You love your pet and want to be sure that the veterinarian you choose for their care has the right qualifications to give your companion the medical attention they need. But what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
When choosing a new vet for your animal, you may be feeling some stress. There are many factors to consider. Will you like your new vet? Are their hours convenient? How close are they to your home?
But beyond these day-to-day considerations, there are also a number of certifications you should be looking for when considering a new veterinarian for your pet. But what do they mean? Here are some of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When searching for a veterinarian, check to ensure that the vet you are looking at is, in fact, licensed to practice in the United States and in your particular state. You may also want to take some time to learn if other people working at their hospital are licensed too, such as registered veterinary technicians.
Visit your vet's office and take a look around. If you don't see certifications hanging in the vet's reception area, just ask to see the licenses. You can also contact your state's board of veterinary medicine if you would like more information.
Here are the two certifications you are looking for:
DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - The first thing you should always check for when considering a veterinarian is whether or not they are qualified to practice in the U.S. When someone graduates from an American veterinary school, they earn a DVM degree (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, also called a VMD). All vets that practice in the U.S. need a DVM degree. This certification signifies that the person you are considering to care for your pet is, indeed, 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 professionals who have completed addition training in specific areas of veterinary medicine and have passed an examination that evaluated their knowledge and skills in a specific specialty area.
If your pet is unwell, your regular vet may refer you to a veterinary specialist. 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.