The Veterinary Specialist

Today’s pet in our society has access to the whole range of healthcare options.

We can now access technology that we once dreamt of. So what does this all mean for your pet, to have at our disposal X-rays, CT, MRIs, cataract removal, hearts surgery and more?

The veterinarian currently will study a five year university degree full-time and graduate able to perform medicine and surgery on your pets.  But to call yourself a specialist requires a higher degree of training, and a higher standard of expectation from the public.

The aspiring veterinary specialists must undertake a three or four year residency training course under the supervision of a registered specialist. During this training process they are expected to publish scientific articles that demonstrate a higher degree of knowledge to their specialty. At the end of the training process the residents then have to sit a series of examinations to demonstrate the level of expertise. Once they have achieved all the benchmarks set down by the overseeing body, the candidate is then granted the qualification of specialists.

Today the veterinarian can specialise in a whole range of fields, both in the small animal or companion animal sector, as well as the large and production animal areas. So your general practice veterinarian may refer your dog to an ophthalmologists for cataract removal and lens replacement! Or your pet that has a heart condition can be sent to a cardiologist who can assess the severity of the condition, diagnose underlying causes and institute the best possible treatment plan to help your family friend. Valuable racehorses or thoroughbred breeding mares that suffer colic or lameness conditions now have access to specialist equine surgeons in a number of settings across the country.

Animals now have access to specialists in the fields of medicine, surgery, dermatology, behaviour, ophthalmology, feline medicine, cardiology, dentistry, and many more. At the moment, specialists are often concentrated in major capital cities to be available to the wider population. However as a realisation of their work and the value they bring to the human animal bond expands we expect to see specialists being available in a wider variety of settings. The use of technology in all its power and interactivity means that we can now access specialists radiologists across the world to help out the difficult cases when our local specialists may not be available, for instance in emergency or after hours critical cases.

We’re very lucky to exist in a society that has so many benefits across a wide range of settings, and we are lucky that we can access a whole range of specialists to help us and pet owners provide the best possible care available to our furry family members.