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What qualifications should I look for in a vet?

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. 

Vets That May Require A Referral

Veterinary Specialists - A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area. If your pet is unwell, your regular vet may refer you to a veterinary specialist. 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.

At Aerowood Animal Hospital, our veterinary professionals are committed to offering you and your pet the best possible care in veterinary medicine. Contact us today to learn more about the qualifications of our vets and our range of services.

New Patients Welcome

At Aerowood Animal Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our experienced veterinary team is passionate about the health of companion animals in the Bellevue area and can't wait to welcome you and your pet to our veterinary family.

Contact Us

Contact (425) 746-6557