You love your pet and you want to make sure they they get the best possible care. One of the things you should be looking for when searching for a new veterinarian, if if they have the right qualifications to give your pet the care they need and deserve. But what qualifications should you be looking for?
Choosing the Right Vet
When choosing a new vet for your animal, it's easy to get stressed. There are so many aspects of the decision to consider. Will you like them? Will their hours align with your schedule> But on top of these important considerations, there are also a number of certifications an individual vet can hold. So, what do these mean? Here are some of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are looking for a vet, check to ensure that the veterinarian you are considering is, in fact, licensed to practice in the United States. You may also want to take some time to look into whether or not other staff in the hospital are licensed (like registered veterinary technicians). Pop into your vet's office and look around. If you don't see the certifications hanging in the reception area, you can always ask to see them or contact your state's 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) - 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 office and during their examinations and treatment.