Your pet needs qualified veterinary care - and a vet you trust. Our Oakland veterinarians offer advice into what qualifications you should look for.
Choosing the Right Vet
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to choosing a new vet for your animal. Will you like this person? Do their office hours line up with your availability? In addition to these day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, each individual vet holds a number of certifications. So, what do these certifications mean? Here are some of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
Check to make sure that the veterinarian you are thinking of visiting is licensed in the U.S. and in your state. You might also consider taking the time to find out whether other staff at the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and and look around - if you don't notice the certifications hanging in the reception area, just ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine for more information.
Here are the two certifications you should look for:
DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - First, check that your vet is qualified to practice in the U.S. When someone graduates from an American veterinary school, they receive a DVM—Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (also referred to as a VMD degree). All vets who practice in the U.S. must have this degree, and it means the person you are thinking about bringing your pet to is fully required to perform the duties of the profession, and is a qualified veterinarian.
State Veterinary Licensing - To practice veterinary medicine, some states also require a veterinarian to pass a state-specific examination these exams typically test a vet's knowledge of the states regulations and laws that govern veterinary medicine. To maintain a state veterinary license, vets must take continuing education. They may also be required to renew their license on a regular basis (often every 3 years).
Vets That May Require A Referral
Veterinary Specialists - Some veterinarians complete additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine to become board-certified specialists. An examination evaluates their skills and knowledge in this area of specialty. If your pet is ill, our vets may refer you to a veterinary specialist. Veterinary medicine has 41 distinct specialties, ranging from ophthalmology to behavior and dentistry to surgery. If diagnosing or treating your pet's health issue requires expertise and/or specialized equipment that your primary care veterinarian does not have, you may receive a referral to a veterinary specialist. These veterinary specialists are happy to work with your primary care veterinarian to provide your pet with the best care possible.