A veterinary specialist can provide specific, in-depth care in a particular specialty health field. After graduating from veterinary school, specialists complete between three and four years of additional training in their field of expertise. Following this advanced training, specialists submit their credentials to a group that oversees that area of medicine. Examples include the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American College of Veterinary Surgery (ACVS). After meeting the group’s preliminary criteria, specialists must pass a multi-day examination. Upon completion of this process, specialists became diplomates (members) of the group and are
considered to be board certified.
In general, specialists see cases that require advanced training, expertise, skills
and equipment. There might be a difficult diagnosis, or treatment that requires the most up-to-date surgical or medical techniques. Examples include orthopedic surgery, cancer surgery, ultrasound, chemotherapy, endoscopy, MRI/CT scans and more.
When do you see a specialist?
- Your veterinarian recommends specialty care.
- You have concerns regarding your pet’s health.
If you have concerns, we encourage you to discuss your options with your family veterinarian.