Well, the day has come that the vet that can do it all has become extinct. This is not because veterinarians do not know what to do but simply because it is too much to know and be able to manage. One would hardly expect their general practitioner to handle birthing and cancer medicine on their own person with great knowledge and skills in both specialties. The same has become of veterinary medicine
Becoming a veterinarian takes at least eight years including four years of undergraduate or bachelor’s degree of some type then veterinary school. The good news is that the new born veterinarian can practice right out of school in general veterinary medicine and surgery. However you may not get an ultrasound done with that veterinarian, nor an endoscopy or a laparoscopy. Advanced orthopedic procedures also may be out of the possibilities. To get this higher level care, the care you expect for yourself when you have a more profound health problem, you will have to seek specialists in that field.
For example, to get an in depth ultrasound of the abdomen, you will need a radiologist or an internist trained in ultrasonography. Not all residencies in internal medicine train in that skill. To get a hip replacement or a knee ligament repair, you will seek an orthopedic surgery, preferable small animal specialized because now the specialty of surgery differentiates between small and large animal specialties. If you dog seizures, you will have to seek a neurologist and if the seizure is due to cancer then a neurosurgeon is a great added skill for that board certified neurologist.
Residencies take at least 3 years and are preceded by at least one year internship. After that accomplishment the veterinarian still has to pass boards and that is not a small feat. The residencies are extremely competitive spots and not all veterinary schools offer residencies in all specialties. So you can see that when you go see a specialist, they have skills that are not run of the mill. Moreover, the equipment they need to do their job well is not cheap. Neurosurgeons and ophthalmologists need very expensive microscopes to operate and intervention medicine specialists work with implants that can run about $2000 each. MRI, CT, radiation therapy are all tools of the veterinary trade now and as you are well aware, they come at a price.
So you may want a heart catheterization, a tracheal implant, a new hip for your dog, a root canal perhaps, a laparoscopic removal of a gall bladder, a spinal surgery, a brain cancer removal, a cataract surgery, a skin problem solved, a cancer treated….for your creature, great or small. That can be done and there is likely a specialist near you that can do this.
If you would like to see what a very well equipped specialty hospital is like, come and visit us at CriticalVetCare or visit your local emergency /specialty hospital. If you are looking for a specialist, you may find out in your area by reaching the following web sites for example:
- Internal medicine, cardiology, oncolory, neurology at www.acvim.org
- Surgery at www.acvs.org
- Dermatology at www.acvd.org
- Ophthalmology at www.acvo.org
- Anesthesia at www.acva.org
- Critical care and emergency at www.acvecc.org
- And so on…
So when it comes to your four legged family members ask for the best, your vet and ask for a referral if you feel you need one. We, the specialist are keen to help you and make sure your loved one goes back to your veterinarian with a clean bill of health…hopefully.