Choosing the Right Vet
It can be stressful to choose a new vet for your animal. After all, you have so many things to consider. Will you like this person? Are the hospital hours in line with your availability? In addition, beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, did you know there are a number of certifications an individual vet can hold? We'll explain the two mandatory certifications.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When looking for a vet, confirm the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in the United States, as well as in your state. You may also want to check into whether other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Stop by the vet's office to take a look around. If you aren't able to see the certifications hanging 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).