You love your pet and want to ensure the vet you choose has the right qualifications to provide the veterinary care your animal will need. Our vets in Tumwater list the qualifications you should look for.
Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new vet for your animal can be stress-inducing — you have so many things to consider. Will you like this person? Do the hospital hours line up with your availability? Plus, beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, an individual vet can hold numerous certifications. So, what do those 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 United States and in your state. You may also want to take the time to ask whether other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and look around. If you don't see the 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).
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.