Small dog looking up at owner’s face.

What Does a Veterinary Dermatologist Do?

Skin conditions in dogs and some cats is a common concern for many pet parents. From behavioral signs like excessive licking or scratching to physical symptoms such as hair loss, red skin and scabbing, there is a wide range of skin irritations and diseases that can develop from various causes.

These conditions also range from mild irritation to extreme pain in your pet’s skin if left untreated, so it is best to seek help from a veterinary dermatologist for the best course of action.

What is a veterinary dermatologist?

Veterinary dermatologists are veterinarians with expertise and specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment and management of animal skin, ears, hair, nail, hoof and mouth. These specialty veterinarian services are especially proficient in treating allergic skin conditions commonly found in animals.

Cat scratching by right ear.

When should you think about consulting with a veterinary dermatologist?

Veterinarian examining skin on dog’s neck.

If your cat or dog shows signs of excessive licking and scratching behavior that causes itchiness and other skin irritations, or shows symptoms of skin conditions, make an appointment with our vets for an examination, skin scraping or prescription treatments. If symptoms persist or worsen, or the condition is severe, we would advise setting up an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist to thoroughly examine your pet to diagnose and develop a specialized treatment plan.


What constitutes as excessive behavior in cats and dogs? If you notice your dog is licking or chewing their paws, rubbing their face or sneezing more than once daily for an extended period of time, it may be time to further investigate what is causing this. For cats, they tend to have a grooming routine a couple times a day, especially after meals, but if you notice them continuously grooming several times, closely monitor for signs of skin conditions. 

It is especially advisable to seek out more information and a dermatology consultation appointment for cats and dogs if any of these behaviors result in visible irritations.

Common symptoms of skin irritations:

  • Dull or greasy coat
  • Hair thinning
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Redness
  • Scabbed, scaly or flaky skin
  • Sores or swollen areas

There are many things that can cause your cat or dog to experience these symptoms of skin conditions. Some may be more easily treatable with shifts in nutrition or care routines, while others are more serious and severe in nature, which require more extensive treatment plans.

Common causes of itchiness in cats and dogs:

  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Bacterial infection like staphylococcus, or ‘staph’
  • Fungal infections like yeast and ringworm
  • Parasites like fleas, ticks, mites, lice
  • Skin cancer
Dog licking paw.

The best approach to help keep your pet’s skin healthy is to consult with your veterinarian when you notice signs of irritation so we can work with you and your pet to determine the best course of action. If needed, we may suggest you make an appointment to meet with a veterinary dermatologist.

Veterinarian dermatology services coming to Grand Valley Animal Hospital

Dr. Amanda Young

At Grand Valley Animal Hospital, we continuously strive to provide the best comprehensive services that help your pet live as healthily and happily as possible. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Amanda Young, DVM, DACVD, will be offering on-demand veterinary dermatology services on a bi-monthly basis at our clinic tentatively beginning in May 2020.

Dr. Young is a board-certified veterinary dermatologist currently based out of the Pet Dermatology Clinic in Maple Grove, MN. A graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, she spent four years in a small animal general practice outside of Chicago before completing her internship in specialty dermatology at the University of Illinois and her residency in veterinary dermatology at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center in 2019.

Dr. Young will be offering services at Grand Valley Animal Hospital that include the diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of skin, ear and allergy conditions for your pet.

To make an appointment with Dr. Young, please contact the Pet Dermatology Clinic directly by calling 763-210-1177. If you have any questions about these services or appointment setup, please do not hesitate to give our team at Grand Valley a call.
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