Your love for your pet knows no bounds, so you need to make sure their vet is going to take care of them in a way that meets their specific needs. But what qualifications should you look for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a veterinarian for your beloved pet can be difficult. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Will the hospital hours match your schedule? Will you like the vets and staff? Beyond just the day-to-day stuff, there are a number of qualifications an individual vet can acquire. Here are a few of the common questions regarding those qualifications.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you start searching for a vet, you should check to make sure the vet you are considering is licensed in the U.S. and your state. It is also beneficial to look into other staff members at the clinic and see if they have licensed staff such as registers veterinary technicians. Head into the clinic and look around, if you don't see the certification in the reception area, you can simply ask to see their license or call 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 - In order to practice veterinary medicine in Georgia, veterinarians are required 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's health care needs exceed the requirements of standard veterinary care, you should consider looking 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.