What is a Veterinary Specialist?

Both veterinary specialists and general practice veterinarians are doctors of veterinary medicine that have completed a four-year degree and passed the necessary national and state boards required for them to practice. If a veterinarian wishes to specialize in a specific field however, there are years of continued training beyond graduation from veterinary school. So what is a veterinary specialist, and what do they do exactly?

What is a Veterinary Specialist?

To become board-certified in a specialty, a veterinarian must complete a minimum of four years of veterinary college, a one-year internship or equivalent, and two to three years in a residency program that meets the standards of a recognized specialty college or board. They will then be required to pass a series of exams before becoming Diplomates of their specific specialty colleges.

What are the Specialties?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) currently recognizes 22 specialty organizations that consist of 40 specific specialties. Some of the specialty organizations include College of Veterinary Surgeons, College of Internal Medicine, Veterinary Dental College, and College of Veterinary Nutrition. Of those organizations, some of the specific specialties can include oncology, radiology, surgery, and ophthalmology.

A complete list of AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) can be found here.

What Specialties are Offered at AVES?

Arkansas Veterinary Emergency & Specialists has specialized veterinary services in the following areas: Internal Medicine, Dentistry, Surgery, Ophthalmology, and Dermatology. These departments offer the following services:

Internal Medicine

Our board-certified internist has received years of additional training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the immune, cardiovascular, pulmonary, urinary, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems. Arkansas Veterinary Emergency & Specialists’ internal medicine department offers the following services:

    • Abdominal ultrasound
    • Upper GI endoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Bronchoscopy
    • Rhinoscopy
    • Bone marrow biopsy & aspiration
    • Joint aspirates
    • CSF analysis
    • CT scan
    • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
    • Blood pressure monitoring

Pet Internal Medicine


In addition to routine periodontal cleanings, a board-certified veterinary dentist has received training in veterinary periodontics, oral surgery (extractions, biopsies, tumor removal), crown therapy, endodontics (root canals), orthodontics, and fracture repairs.

Pet Dentist


Our surgeon is trained to perform a variety of orthopedic, abdominal, and neurologic surgeries. Our most commonly performed surgeries are cruciate ligament repairs (TPLO), luxating patella repairs (MPL), hemilaminectomies, and an array of procedures that involve us going into the abdominal cavity and chest.


A board-certified ophthalmologist specializes in conditions affecting the eyes and surrounding structures. They are trained in both surgical and non-invasive techniques to restore or retain  your pet’s vision. Our ophthalmologist provides services for dogs, cats, and a variety of other species.

Pet Ophthalmologist


A dermatologist has received years of additional training in the treatment and management of skin allergies, infectious skin diseases, congenital skin diseases, hormone-related skin diseases, and more. Our dermatologist has extensive experience in the management of chronic skin and ear infections secondary to allergies. AVES offers advanced diagnostics and treatments such as intradermal (skin) allergy testing and formulation of allergen specific immunotherapy.

Want to learn more about our specialists? Click here to learn more about the AVES team!

More resources to learn about veterinary specialists:

www.vetspecialists.com – VetSpecialists.com

www.acvs.org  – American College of Veterinary Surgeons

www.acvim.org – American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

www.acvr.org – American College of Veterinary Radiology

www.acvd.org – American College of Veterinary Dentistry

www.acvo.org – American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology

www.acvd.org – American College of Veterinary Dermatology

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