When Your Dog Needs a Veterinary Specialist

If you notice that your dog is not his usual self, it most probably needs to see the veterinarian. However, a vet can only do so much to help your dog; in this case, a veterinary specialist. A vet specialist is an individual with advanced training and experience in animals. These specialists focus all attention of a particular field of expertise like ophthalmology, surgery, cardiology, oncology, or other specialised fields related to pet care. Most pet owners are not even aware that specialists exist, thinking that all pet doctors are the same and equal. So what exactly makes a vet specialist so special?


Currently, a doctor of veterinary medicine can choose to specialize in over 40 veterinary disciplines recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Some of the more popular specialities include anaesthesiology, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, parasitology, orthopaedics and alternative medicine.

To be a veterinarian, you need to first earn an undergraduate degree, which usually will take 4 years to complete. Getting into a veterinary school can be quite competitive, and many of the applicants send their applications to several schools. Veterinary schools take an additional 4 years. After graduation, you will have to take and pass the national as well as the state board exams before you can start to practice veterinary medicine in the United States.

To be a veterinary specialist, you need to first go through more extensive training after graduating from veterinary school. Also, you need to acquire clinic experience in the area where you want to specialize in, and publish research findings or clinical case in established journals. Finally, you will have to pass a credential review with specialty board exams.

Being board-certified in a particular veterinary specialty can be achieved with a university-based residency program, or in an approved private specialty hospital. Every specialty has its own requirements. The length of time it will take to get the specialty certification also varies with every individual, but it is mostly a minimum of 2 years.


If you are looking to see vet referral specialists, your family veterinarian will usually suggest the referral to a specialist if the case of your pet is a difficult one to treat. There are practices that will only work with referrals, so cases send to an emergency vet clinic in the Delaware Valley are mostly critical and time sensitive cases. If you have a small animal hospital in your locality, it is best that you establish a relationship with specialists should you need to consult with them in the future.

Veterinary specialists and referral practices usually do not get involved with more common types of surgery for dogs like neuters and spays. They usually cater to more complex kinds of vet surgery in Central Bucks, along with more specialized procedures and illnesses. If you are concerned about the case or diagnosis of your pet, speak to your vet about the possibility of a referral to a specialist. But if you are quite uncomfortable with this, it would be best that you seek advice or second opinion of a specialist.

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