You love your pet and want to ensure that the veterinarian your choose to help keep them healthy has the right qualifications to do so. What qualifications should you even be looking for though?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new veterinarian for your pet can be a stressful experience. There are so many factors to take into consideration. Are their hospital hours in line with your availability? Will you even like them? Beyond these day to day practical considerations, there are also a number of different certifications a given vet might have to qualify them for different levels and kinds of care. What do these 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 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) - ABVP Certified veterinarians (also known ad ABVP Diplomates), start with a DVM degree and then go on the acquire expertise and knowledge beyond what is required to practice regular veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates undertake a 3 year-long process of examination and studies to become a board certified specialist with the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). These veterinarians have put in the hard work and training the specilaize in the treatment of a variety of categories of animal.
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.