When Your Vet Needs A Specialist
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When you take your dog to a family veterinarian, there are times that the vet can only do so much to help your dog or cat. A veterinary specialist is those individuals that are your family vet’s go to person with advanced training and experience. These specialists focus all attention on a field of expertise such as surgery, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology or other specialized fields in pet care.

Many pet owners are not aware that these specialists exist, thinking that all vets are the same and equal. So what makes a veterinarian a specialist so special? Should your pet be seen by one? Read on and learn more about the doctors your family vet goes to when he or she needs help.

Currently, there are more than 40 veterinary disciplines recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association that a doctor of veterinary medicine can specialize in.. Some of the more popular specialties include anesthesiology, cardiology, neurology, parasitology, dentistry, dermatology, orthopedics, internal medicine and alternative medicine.

To become a veterinarian, you need to first earn an undergraduate degree, which usually takes four years to complete. Admission to veterinary school is quite competitive, and most of the applicants send their applications to more than two schools. Veterinary school takes an additional four years. After graduation, you will have to take and pass both national and state board exams before you can practice veterinary medicine in the United States.

To become a veterinary specialist, you need to first go through more extensive training after you have graduated from vet school. Aside from this, you need to acquire clinical experience in the area of your chosen specialty and publish research findings or a clinical case in established journals. Finally, you need to pass a credential review along with specialty board exams.

Being board-certified in a specialty can be achieved through a university-based residency program or in approved private specialty hospital. Each specialty comes with their own requirements. The length of time it takes to achieve the specialty certification also varies with each individual, but it is mostly a minimum of two years.

How does a pet owner see vet referral specialists? In most cases, your family vet will suggest the referral to a specialist if the case of your pet is a difficult one. There are practices that will only work with referrals, so the cases sent to an emergency vet clinic in the Delaware Valley are often critical, time sensitive cases. If you use a small animal hospital as your primary vet they should already have established relationships with specialists.

Veterinary specialist and referral practices mostly do not get involved with more common types of surgery for dogs such as spays and neuters. They mostly cater to more complex types of vet surgery in Central Bucks and more specialized illness and procedures.

If you are concerned about the diagnosis or case of your pet, speak to your vet about the possibility of a referral to a specialist. But if you are quite uncomfortable doing this, it would be best that you seek advice or a second opinion of a specialist.


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