You love your pet and want to ensure that the veterinarians you bring them to have the right qualifications to give your companion the care they need. But what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
When choosing a new vet for your animal, it's normal to feel some stress. There are so many things to consider! Will you like the person? Are their hospital hours in line with your availability? Are they conveniently located? But beyond these practical matters, there are also several certifications that an individual veterinarian can hold too. Here are a few of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When searching for a vet, you should check to make sure, first and foremost, that the professional you are considering is licensed to practice in the U.S. and your specific state. You may also want to take some time to learn whether other people at the hospital after licensed like registered veterinary technicians.
Visit your prospective vet's office and take a look around, if you don't see their certifications hanging on the walls in the reception area, you can 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 - 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. To maintain a state veterinary license, vets must obtain continuing education and may need to renew their license regularly (often every 3 years).
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) - ABVP Certified veterinarians (also called diplomates) start with a DVM degree and then go on to accrue knowledge and expertise beyond the requirements of standard veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates undergo challenging 3-year courses of additional study to become board-certified specialists that are recognized by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association).