You love your pet and want to ensure that the veterinarian you choose to take care of them has the qualifications to provide the service you need. So, what qualifications should you be looking 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? But beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, there are a number of certifications an individual vet 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 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:
DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - The first thing you should check for in a prospective vet is whether or not they are qualified to practice in the United States. When anyone graduates from an American veterinary school, they receive a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and sometimes called a VMD). Every vet practicing in the United States must have a DVM. This degree means that the vet you are considering, is in fact a full qualified veterinarian who is able to complete the requirements 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 your pet is anxious, nervous or high-strung, it may benefit you to take some extra time and locate a Fear-Free Certified veterinarian in your area. This certification can apply to an individual vet, a veterinary professional like a tech, or even the entire hospital itself. Fear Free training helps veterinary professionals make nervous pets more at ease in their office and throughout treatments or examinations.