Your primary care or emergency veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary surgeon who can help your pet if it has a medical problem.
What Is A Veterinary Surgeon?
Animals need specialists just like humans. When your pet develops a medical issue or injury that requires advanced treatments and procedures, you may be sent by your primary care or emergency veterinarian to a veterinary surgeon that can help your pet.
Veterinarians can choose from a wide variety of specialties such as surgery, radiology, anesthesiology and cardiology. Specialties are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) and each specialty has its own requirements of continued training beyond veterinary school.
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) is the veterinary specialty organization that certifies veterinarians in large and small animal surgery.
A veterinarian will complete four years of undergraduate and four years of veterinary school. A veterinary surgeon will continue on in advanced training beyond veterinary school to complete a 1-year internship followed by a 3-year surgical residency program. During a residency program a veterinarian will need to complete specific training and case requirements must be met. Applicants must also perform research and have their research published in a peer reviewed journal and pass a challenging examination.
Once the applicant has completed all the requirements and passed the examination, they receive the title “Diplomate of the College of Veterinary Surgeons (DACVS)” or are referred to as a “Board certified surgeon”.