Your love your pet and want to make sure that the veterinarian you choose to provide them with their care has the right qualifications to provide the care that your pet needs. But what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Selecting the right veterinarian for your pet companion can be stressful, there are so many things to consider. Will you like them? Are their hospital hours in line with your availability? But beyond these day-to-day practicalities, there are many different possible certifications an individual veterinarian can hold. But what do these certifications mean?
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 in any prospective vet is whether or not they are actually qualified to practice in the United States. When someone graduates from an American veterinary school, they receive a DVM (or VMD)—a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Every vet practicing in the United States needs a DVM degree to show that they are a full qualified veterinarian and are able to perform the duties required by 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 start with a DVM degree and then go on to accrue knowledge and expertise beyond what si required in order to practice standard veterinary care, ABVP Diplomates have to undergo a challenging 3-year process of additional studies and examination in order to become a board-certified specialist recognized by the American Veterinary medical Association. These veterinarians haver put in hard work and training hours in order to specialize into one or more 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.