Veterinary professor retires after more than 28 years at LSU

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2017


BATON ROUGE, La.—Sandra Merchant, DVM, DACVD, professor of veterinary dermatology, has retired after more than 28 years at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM). Dr. Merchant joined the faculty as an assistant professor of veterinary dermatology in July 1988.


Dr. Merchant received her BS from Florida State University in 1979 and her DVM from the University of Florida in 1984. She completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York, N.Y. in 1985 and worked as an associate veterinarian for one year in Florida before beginning her dermatology residency at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, which she completed in 1988. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology in 1990.


In her 28 years at the LSU SVM, she has taught courses on dermatology to more than 2,200 veterinary students. She also coordinated and helped to develop courses for the Problem-based Learning curriculum, whereby first- and second-year veterinary students use a real-world case to learn about finding a diagnosis and setting up a treatment protocol. Dr. Merchant also trained 52 interns and 14 veterinary dermatology residents.


Dr. Merchant has presented at international, national, state and local meetings and conferences and has published book chapters, abstracts and publications on veterinary dermatology. She has received several awards for teaching, including University Award in Teaching Excellence (1995), Gamma Sigma Delta - Teaching Excellence Award Merit Honor Role (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007), Speaker of the Year - (Small Animal) - The North American Veterinary Conference (1994), MSD AGVET - Creativity in Teaching Award (1993), Norden Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award (1990) (highest honor in Veterinary Medicine Academia), and Louisiana State University Student Government Association Distinguished Teacher Award (Veterinary Medicine) (1990). In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, Dr. Merchant was recognized as having the highest average on teaching evaluation by students in Year IV.


Lisa Roundtree is a dermatology technician who has worked at the LSU SVM since 1990 and has worked with Dr. Merchant for more than 26 years. “Dr. Merchant is a very compassionate and knowledgeable doctor,” said Roundtree. “She always wanted everyone to learn and be on the same page. I loved that she never made anyone feel inadequate, and I will miss our daily talks and her teaching.”


Michelle Woodward, DVM, MS (LSU SVM 2014), DACVD, is an assistant professor of veterinary dermatology and was a dermatology resident with Dr. Merchant from 2011-2014. “Veterinary students graduating from LSU in the last 28 years received a fantastic dermatology education in large part due to Sandy Merchant and her passion for teaching,” said Dr. Woodward. “She is clinically one of the strongest dermatologists in the country and has the unique ability to explain complex problems in a way that allows clients, students and other veterinarians to understand. Her attention to detail, personal requirement for excellent patient care and the need to excel at everything she does are contagious to those around her. Sandy Merchant has been my biggest mentor and cheerleader, both professionally and personally. With her retirement, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital has lost a vocal leader. However, her influence in the hospital will continue through the many faculty members, staff and house officers that she has trained.”


Cherie Pucheu-Haston, DVM (LSU SVM 1992), PhD, DACVD, associate professor of veterinary dermatology, knew Dr. Merchant as both a student and a colleague. “I would say that Sandy was one of the best, if not the very best, clinical dermatologists that I’ve ever worked with,” said Dr. Pucheu. “She has an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge, and the ability to use it. She has a talent for taking cases that would flummox even me (with 20+ years of experience) and break them down into nice, useful, easily digestible and understandable chunks of information. I am in awe of her ability to persevere and prosper professionally and personally, even through situations that I think would have made other strong people fold. I think the thing that I liked best about her (as a student, as an intern and later as faculty) was her absolute commitment to teaching. She spent huge amounts of time not only in front of the class (or in front of her clinical students) but also behind the scenes doing her best to protect and guide us all in our quest to provide our students and house officers with the best possible education. She was always there for me, and for everyone else, and I think that we haven’t even begun to realize how much we are going to miss her yet.”


“Having worked almost my whole professional career at LSU, I will always consider this my veterinary home, and I am thankful that I had such wonderful students and house officers to teach, colleagues to interact with and staff to help with all the needs of my service and my patients,” said Dr. Merchant. “My fondest memories will be of the interaction with all of the amazing patients, caring students, faculty, staff and clients that made the days and years fly by.” 


Dr. Merchant continues to practice her dermatology specialty part time in Houston Texas at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists and will soon be working part time at Louisiana Veterinary Specialists in Broussard, Louisiana.


The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.


Media Contact                                                                                                                                                                                    

Ginger Guttner, APR                                        

Director of Public Relations

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine         

O: 225-578-9922 C: 225-772-8957