It goes without saying that pet owners want the best treatment around for their dogs and cats. In today's post, our Riverside vets talk about qualifications, and which ones you should be on the lookout for when choosing a veterinarian.
How do I make sure I'm choosing the right vet?
The questions facing a new pet owner when searching for a vet are myriad. "Are the hospital hours in line with my availability?" "Are they particularly esteemed in their field?" "What is their bedside manner like?" Or even most simply: "Will I like them as a person?" One thing that will make this choice easier, is knowing about the various qualifications American veterinarians must hold, as well as additional qualifications which may make a particular vet right for your dog or cat.
What are the qualifications every US vet needs to have?
To start, there are two qualifications every legal practice needs to have, they are:
A DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - 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.
A State Veterinary Licensing - Some states do not require additional state-specific licensing, but in those that do it is required your veterinarian have passed an additional examination In order to practice veterinary medicine. 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).
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. All veterinary offices are required to show clients their qualifications upon request.
What additional qualifications should I look for in a vet?
Some pets have requirements that go beyond the capabilities of a standard DVM. If you have a special needs dog or cat, you should be on the lookout for certifications such as:
A 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.
A 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 offices and during their examinations and treatment.