Do derm right: Look at the long term and stick with a plan
Veterinary dermatologist Paul Bloom, DVM, DACVD, DABVP, of Allergy, Skin and Ear Clinic for Animals in Livonia, Michigan, sees two persistent mistakes general practitioners make when dealing with dermatology cases. They are:
1. Not finding the "due to"
Bloom says the No. 1 mistake doctors make in dermatology cases is not working these patients up completely but simply treating their symptoms—"trying to get the patient over the crisis without formulating a long-term plan," he says.
Instead, Bloom says every diagnosis in dermatology should be followed by the words "due to." For example: alopecia "due to," pruritis "due to," pyoderma "due to" or otitis externa "due to." "If we find the "due to" we'll be less likely to play whack-a-mole," he says.
2. Not scheduling the rechecks
If veterinarians aren't establishing a long-term treatment plan, Bloom says they're missing the opportunity to schedule rechecks with the patient. "They're going from crisis to crisis rather than engaging in proactive management," he says. "We have to get these patients back for rechecks, and if we see that they've had recurrent problems, to schedule rechecks before they become symptomatic."
Furthermore, he says, dispensing medications such as antibiotics or glucocorticoids without performing a recheck can be downright dangerous. "It sets us up for resistance and for complications associated with administration of those drugs," Bloom says.
Nip these problems in the bud by finding the "due to" and scheduling rechecks, Bloom says, "and I think you'll be a much happier veterinarian—and you'll have much happier clients."