Veterinarians Can Now Become Board-Certified in Shelter Medicine


As of this year, a veterinary specialty in shelter medicine is fully recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. A veterinarian who is board-certified in shelter medicine must complete a residency that typically lasts 3 years (or work directly in shelter medicine for a minimum of 6 years). She or he must also submit a credentials packet that includes multiple case reports and research papers and then sit for a qualifying exam.

Areas in which a board-certified shelter medicine vet must have advanced understanding include the design of shelters; infectious diseases (animals housed together in large facilities are at risk for passing contagious diseases to each other); population management for companion animals; and animal behavior — a critical aspect of shelter medicine since so many cats that come into shelters have been mistreated or neglected and have behavioral issues as a result.

Board certification in shelter medicine is the latest veterinary specialty to receive full approval. There are more than 40 recognized specialties, including dentistry, dermatology, ophthalmology, nutrition, and emergency and critical care.


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