Veterinary specialists are Vets who have advanced training in various veterinary medical and surgical disciplines and are board certified. To become board certified, a Vet must have completed, at a minimum, five years of University to gain their Vet degree, 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 Vet must pass a series of rigorous examinations.
Like most health care fields, the veterinary profession has become multi-tiered. Most conditions that develop in our animals are first evaluated by a first opinion Vet, such as the Vet team at our clinics. If an animal develops a problem or illness requiring advanced care and procedures, your first opinion Vet, or an out of hours emergency Vet, may refer you to a Veterinary Specialist. Veterinary specialists work closely with animal owners, as well as the first opinion Vet, to coordinate the best quality of care.
The Vet team at our out of hours emergency centre (SLEVC = South London Emergency Vet Clinic) are not specialists, but experienced first opinion Vets in emergency care. They have the same equipment as a first opinion Vet Clinic (Xrays, ultrasound, blood tests, surgical theatre) and may also take the decision to advise referral of an animal under their care to a Veterinary Specialist for the same reasons as above.
Most specialists work at large hospitals or referral centers; therefore, in addition to having advanced training, they also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and support staff that may not be available to your first opinion Vet. At the same time, they may be able to coordinate treatment with other veterinary specialists to ensure that the highest quality of care is available for each of the animal’s medical or surgical ailments.
Along with seeing cases within their home hospital or institution, veterinary specialists are leading the way for the veterinary community in research and clinical trials to pioneer new diagnostic and treatment options for animals. At the forefront of research breakthroughs, specialists serve as conduits to improve the veterinary community’s quality of medicine by teaching veterinary students, speaking at continuing education events, publishing peer reviewed articles, research abstracts and review articles, as well as consulting with general practitioners one-on-one for individual case management. Veterinary specialists are highly trained veterinarians that are an important member of your animal’s health care team. Veterinary specialists offer expertise that ensures the best possible outcome for the animal and animal owner.