A common misconception among pet owners is that all veterinarians collectively specialize in all animal health matters. However, like in the human field of medicine, different veterinarians specialize in different areas of veterinary medicine.

Most local veterinarians serve as companion veterinarians who are the equivalent of a general practitioner or family doctor. As a result, they mostly focus on providing standard treatments for common pet ailments. However, if your pet requires more specialized treatment for a unique condition or ailment, you must seek a veterinarian specializing in the given ailment or treatment.

Here are three types of veterinarian specialists and the services they provide for household pets.

1. Dermatologist Veterinary

Similar to humans, pets can contract various skin conditions or infections from other pets or as a result of coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. Examples of common skin diseases and infections in pets include:

  • Congenital skin disease
  • Dandruff and ringworms
  • Flea bites
  • Dermatitis resulting from grooming product allergies
  • Yeast infections
  • Folliculitis
  • Alopecia (excessive shedding or loss of fur)

Most companion veterinarians may not be qualified to adequately diagnose and provide treatment for some of the skin conditions listed above. They may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist so that your pet can get the adequate treatment needed for a particular skin condition.

Some of the services provided by a veterinary dermatology specialist include biopsy, cutaneous skin test, allergen immunotherapy, and intradermal allergy test. After your pet undergoes all these tests, veterinary dermatologists will be able to determine the root cause of the skin condition and provide the necessary treatment.

2. Ophthalmologist Veterinarian

Cats and dogs often encounter various eye conditions that may or may not go unnoticed. Like humans, pets also encounter various eye problems such as:

  • Retinal disease
  • Cataract
  • Eye scratches and abrasions
  • Eye tumors
  • Loss of vision
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Dry eye

Issues such as cataracts are quite noticeable; however, eye problems like retinal disease are more concealed. As a result, pet owners are often encouraged to visit ophthalmologist veterinarians to have their pets checked for any obscured eye conditions. If you notice any abnormalities with your pet's eyes, such as swelling, scratching, redness, change in eye color, squinting, and abnormal discharges, take your pet to an ophthalmologist for immediate.  

3. Veterinary Surgeons

Sometimes pets may develop certain conditions or injuries that warrant the need for surgery. Unfortunately, not all veterinarians specialize in providing surgery services. Most companion veterinarians can handle closing wounds, but they might not be qualified to handle unique types of pet surgery. As a result, should your pet require a special or elective surgery procedure, consult a veterinary surgeon.

Common types of conditions that require pet surgery are removing tumors and growths, removing foreign objects that your pet may have swallowed, and fractures.

Therefore, if your pet develops any of the above issues, you need to seek the services of a veterinary surgeon immediately. However, veterinary surgeons also enlist the help of veterinary anesthesiologists to manage pain during pet surgery.