Dr. Thierry Olivry

Veterinary Dermatologist

Dr. Thierry Olivry in his office.

Dr. Thierry Olivry is a veterinary dermatologist.  Veterinary dermatology is the study of animal skin.  Fifteen to twenty percent of Dr. Olivry's work is with allergies, but some of it also includes infections like acne and mites.  Who'd ever think that a dog would have pimples!  In fact, quite a lot of dogs have skin infections and other skin problems because about eighty percent of Dr. Olivry's patients are dogs, about twenty percent are cats, and a very small portion consists of other animals.  Many of the diseases that Dr. Olivry studies are also present in humans.  At this point in time there is more known about human dermatology than is known about veterinary dermatology, so the knowledge from human dermatology is being used to diagnose animals. Dr. Olivry hopes that soon the knowledge of veterinary dermatology will be used to diagnose humans.

Dr. Olivry with his microscope.

Dr. Olivry was always interested in becoming a vet.  His father was a biologist and between the two of them there were always pets around the house.  Dr. Olivry has been in his field for about 14 years.  He lived in Toulouse, France, and went to vet school there.  In France it is even harder to get into vet school than it is here.  To graduate from vet school in France, the student must do a research project. That is how he got into his field.  He did his project on dermatology and decided to stay in that field.  He moved to California in 1991 where he specialized in dermatology and received his Doctorate.  Dr. Olivry has been working at the NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine since 1994 and plans to stay.  He thinks that his field will stay focused on the same diseases that it is focused on now, only with more advanced research.  Right now the most difficult problems to solve are those that are transmitted genetically such as allergies.  These problems will take much more research and time to solve.

When Dr. Olivry is studying an animal he first numbs the skin and then takes a skin biopsy with a knife that is the shape and size of a ball-point pen.


This cuts a small circular specimen, which he puts into formalin, a fixation that prevents rotting.

At least one day later he dehydrates the biopsies in alcohol of increased concentration.


Then he embeds the samples in paraffin to create a paraffin block.
The block is then cut into four micron strips with a microtome, stained with hematoxylin and eosin stain, and placed on slides for study. 

To become a vet at least eight years of post secondary school is required. About eighty-five percent of students now enrolled in veterinary school are women and Dr. Olivry said that more and more women are becoming vets.  He spends about ten percent of his time teaching class, fifty percent of his time participating in clinics, and forty percent of his time researching.

We enjoyed the interview with Dr. Olivry and hope you learned as much about Veterinary dermatology as we did.

 Lori and Katie, SciBlast Science Reporters

Lori and Katie in the lobby of the North Carolina State School of Veterinary Medicine.

For more information on veterinary dermatology visit DermWeb at UBC or Companion Animal Dermatology .

Send Sci-Dog home.
For questions or comments contact:
Dr. Jay Levine, The College of Veterinary Medicine
Rita Hagevik, or Ann Thompson
Ligon GT Magnet Middle School
706 East Lenoir Street
Raleigh, NC  27615
(919)856-7941 (Technology Lab)
(919) 856-7939 (VM)
(919) 856-3745 (FAX)