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Who Are Veterinary Specialists?

Who Are Veterinary Specialists?

Few people often bother to check and understand the extra initials and alphabets behind a veterinarian’s name. Some even ignore them ignorantly while others may recognize them though with little or no interest at all. Sadly, they are ignoring the basic tenets of distinguishing professional veterinarians from not-so-qualified veterinary personnel. So, what do these initials represent in particular? Are they helpful to pet owners? Well, the answers to these questions lie in understanding each initial.

In essence, these initials mean that the veterinarian has undergone advanced training to become a professional in the area of specialty. Here are common initials which are used to describe the professional qualifications of veterinary specialists;

  • DABT. This represents Diplomate of American Board of Toxicology
  • DACVECC. In full, it represents Diplomate of the American college of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care
  • DVM. Diplomate of Veterinary Medicine.

Survey shows that only 11,000 out of the known 90,000 veterinarians are qualified veterinary specialists in the US. So, what is the difference between a veterinarian and a veterinary specialist? Well, unlike a veterinarian, a specialist has undergone advanced training beyond college level and it’s someone who has completed tertiary training by undergoing further vigorous training in fellowship or residency, usually for 2 to 4 years. For one to be certified by a board, he or she has to publish a scientific research paper and pass an intense two to three-day examination. So, this training is not easy at all.
In the USA, there are several medically-associated veterinary specialties including:

  • Nutrition (ACVN)
  • Dentistry (ADVC)
  • Ophthalmology (DAVCO)
  • Behavior (DACVB)
  • Anesthesiology and Analgesia (DACVA)
  • Veterinary practitioners (DABVP)
  • Pathology (DACVP)
  • Surgery (DACVS)
  • Radiology (DACVR)
  • Emergency critical care(DAVECC)
  • Neurology (DACVIM Neurology)
  • Dermatology (DACVD)
  • Wildlife/Zoo (DACZM)
  • Cardiology (DACVIM Cardiology)
  • Internal Medicine (DACVIM Internal Medicine)

Recently, other less vigorous specialties have emerged. While this may indicate a worrying trend, it is imperative to note that some pet treatment procedures may not require specialized training. For instance, a routine examination may not require specific training e.g. publications. Even so, it is imperative to seek advice on how to find the best pet specialist, especially when in doubt or when treating complications that require specialized training.

Specialists deal with complicated health cases such as, when the pet is critically sick, when advanced procedures have to be done like total hip adjustment or when an ultrasound of the heart has to be done. When a pet is suffering from advanced kidney failure, consultation with an internal medicine expert is advisable. On the other hand, emergency critical care specialists respond to cases of an urgent situation. Additional information relating with veterinary specialists can be found on AVMA American Board of veterinary specialties website.

SOURCE: Pet Health Network, AVMA
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