What is a Specialist?

Your family veterinarian likely will suggest a consultation or further workup by one of our veterinary specialists in order to obtain a second opinion or more advanced diagnostic or treatment options.

A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian with advanced education and training in a specific discipline of veterinary medicine. His or her knowledge and skill in this area is evaluated and recognized by a specialty organization (college) sanctioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Why do we need veterinary specialists?

Over the past 15 years, there has been tremendous growth in the volume of new information and procedures available within the veterinary field. As a result, it is virtually impossible for any one veterinarian to be completely versed in every medical discipline.

As in human medicine, this reality has led to the development of advanced training programs in specialized areas. Until recently, only human medical facilities and university veterinary hospitals provided many of the services offered by Alpenglow Veterinary Specialty + Emergency Center (AVSEC).

How does a veterinarian become a veterinary specialist?

To become a veterinary specialist, a student must complete four years of veterinary school. Next, he or she must subsequently complete a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery, followed by a three-year residency training program in their elected discipline at an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine. Successful completion of written and practical examination by a Board of Examiners, approval of case reports, and the publication of a research article in veterinary literature are also required.

When successfully completed, the individual is referred to as a “Diplomate” in one of the 14 specialty colleges.  Specialists can now be found in veterinary colleges, industry practices, and private practices throughout the world. They perform research, teach, and provide specialized veterinary care.

Learn more about the specialty veterinarians at AVSEC by clicking the links below:

ACVIMAmerican College of
Veterinary Internal Medicine
ACVSAmerican College of
Veterinary Surgeons
American Board of
Veterinary Practitioners
ACVECCAmerican College of
Veterinary Emergency
and Critical Care