What is a specialist?
Veterinary specialists are veterinarians who have advanced training in various veterinary medical and surgical disciplines and are board certified. To become board certified, a veterinarian must have completed, at a minimum, four years of veterinary college, a one-year internship or equivalent, and two to three years in a residency program that meets the standards of a recognized specialty college or board. There are additional training and caseload requirements that must be met during the residency and finally, the veterinarian must pass a series of rigorous examinations.
What is a board-certified veterinary internist?
A veterinary internal medicine specialist is a veterinarian who has completed advanced training in internal medicine (including an internship and residency) following graduation from their veterinary college. In human medicine, internists are often considered to be primary care providers; however, in veterinary medicine, they are considered specialists.
After graduation with a veterinary degree, internal medicine specialists complete a one-year small animal rotating internship, continuing to hone the clinical skills they developed in veterinary school. After successfully finishing an internship, these specialists must next complete a small animal medicine residency. This three-year program is an intensive graduate clinical training program intended to improve procedural skills, establish productive clinical research and refine their approach to diagnostic and therapeutic plans. The residency training culminates with a comprehensive examination covering all aspects of veterinary small animal internal medicine. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, the veterinarian is considered to be a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
The umbrella of small animal internal medicine includes many sub disciplines, including gastroenterology (esophageal, stomach and intestinal disease), hepatology (liver and pancreatic disease), endocrinology (hormonal disease), infectious diseases, urology (urinary tract disease), nephrology (kidney disease), respiratory medicine (nose, airway and lung disease), and hematology & immunology (blood cell and immune-disease). In many cases, the signs of a patient may include many of these organ systems. Due to their holistic approach, internal medicine specialists may also manage cases of patients with neurologic, cardiovascular or cancerous diseases, especially when these patients also share diseases within the scope of internal medicine.
What is a board-certified veterinary emergency and critical care specialist?
A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their skills in that specialty area. A veterinary emergency and critical care specialist is dedicated to dealing with life-threatening emergencies as well as managing the critically ill pet. Additional training by a veterinary emergency and critical care specialist usually involves graduation from a recognized veterinary school, followed by 4 or more additional years of intense training in emergency medicine and critical care. An emergency and critical care specialist’s expertise compliments that of your primary veterinarian. You may be referred to an emergency and critical care specialist if your veterinarian determines that your pet requires specialized equipment and/or expertise. This is similar to when your family doctor refers you to a specialist for further testing or treatment.
An emergency and critical care specialist is trained to provide life-saving interventions and therapy for the sick pet. This is accomplished by working with a highly trained group of people in a facility that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The emergency and critical care specialist stays in touch with your primary veterinarian while your pet is hospitalized, as well as during follow up appointments, to ensure the best team approach for your pet’s medical care. A specialist in emergency and critical care is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (DACVECC). You can find out if a veterinarian is an emergency and critical care specialist by looking on our website where all emergency and critical care specialists are listed by geographical location.