You adore your pet and want to be sure that the veterinarian you choose has the right qualifications to provide your companion with the veterinary care they need. But what qualifications should you look for when searching for a new vet?
Choosing the Right Vet
Finding a new vet for your companion can be a stressful experience. There are so many things worth considering throughout the process! Are their hospital hours convenient for you? Is their location?
But beyond these day-to-day practicalities, there are also a number of certifications an individual veterinarian can hold. But what do these certifications actually mean? Here are a few of the most common for your consideration.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When looking for a veterinarian, make sure that the one you are considering is, in fact, licensed to practice in the United States and in your state. You may also want to take some time to find out if other people working in the hospital are licensed too, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit your vet's office and take a peek around. If you don't see their certifications in their reception area, ask to see their licenses or inquire with your state's board of veterinary medicine for more info.
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).
Vets That May Require A Referral
Veterinary Specialists - Board-certified veterinary specialists are veterinarians who have completed additional training on top of the regular veterinary certifications in a specific area of the field. They must pass an examination that tests their knowledge and skills in their chosen area of expertise. Your primary care veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing and treating your pet's health issues require specialized equipment, techniques or knowledge that falls within one or more of the 41 different specialties in veterinary medicine. Veterinary specialists take pride in working with your primary care veterinarian to provide your pet with the best care possible.