Veterinary specialists are veterinarians who have advanced training in various veterinary medical and surgical disciplines and are board certified. To become board certified, a veterinarian must have completed, at a minimum, four years of veterinary college, 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 veterinarian 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 primary care veterinarian. If an animal develops a problem or illness requiring advanced care and procedures, your primary care veterinarian or emergency room veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary specialist. Veterinary specialists work closely with animal owners, as well as the primary care veterinarian, to coordinate the best quality of care.