Choosing the Right Vet
Choosing a new vet for your animal may feel stressful. After all, you've got lots to think about! Will you like this person? Are the hospital hours compatible with your availability? In addition, beyond the day-to-day practicalities of choosing a vet, an individual vet may have a number of certifications. Each of these certifications has a different meaning. Here are a couple of the most common.
Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When seeking a new vet, confirm that the veterinarian you are considering is licensed both in your state and in the U.S. You may also want to find out if other people working at the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office to check. If you don't see the certifications hanging in the reception area, just ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine to find out more.
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).