you tell me why my elbow hurts?”
His standard reply is, “No, you’re too old for my area of expertise. My total focus is on new babies, and I don’t keep up with the things a general practitioner does.”
So, you can see why, when his dog was itchy and had skin lesions in multiple areas, he came looking for someone whose “area of expertise” fit his dog’s problems.
While I’m not a board-certified veterinary dermatologist I do “love bad skin.” Unlike my physician friend my total focus is not on one area. Still, my special interest in dermatologic problems of dogs and cats inspires me to study that particular area intently and to take on “bad skin” that other general practitioners might shun.
It becomes second nature for experienced doctors to formulate opinions about cases, and our baby doctor is no different. While he and I both had ideas about his dog’s problems, we both knew it was going to take some testing to get to the bottom line: a definitive diagnosis.
It turns out that, while there is probably an underlying allergy component to this particular patient’s skin problems, there was a lot of infection and we have addressed that with medication. Soon he should be rosy pink again, and free from itchiness.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.