A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian that has undergone additional training and certification to become an expert in their discipline. This includes a post-doctorate internship (oftentimes multiple internships), completion of a three-year residency, publication of research in a scientific journal, and passing a rigorous, comprehensive board exam on all elements of veterinary surgery. Even after board certification, veterinary specialists regularly attend continuing education courses to stay current on all the latest surgical advancements, technologies, and groundbreaking studies.
Board-certified veterinary specialists exist for a variety of specialties including surgery, cardiology, oncology, internal medicine, neurology, critical care, radiology, sports medicine, and more. Similar to how a human primary care doctor may refer a patient to a surgeon for an orthopedic injury or a cardiologist for a heart murmur, veterinary medicine works the same way. Not all pet owners are aware of the wide range of options for specialty care, so it’s important to get your primary veterinarian’s recommendation on referral. Modern veterinary medicine incorporates a multifaceted approach to treatment through the benefit of referrals to specialists so that your pet has access to the best medical care and cutting-edge technology.