What qualifications should I look for in a vet?

You want to be sure that the vert you choose for your pet has the right qualifications for the job in order to provide the veterinary care your animal needs. What qualifications should you look for in a new vet?/

Choosing the Right Vet

It can be a stressful experience choosing a new vet for your pet. There are many things to consider. Will you like them? DO the clinic hours align with your availability? There are a number of certifications beyond the practical worries you might have, that you should always check for to make sure that your vet is qualified to provide service to your beloved companion animal.

Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications

When you are searching for a vet, make sure you check that they are licensed to practice both in the U.S. and in your state. You may also wish to take time and find out if others working in the hospital are licensed as well, such as the veterinary technicians. Opo into their office and take a look around. If you don't see them hanging on the walls, you can ask to see their licenses. You can also contact your state 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 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 and the continue to acquire expertise outside of standard veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates have undergone a 3-year process of studies and examinations to become specialists recognized by the American Veterinary Association. These vets have put in the hard work and training to specialize in the treatment of one or more categories 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 their office and during their examinations and treatment. 

Vets That May Require A Referral

Veterinary Specialists - A board-certified specialist is a vet who has gone through additional training specific to an area of veterinary medicine and has passed examinations that tests their skills and knowledge. If your pet is ill, your regular vet may refer you to a specialist who has undergone their training in a relevant area to your pet's medical issue. 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.

North Wake Animal Hospital's veterinary team is committed to offering you and your pet the the best possible veterinary care. Contact us today to learn more about our range of services and the qualifications of your veterinarians.