You want to be sure that any prospective vet who will be providing them care is qualified to do so. But what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new veterinarian for your pet can be a stressful experience! There are so many factors to consider. Are their hospital hours in line with your availability? Will you even like them?
But beyond these worries, there is also the question of whether they have the right qualifications for treating your beloved companion. What do these certifications mean, though? Here are some 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 - To practice veterinary medicine, some states require a vet to pass a state-specific examination. These exams usually involve testing the knowledge of regional laws and regulations which govern veterinary practices. In order to maintain a state license, veterinarians have to obtain continuing education and possibly renew their license on a semi-regular basis.
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) - Vets who are SBVP Certified (also called ABVP Diplomates) start with a standard veterinary degree then continue to acquire experience beyond that/ ABVP Diplomates undergo 3 years of additional studies after their initial degree and then take an examination to become a board certified specialist recognized by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). 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 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.