Because you adore your furry friend you want to make sure they get the best healthcare possible, by choosing the right veterinarian that meets their needs. Today our vets in Lancaster share details on the qualifications you should look for when choosing a vet for your beloved pet.
Deciding on the Right Vet
It can be stressful having to find a new veterinarian for your cat or dog because there are lots of elements you have to take into consideration. Such as, do the hospital hours work within your schedule? And, do you like the vet and staff? However, there are more factors to think about beyond these practicalities, there are actually a handful of certifications a veterinarian can hold. Our team has listed a couple of the most common here and explains to you what they mean.
Mandatory Veterinary Qualifications in the U.S
When deciding on a vet, look to see if the ones you are considering have the licenses they need to work in the U.S and in your state. You can also take the time to find out if the other team members in the veterinary clinic such as the registered veterinary technicians are licensed as well. Take a visit to the veterinarian's office and look around, if you can't find the certifications hanging in the reception area you are able to ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine to get additional information.
There are the two certifications you are searching 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 cat or dog has specific health care requirements that go past the standard veterinary care, you might want to find a vet with qualifications that go beyond the standard DVM degree. Two of these 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 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.