Veterinary Specialists


For many owners, veterinary specialists really are a mystery and many pet owners don’t even know they exist! However, these professionals can play a critical role in getting your pet to feeling his best. Understanding why your dog might need to visit a specialist and the distinction between specialty fields will help you make informed decisions concerning the best span of care of your dog.

What is really a veterinary specialist?

A veterinary specialist is really a veterinarian who focuses on a particular field of veterinary medicine. To become a specialist, a veterinarian often must do a residency at a veterinary university where they undergo extensive training beyond four years of veterinary school. With respect to the section of study, a residency can range 2 to 3 years. In order to be board-certified within their field, the veterinarian must pass a national exam.

Why visit a specialist?

Your veterinarian may refer you to definitely a specialist if your pet has an unresolved or worsening medical condition despite treatment, a need for around-the-clock medical supervision, or perhaps a difficult case that requires more expert consideration. In the case of an urgent situation, you may decide to take your dog to a specialty 24-hour emergency clinic which means that your pup can receive immediate care.

Can I afford a professional?


Internal Medicine

Internists are often the first type of defense in additional complex cases. If an underlying disease is unknown or has not yet been diagnosed, your primary care veterinarian may refer you to an internist to do preliminary diagnostics until the underlying cause is revealed. Sometimes the internist will refer you to another specialty. Many the weather is treated by the internist themselves. Internists treat diabetes, thyroid conditions, other endocrine disorders, chronic infections, and organ diseases.

Criticalist/Emergency Care Specialist

These specialists usually work on emergency clinics, often 24-hour clinics, and supply immediate care, monitoring and life support for pets that become injured or develop a severe life-threatening disease. Critical care and emergency specialists graduate veterinary school and then continue on for a minimum of three additional many years of emergency, surgery, and critical care training. Patients of emergency specialists include animals showing signs of trauma, shock, or breathlessness and pets with life-threatening neurologic diseases.


Specializing in the heart and circulatory system, cardiologists use conditions such as congestive heart failure, heart muscle diseases, and congenital heart defects. Cardiologists use diagnostic tools for example echocardiography (ultrasound image of the center), electrocardiography (electrical readings of the heart’s rhythm), and radiography to diagnose conditions. Breeders could also work with cardiologist to perform cardiac health tests on their own breeding stock.


Neurologists concentrate on diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the nervous system. Unlike human neurologists, most veterinary neurologists can both diagnose a condition and perform the necessary surgery to deal with the disease. Most commonly, neurologists use MRIs, CT scans and spinal taps to diagnose their patients.


Concentrating on the diagnosis and management of tumors and cancers, oncologists are trained to balance management of cancer with managing symptoms and negative effects from the treatment method to help keep your pet comfortable. There two kinds of oncologists—medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Though both specialize in cancer, a medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with chemotherapy and a radiation therapist specializes in treating cancer with radiotherapy. Quite often, a radiation oncologist and medical oncologist will work together to supply probably the most comprehensive strategy to your pet.  


Veterinary dermatologists focus on diseases and conditions of the skin. They are often been trained in both internal medicine and immunology as skin diseases can occur as a result of an underlying internal disease. Dermatologists assist with many conditions for example allergies, atopic dermatitis, alopecia (hair thinning) and skin cancer.


Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat diseases and types of conditions associated with the eye. Patients with cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease, cancer of the eye, or perhaps a severe problems for the attention in many cases are known an ophthalmologist for treatment. Breeders attempting to make informed breeding decisions often consult with ophthalmologists to conduct health testing to find the best dam and sire to produce a litter.


Veterinary surgeons undergo additional training to perform advanced surgical treatments. Orthopedic surgeons focus on bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Soft tissue surgeons focus on organs, mass removal, and non-bone tissue.


Radiologists focus on performing and interpreting X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI’s, along with other specialty imaging. A radiologist serves as a consultant for your pet’s treating veterinarian to assistance with the diagnosis of your pet’s condition.


Much like humans, your pet might need to visit a dentist! Veterinarians can choose to specialize in dentistry and concentrate their attention on treating health conditions associated with your pet’s mouth. Oral and dental diseases are prevalent in companion animals, with periodontal (gum) disease being the most typical. Veterinary dental specialists handle from plaque and tartar control to elimination of oral tumors to complex tooth extractions.Preventative care can go a long way in lessening how long and cash spent having a veterinary dentist.


Anesthesiologists focus on the use of a variety of anesthetics to properly sedate your dog during surgical procedures. These specialists are educated to recognize and anticipate concerns while your dog is under anesthesia. Some people are at a higher risk when using anesthesia because of size, age, or their health, so using a skilled anesthesiologist present will assist you to lessen the chance of problems occurring. These specialists monitor breathing, heart function, and blood pressure level throughout your pet’s surgery and recovery.


Veterinarians that like additional training in the field of veterinary behavioral medicine are skilled to understand the relationship between an animal’s behavior relating to his health, experiences, and environment. Behaviorists can determine if there is a medical component that must be treated or if a problem stems from learned association, a conflict over social structure, or a neurochemical imbalance. In case your dog is affected with a behavioral condition such as separation anxiety or compulsive behaviors, the vet might point to behavioral therapy.

The Right Specialist

Your primary care veterinarian can tell you around the right specialist to visit for your pet’s condition or symptoms. Currently, you will find 22 American Veterinary Medical Association recognized veterinary specialty organizations comprised of 41 specialties. If your veterinarian refers you to a specialist or perhaps an emergency requires you to rush in to the nearest 24-hour emergency clinic, know that your dog is within expert hands!