You adore your pet and want to make sure that the veterinarian you choose for them has the right qualifications to meet your companion's needs. So, what qualifications should you be on the lookout for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Selecting a new vet for your pet can be a stressful experience. There are many factors worth considering. Will you like the person? Are their hospital hours aligned with your availability? How far away is their office from your home? But, beyond the day-to-day concerns that come with choosing a vet, there are also a number of qualifications and certifications a given vet can have. But what do they mean? Here are a few of the most common and what they signify.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When looking for a vet, check to ensure that the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in both the United States and in your specific state. You may also want to take some time to find out if the people working in the hospital are licensed as well. This includes registered veterinary technicians. Visit your prospective vet's office and take a look around. If you don't see any certifications hanging in the reception area, just ask to see their license. 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 you should always check is whether or not a vet you are considering is licensed to practice in the United States. When an individual graduated from an American vet school, they receive a DVM degree—Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. All vets practicing in the United States must have a DVM degree. This degree signifies that the person you and considering trusting with your pet's health is, in fact, a qualified veterinarian who is prepared to perform the duties of the job.
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 then go on to accrue knowledge and expertise beyond what is required to practice standard 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 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 high-strung pet, you may want to take some extra time and locate a Fear-Free certified vet in your area. Fear-Free certification can apply to an individual vet, a veterinary professional within a given hospital or even the entire hospital itself. Certification involves training to help veterinary professionals make pets more at ease in their office during exams and treatments.