It's understandable that you want to provide your beloved pet with the best possible veterinary care, which is why our Groton vets are sharing the qualifications you should look for when choosing a veterinarian.
Finding the Right Vet
It can be stressful trying to find a vet that will meet all of your pet's needs because there are so many factors to consider. Will you like the staff? Do the hospital hours meet your availability? However, looking past the day-to-day practicalities of looking for a veterinarian, there are several certifications an individual vet can have. So, what are these certifications and what do they mean? Below we have listed some of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are choosing a vet, look to see if they are licensed to practice in the U.S. and in your state. We also recommend taking the time to learn if the other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and look around, if you can't see the certifications hanging in the reception area, just ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine for further 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 cat or dog has specific health care requirements that go above and beyond standard veterinary care, you might want to locate a vet that has qualifications that are beyond the standard DVM degree. Two of these certifications include:
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.