What Makes a Veterinarian a Specialist?

A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed a comprehensive examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area.

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Education & Training

veterinary specialist education and training

The education and training to become a veterinary specialist is rigorous and while there are slight variations for each discipline, it typically includes:

  • 4 years of undergraduate school
  • 4 years of veterinary school
  • A 1-year internship
  • A 2- to 3-year residency in a chosen specialty

After completing these 11 to 12 years of education and training, the doctor must then conduct and publish original research, and sit for a national exam known as “boards.” After successfully passing the exam, the specialist is awarded Diplomate status, which signifies their advanced expertise in their chosen specialty. Only those that have successfully completed these requirements are able to call themselves specialists.

Partners In Your Pet's Health

Just as in human medicine, the specialist's expertise complements that of your primary care veterinarian. You may be referred to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet's health problem requires specialized equipment and/or advanced expertise beyond that of your primary care veterinarian.

At Powers Pet Emergency and Specialty, our specialty vets and staff work closely with you and your primary care veterinarian to provide the best-possible care for your pet. Because we’re all on the same team—yours.

We are here to help, don’t hesitate to call us at (719) 473-0482.

About Our Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO: a dog getting an exam