As a responsible pet parent, you want to choose a vet with the right qualifications to provide the veterinary care your animal needs. So, which qualifications should you look for?
Choosing the Right Vet
You might be feeling stressed at the prospect of choosing a new vet for your animal — after all, there are lots of factors to consider. Do the hospital's hours line up with your availability? Will you and your vet get along? But beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, there are numerous certifications an individual vet may hold. So what do those certifications mean? Here are some of the most common for primary vets.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you're seeking a vet, check to ensure the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in the U.S. and in your state. You may also want to find out whether other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and have a look around. If you don't see certifications hanging in the reception area, just ask to see their licenses or contact your state board for more information.
The two certifications you're looking for are:
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).