You love you pet and want to make sure that the veterinarian you choose has the right qualifications to provide veterinary care to your beloved pet. So, what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new vet for your animal can be a stressful process. There are many things to consider. Will you like the person? Are their hospital hours aligned with your availability? But beyond these day to day practicalities, there are a number of different certifications an individual vet can hold. What do these certifications mean though? Here are a few of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When looking for a vet, check and make sure that the vet you are considering is licensed to work in the U.S. as well as in your specific state. You may also want to take the time to find out if others working in the hospital are licensed as well, like the veterinary technicians. Pop into the vet's office and take a look around, if you don't see the certifications hanging in the reception area, simply ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine for more information.
Here are the two certifications you are looking for:
DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - The first thing that you need to check is that your vet is qualified to practice in the U.S. When someone graduated from an American veterinary school, they receive a DNM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, which can also be called a VMD). All vets practicing in the United States have to have a DVM degree. That means that the person you are considering is a qualified vet and as licensed to perform the duties of their profession.
State Veterinary Licensing - To practice veterinary medicine, some states require a certification exam. These tests usually examine the vet's understanding of their state's laws and regulations which govern veterinary medicine. In order to maintain a state level veterinary license, vets have to continue obtaining education and may even need to renew their license periodically.
Additional Veterinary Qualifications
If your pet has health care requirements above and beyond standard veterinary care, you may want to look for a vet with qualifications that go beyond the standard DVM degree. Two such certifications are:
Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP) - Veterinarians who are ABVP certified start with a DVM degree an then continue their education beyond what is required to practice regular veterinary medicine. ABVP diplomates undergo a challenging process of further studies to become board-certified specialists. These vets have put in hard work and acquired the training to specialize in the treatment of one or more kinds of animals.
Fear Free Certification - If you have a pet that is high-strung or anxious you may want to take the extra time to locate a Fear-Free Certified vet in your area. Fear-Free certification can apply to an individual vet, another veterinary professional within the hospital, or even the hospital itself. Fear Free training teaches ways in which veterinary professionals can make pets more at ease in their office and during their examinations and treatment.
Vets That May Require A Referral
Veterinary Specialists - A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has taken the time and effort to complete additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in a particular are. If your pet is unwell and your regular veterinarian is unable to properly treat the, they may refer you to a veterinary specialist. There are 41 different specialties which fall within veterinary medicine, ranging from surgery to dentistry and behavior to ophthalmology. You may be referred to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet's health issue requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your primary care veterinarian does not have. Veterinary specialists take pride in working with your primary care veterinarian to provide your pet with the best care possible.