You adore your pet and want to ensure that the veterinarian you select is qualified to offer the veterinary care that it requires. So, what credentials should you search for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new vet for your animal can be stressful, there are so many things to consider. Will you like the person? Are the hospital hours in line with your availability? Aside from the day-to-day realities of selecting a vet, an individual vet can possess a variety of qualifications. So, what exactly do those certificates imply?
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are looking for a vet, check to make sure that the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in the U.S. and in your state. You may also what to take the time to find out if other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered 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:
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM): 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 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM, 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: Some states additionally need a veterinarian to complete a state-specific examination before practicing veterinary care. These tests generally assess the vet's understanding of the state's veterinary rules and regulations. Veterinarians must obtain continuing education and may need to renew their license on a regular basis in order to keep their state veterinary license (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): 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. To become board-certified specialists recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, ABVP Diplomates must complete a rigorous three-year program of extra study and examinations (AVMA). These veterinarians have worked hard and received extensive training to specialize in the care of one or more types 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 the veterinary office and during examinations and treatment.