You love your pet and want to ensure that they receive the best care possible. For that to happen, you should make sure that the vet you choose for them has the right qualifications. So, what qualifications should you look for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new vet for your pet can be a stressful experience. There are many things to keep in mind when you do. Will you like them? Do their regular hours align with your schedule? Beyond all of that, however, there are a number of certifications a vet can hold. But what do they mean? Here are some of the most common qualifications a vet can hold.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are searching for a vet, check to make sure that the one you are considering is licensed to practice in the U.S. and in your state. You might also wish to take some time to find out if any of the other staff in the hospital are licensed, like registered veterinary technicians. Pop into your prospective vet's office and take a look around. If your don't see their certifications hanging on the wall, ask to see their licenses. You can also contact your state's 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 a person graduates from an American veterinary school they receive a DVM—Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (sometimes called a VMD degree). All vets practicing in the U.S. must have a DVM degree. A DVM degree means that the person you are considering is, in fact, a qualified veterinarian and is fully qualified to perform the duties of the profession.
State Veterinary Licensing - In order to practice veterinary medicine, some states also require a veterinarian to pass a state-specific examination. These exams typically test the vet's knowledge of the state's laws and regulations governing veterinary medicine. In order to maintain a state veterinary license, vets must obtain continuing education and may need to renew their license on a regular basis (often every 3 years).
Additional Veterinary Qualifications
If your pet has health care requirements which go above and beyond standard veterinary care, you might wish to look for a vet with qualifications specially suited to your pet's needs. Two certifications which may indicate that are as follows:
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.
Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP) - Veterinarians who are ABVP Certified (ABVP Diplomates) begin with a DVM degree then go on to accrue knowledge and expertise beyond what is required to practice standard veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates undergo a challenging 3-year process of additional studies and examination to become board certified specialists recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These vets have put in the hard work and training to specialize in the treatment of one or more categories of animals.
Vets That May Require A Referral
Veterinary Specialists - A board-certified veterinarian who has both completed additional training and passed an examination in specific areas of veterinary medicine can be called a veterinary specialist. If your pet is unwell, your vet may refer you to a veterinary specialist who has expertise in your pet's condition. There are 41 distinct specialties within veterinary medicine ranging from behavior to ophthalmology and surgery to dentistry. 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.