You want to ensure the vet you choose for your beloved pet has the right qualifications to provide the veterinary care that your animal needs. So, which qualifications should you look for?
Choosing the Right Vet
Because there are so many things to consider when it comes time to choose a new vet for your animal, you may find this task stressful. Will you like this person? Do the hospital hours line up with your availability? Beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, there are also a number of certifications an individual vet may hold that pet owners might consider. So, what do these certifications mean? Here are a few of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When looking for a vet, confirm that the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in the U.S., and in your state. You may also want to take time to find out if other people working in the hospital are also licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and have a look around. If you don't see certifications displayed in the reception area, simply ask to see their licenses or contact 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, 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).