Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


What qualifications should I look for in a vet?

What qualifications should I look for in a vet?

Because you love your pet you want to make sure that they get the best possible veterinary care, which is why our Kinston vets are discussing the qualifications you should look for in a veterinarian.

Choosing the Right Vet

We understand how stressful it can be trying to find a veterinarian to take care of your cat or dog because there are so many things you have to take into consideration. Do the hospital hours match your availability? Do you like the person? But looking past the day-to-day practicalities of finding a vet, there are a handful of certifications an individual vet can possess. So, what do these certifications mean? Below are a few of the most common.

Mandatory U.S. Veterinary Qualifications

When you are deciding on a vet, look to see if the veterinarian you are considering is licensed to practice in the U.S. and in your state. You might also want to designate time to learn if other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Visit the vet's office and look around, if you can't find the certifications hanging in the reception area, you can ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine to get more information.

Here are the two certifications you are looking for:

DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - The first thing you need to find out is if your vet is qualified to practice in the U.S. When a person graduates from an American veterinary school they receive a DVM—Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (also known as a VMD degree). All vets practicing in the U.S. must have a DVM degree. A DVM degree means that the person you are considering is, in fact, a qualified veterinarian and is fully qualified to perform the duties of the profession.

State Veterinary Licensing - In order to practice veterinary medicine, some states also require a veterinarian to pass a state-specific examination. These exams typically test the vet's knowledge of the state's laws and regulations governing veterinary medicine. In order to maintain a state veterinary license, vets must obtain continuing education and may need to renew their license on a regular basis (often every 3 years).

Additional Veterinary Qualifications

If your cat or dog has specific health care requirements that are above and beyond the standard veterinary care, you might want to find a vet with qualifications that go above the standard DVM degree. Two of thee certifications include:

Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (DABVP) - Veterinarians that are ABVP Certified (ABVP Diplomates) start with a DVM degree then go on to obtain expertise and knowledge beyond what is needed to practice standard veterinary medicine. ABVP Diplomates take on a challenging 3-year process of additional studies and examination to become board certified specialists recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These vets have put in lots of hard work and training to specialize in the treatment of one or more categories of veterinary care.

Fear Free Certification - If your cat or dog is anxious or high-strung you might want to take the extra time to find a Fear-Free Certified vet in your area. Fear-Free certification can apply to an individual vet, another veterinary professional within the hospital, or even the hospital itself. Fear Free training teaches ways in which veterinary professionals can make pets more at ease in their offices and during their examinations and treatment. 

Vets That May Require A Referral

Veterinary Specialists - A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area. If your pet is unwell, your primary care vet might refer you to a veterinary specialist. There are 41 distinct specialties within veterinary medicine ranging from behavior to ophthalmology and dentistry to surgery. You might be referred to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet's condition requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your regular vet doesn't have. Veterinary specialists are proud to work with your primary care veterinarian to provide your furry companion with the best care possible.

Our experienced vets at Five Oaks Animal Hospital are driven to provide you with the highest quality of care available in veterinary medicine. To learn more about the qualifications of our staff and the services we offer contact us today.

Always Welcoming New Patients

Five Oaks Animal Hospital is thrilled to be accepting new patients! Our qualified vets are passionate about the health of Kinston companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (252) 686-8601