Have you ever noticed the abbreviation after your veterinarian’s name? The abbreviation may vary from doctor to doctor, depending upon the training and skill level your veterinarian has achieved.
Following is an explanation of the various credentials our team may carry as published by the American Animal Hospital Association:
DVM – This degree stands for doctor of veterinary medicine. Veterinarians with DVM degrees have graduated from United States veterinary schools and earned a doctorate, which is required to practice veterinary medicine. According the AAHA, most veterinarians in the United States are DVMs.
VMD – This is a doctoral degree similar to the DVM, but it comes specifically from the University of Pennsylvania. This university calls its degree a veterinary medical doctorate and abbreviates it as such.
In the United States, four years of undergraduate school plus four years of veterinary school is required for both the DVM and VMD credentials. In addition, the person must pass national and state boards to in order to practice. It’s interesting to note that in Europe, students attend veterinary school for five years right out of high school.
Technician – You may have noticed that the veterinary technicians have credentials after their names, such as CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician), and LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician). These initials signify that the technician has earned a degree from an accredited veterinary technician school and has been trained to properly care for your pet while assisting the veterinarians in a multitude of tasks.
There is another credential called Diplomate that helps define those veterinarians who choose to do more extensive work in a specialized field such as scientific research. They might also become certified by a specialty board. Look for diplomate status by the abbreviation dipl. and the name of the organization (dipl. ABVP) or with the capital letter D before the name of the organization (DABVP). If your pet has a complicated or difficult health problem, your veterinarian may refer you to a diplomate of one of several organizations, such as ACVIM-American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. This college includes veterinarians in the specialties of internal medicine, cardiology, neurology, and oncology.
We hope this goes some way in your better understanding of your veterinarian team.
Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital