Q. My cat has started seeing a new doctor at the clinic I take her to, but I noticed on her diploma hanging on the wall that she is a VMD instead of a DVM. Does that mean she is not actually a veterinarian?
Dear Mr McCarthy,
A. VMD is a veterinarian, just like a DVM — same training, same tests. The designation of VMD just means the vet graduated from the University of Pennsylvania instead of one of the other 31 veterinary schools around the country. DVM stands for “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine,” while VMD is from the Latin Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris.
The reason for the difference has to do with the origin of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It started as the veterinary department of the medical school for people. As the medical school awarded the Medicinae Doctoris (MD) degree to graduating physicians, it was consistent to use a similar Latin format for the veterinary degree.