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 Veterinarian
Choosing a new veterinarian 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? But beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a veterinarian, there are a number of certifications an individual veterinarian can hold. So, what do those certifications mean? Here are a few of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are looking for a veterinarian, 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 veterinary 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 veterinarian is qualified to practice in the U.S. When a person graduates from an American veterinary school they receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree (sometimes called a VMD degree). All veterinarians 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 pass a state-specific examination in order to practice veterinary medicine. These tests generally assess the veterinarians 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 requires healthcare that goes above and beyond normal veterinary care, you should seek a veterinarian that has qualifications that go beyond the typical DVM degree. Two such certifications are:
Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP): ABVP-certified (ABVP Diplomates) veterinarians begin with a DVM degree and then go on to gain knowledge and experience above what is necessary to practice conventional veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates undergo a challenging 3-year process of additional studies and examination to become board certified specialists recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (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 veterinarian in your area. Fear-Free certification can apply to an individual veterinarian, 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.