Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is "board certification"?
A: Board certification means an individual veterinarian has passed a comprehensive board examination to become a veterinary specialist. These examinations are administered by the particular specialty group, which is overseen by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).It is easy to tell whether a veterinarian is board certified: after their degree(s) you see "ACV_" or "Diplomate ACV_". The letter after the "V" denotes the specialty group: ex: "D", dermatology, "IM" internal medicine, "O" ophthalmology, "S" surgery, etc.
Q: What do veterinary dermatologists do for your pet?
A: Veterinary dermatologists treat many disorders affecting the skin and ears of animals, including allergies, certain skin cancers, hair disorders, infections, parasitic problems, and others. For more information, see the ACVD website at www.acvd.org.
Q: Does Dr. Byrne perform spay or neuter surgeries or give routine vaccinations?
A: Dr. Byrne does not perform primary care or generalist procedures. Those procedures are done by your pet's primary veterinarian.
Q: How does Dr. Byrne work with your pet's primary veterinarian?
A: Dr. Byrne works with your pet's primary veterinarian to achieve the best combination of specialist referral and coordination. We fax copies of our findings to your veterinarian usually the same day as your pet is examined.
Q: Do I need to be referred to be examined by Dr. Byrne at AESCA?
A: Referrals are recommended but not necessary. However, since the best care for your pet is achieved when we coordinate efforts with your primary veterinarian we recommend that you advise your veterinarian of your visit and request a copy of your pet's record ahead of time.
Q: What can I expect at the first visit?
A: After you complete a dermatology questionnaire, you will meet Dr. Byrne and be able to describe in further detail what you see as the primary problem. Dr. Byrne will then ask you detailed questions on your pet's problem. Then he will give your pet a thorough dermatologic examination. Dr. Byrne will perform cytologies (samples of cells) from your pet's ears and/or skin and examine them during the visit.
Q: Will my pet have to endure any discomfort or pain?
A: Fortunately, most procedures needed during dermatology visits produce little to no discomfort. Dr. Byrne believes that it is best to avoid causing your pet any discomfort unless there are no other effective options available. If there is a chance that something may be uncomfortable, Dr. Byrne will advise you. Light sedation and/or local anesthetics can be used if necessary.
Q: How quickly can I expect my pet to get better?
A: After examining your pet, Dr. Byrne will discuss with you the causes of your pet's problem(s) and the time period expected to see improvement. Some pets with allergies may see improvement within 2 - 3 months of starting therapy. Although many disorders such as allergies cannot be "cured" new therapies are available that can vastly improve the quality of life for your pet. Rarely, there may be problems that cannot be corrected without surgery or without the aid of another specialist; Dr. Byrne will advise you. I was told that my pet would need skin testing for allergies.
Q: Is it possible to have skin testing performed the first time Dr. Byrne sees my pet?
A: Dr. Byrne performs allergy testing and skin testing routinely. Since skin testing is relatively complicated and requires light sedation and clipping of hair, Dr. Byrne needs to speak in person with you to determine if your pet really might benefit from skin testing. Additionally, certain medications must be stopped 4 weeks or more before skin allergy testing. If you would like to have skin testing during the first visit, tell us and ask the receptionist for information on when certain medications must be stopped. Also, be sure to schedule your appointment earlier in the day.
Q: What can I do ahead of time before the appointment?
A: Bring with you or ask to have faxed to us lab reports of any skin biopsies and also any recent blood work. Also bring with you the names and dosages of any medications your pet has received in the two months prior to the visit. Or if possible, bring a copy of your pet's records for the last 12 months. Fill out and bring with you the dermatology questionnaire that we send to you.