what is a specialist?

Within the past three decades, new knowledge, instrumentation, and techniques in veterinary medicine have made it possible for the specialist to receive advanced training in his or her particular field of interest. The specialist, as an extension of the primary care veterinarian, is now available to help provide optimal and the most advanced patient care. 

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 knowledge and skills in that specialty area. Veterinarians can be specialists in dermatology, surgery, internal medicine, and many more areas. The specialty organizations are referred to as "Colleges," but they're not schools or universities.

how does a specialist differ from my family practitioner? 

Our specialists' expertise complements that of your referring veterinarian. You may be referred to one of our specialists if diagnosing or treating your pet's health problem requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your veterinarian does not have.

How does one become a specialist?

Becoming a board-certified veterinary specialist is an incredible achievement for our specialists, and many of them regard it as one of the most challenging tasks they've undertaken. To become a board certified specialist, our veterinarians had to: 

  • Complete both an internship, and then a residency in their respective specialty.
  • Publish papers with leading Journals within their specialty.
  • Submit case-logs of challenging specialty cases to their respective Colleges. 
  • Take a comprehensive specialty examination, referred to as a "board exam" administered by their College. 
  • Attend continuing education conferences that are held by their College each year.