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Meagan Painter

Dr. Painter
Veterinary Specialist
Dr. Painter

At a Glance

Practicing Since:


Board Certified:


Specialties Include:

Food allergy diagnosis and management
Integrative approach to allergic skin disease
Helping reach a diagnosis for more complicated skin and ear infections and conditions

My Pets:

Chips - a fun and happy domestic shorthair kitty
Dr. Meagan Painter graduated with honors from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in May 2014. Upon graduation, Dr. Painter completed a rigorous one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, MA. She was then selected to complete a residency in veterinary dermatology with the Animal Dermatology Clinic in 2015. This dynamic residency allowed her to see patients at Veterinary Healing Arts in Rhode Island, train with the Animal Dermatology Clinics in California, review histopathology with the dermatology group at Tufts and take part in comparative dermatology training with the residents in human dermatology at Brown University! Dr. Painter obtained board certification from the American College of Veterinary Dermatology in November 2018. Dr. Painter's research interests include developing strategies to understand and improve health behavior and adherence. Her favorite cases include adverse food reactions, allergic dermatitis, complicated infection and immune-mediated dermatoses. She really enjoys helping clients and colleagues understand how to successfully approach and manage their dermatology cases. No case is too big or too small! Dr. Painter is very excited to join the team at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists! Away from work, Dr. Painter loves spending time with her husband, daughter and their four-legged family members. As a New England native, Dr. Painter can't wait to explore California and call this awesome part of the world home. 
Papers Authored
Use of the Health Belief Model to Identify Factors Associated with Owner Adherence to Elimination Diet Trial Recommendations in Dogs

Objective: To use the Health Belief Model to identify factors associated with owner adherence to elimination diet trial (EDT) recommendations by veterinarians for dogs with suspected cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFRs).
Authored By: Meagan R. Painter DVM; Tiffany Tapp DVM1 and Julia E. Painter MPH, PhD
Published: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, August 15, 2019, Vol. 255, No. 4, Pages 446-45

The Time-To-Integrate-To-Nest Test as an Indicator of Wellbeing in Laboratory Mice

Abstract: Minimizing and alleviating pain and distress in laboratory mice without compromising the methodologic integrity of research is a crucial goal. However, current methods for welfare assessment in mice are not well suited to cageside checks. In the present study, we developed a simple assessment tool-the time-to-integrate-to-nest test (TINT)-and evaluated its ability to identify mice with compromised welfare. To conduct the TINT, a nominal amount of nesting material is added to a mouse cage, and the nesting behaviors that occur immediately thereafter are observed. The TINT yields a positive result when a mouse integrates the new nesting material into the main nest site within 10 min; failure to interact with the nesting material is defined as a negative TINT. Our first experiment examined whether genetic background and sex are associated with differences in the likelihood of a positive TINT in unmanipulated mice. A significant effect related to mouse strain was found: C3H/HeNCrl had the lowest positive TINT rate among the 10 strains evaluated. A second experiment assessed whether results of the TINT would be altered after a painful surgical procedure, such as carotid artery injury. Despite all mice having received buprenorphine as analgesia at the time of surgery, significantly more mice had a negative TINT for 2 d after surgery than before surgery. Based on the results of the current study, additional work is needed to specifically validate the TINT in injured and noninjured subjects.
Authored By: Rock ML, Karas A, Rodriguez K, Gallo M, Pritchett-Corning K, Karas R, Aronovitz M, Gaskill BN
Published: Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2014 Jan;53(1):24-8


What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist?

A veterinary dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of benign and malignant disorders of the ears, skin, mouth, hair, and nails. A veterinary dermatologist has also had significant training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disorders in pets.

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine skin ailments, certain diseases and injuries require the care of a doctor who has had specialized training in veterinary dermatology in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Dermatologist?

While your general practitioner veterinarian can handle many aspects of your pet's care, just as in human medicine, sometimes there is a need for the attention of a specialist. If your pet has a complicated or difficult problem, your pet may need the care of a veterinary dermatologist. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.

While in some cases, your veterinarian may be able to simply consult with a specialist in veterinary dermatology about your pet's care, in other cases it is necessary to actually refer you and your pet to the specialist for more advanced diagnostics and treatment.

What Special Problems Does A Veterinary Dermatologist Treat?

Skin problems are some of the most common reasons owners bring their pet to the veterinarian. Most routine skin problems can be handled by your general practitioner veterinarian. Certain skin problems, however, can be difficult to diagnose and treat and the help of a specialist may be required. These include skin problems associated with allergies, parasite infestations, infectious, autoimmune, and endocrinologic (hormonal) diseases, chronic or recurrent ear infections, diseases of the feet, footpad, or nails, and skin cancers.

While it is important to realize that your pet's skin problems, especially those that have been developing over a period of time, often aren't solvable overnight, most can be cured or made much more manageable with the help of a specialist.

The following general conditions are among those that frequently require the assistance of a veterinary dermatologist:
  • Parasites
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Systemic Diseases
  • Skin Cancer
  • Allergic Conditions

Most of the allergic disease that occurs in dogs and cats affects the skin. These allergies include reactions to food items (food allergy), air borne and contact substances (atopic dermatitis), and fleas (flea allergy dermatitis). Allergies can be difficult to diagnose and treat and are the kinds of cases where involving a specialist early can not only help diagnose and resolve the problem earlier but also potentially save the pet owner money in the long run.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

Your veterinary dermatologist will work together with your veterinarian as part of your pet's total veterinary health care team. Your general practitioner veterinarian will still oversee all aspects of your pet's care, but with the added, specialized input of a veterinary dermatologist.

Did You Know?

  • Dogs suffer from seasonal allergies just like people, but unlike us, they tend to scratch rather than sneeze when they are allergic to something.
  • Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis) occurs in approximately 10% to 15% of the dog population, usually starting between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Pets can even be allergic to the skin dander from other pets in the same household!

If you believe your pet is in need of a veterinary dermatologist, talk to your VCA vet or find a VCA board certified veterinary dermatologist near you.

Download an intake form prior to your visit!

Related Resources

American College of Veterinary Dermatology Website
VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists

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San Francisco, CA 94110

Main: 415-401-9200

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