I had the opportunity to interview the lovely Ashley Bourgois DVM, ACVD. Dr. Bourgois is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, completed a small animal rotating internship at Purdue University, and a dermatology residency at Animal Dermatology Clinics in California. She is currently a practice owner and clinician at their location in Portland, Oregon. Not only a fantastic veterinarian beloved by her clients, but Dr. Bourgois is also a wonderful mother of two beautiful children. When not in her clinic, she enjoys teaching and connecting through her rapidly growing social media platform @thedermvet.
Dr. Bourgois reflects on a connection to animals for as long as she can remember. Fascinated by dinosaurs and space at a young age, after overcoming the disappointment that a career combining these two passions was not possible, she set her mind on being a veterinarian. She never would have imagined this is where her career would have taken her! Dr. Bourgois began veterinary school with the goal of being a small animal clinician, maybe working with some horses. Never would she have thought she would come to specialize. Her road to a dermatology specialty began during her first year of veterinary school. While working with an anesthesiologist, a comment was made, perhaps in envy, about the lifestyle of the dermatologist- no emergencies, optimal work hours, and limited amounts of expensive equipment as compared to other specialties. As she finished school and her internship, she genuinely loved dermatology. Science aside, it allows a quality of life and consistency she valued. Visualization in science is an asset to her medicine, which is an important tool of a dermatologist. When considering specialties in general, Bourgois makes the point to consider being an in-depth expert in one area such as dermatology or a jack of all trades, maybe not to the same level of detail when specializing in one system. Another part of dermatology she has grown to love is the connection made with her clients. Dermatology is often a chronic disease process- this means many of her clients she sees multiple times a year for the lifetime of a pet. With her lifetime love for animals, she never would have guessed her love of people would be a favorite part of a veterinary career!
Although so proud of the medicine she practices in her dermatology clinic (and rightfully so!), what she quotes that has truly made her most happy is her continued efforts to have a positive impact on the other members in the field. Her advice: do whatever makes you happy! If this means working part-time and having a family that’s wonderful! If it is working on the industry side of the profession, that is great, too! She is currently working on expanding her social media presence. Her impact is to provide a platform to remind veterinarians- and inspire the future of the profession- the breadth of the degree. There is truly something to love for every person with a degree in veterinary medicine.
Through her social media presence, Dr. Bourgois hopes to encourage pet owners, and other specialists in vet med, to not ignore dermatology problems in pets- it is so important and often an overlooked part of pet wellness and healthcare. She also hopes to inspire young veterinarians in the field to find their niche. “You will never get anything you don’t ask for” she quotes. Her parting words are to go after whatever makes you happy- whatever that veterinary career may look like for you. Follow her on Instagram @thedermvet to get an even greater glimpse into the life, medicine, and mission of the incredible Dr. Bourgois.