Specialty Practices Are Now Part of Veterinary Medicine

Article excerpt

Have you had the opportunity to see a veterinary specialist in a discipline that your general practice veterinarian thought appropriate for your pet's case? The last time I wrote on this subject, there were not any advanced degree veterinary specialists on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at that time (2002), but we now have a few established. In larger cities and in conjunction with veterinary schools, there are many specialists to help pets in many medical disciplines. Today I'll share a bit about what veterinary specialists do.

It was not but three or four decades ago that veterinary schools graduated everyone with a general veterinary degree which meant that such a veterinarian was fit to practice once they passed their national and state boards. As times have changed, veterinary institutions began to offer more, like residency and internship programs for post-graduate students. Specialty areas of study now include cardiology, surgery, internal medicine and dermatology, neurology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, oncology, dentistry and others that are developing.

These specialties have their own diplomate statuses, much like in the human medical fields, so that standards are maintained in these prestigious groups.

Here in Mississippi, at Mississippi State University a dual- degree program has been developed to assist in a specialty degree for herd health management in large animals. Contrary to the four- year conventional general veterinary curriculum, this five-year program grants a DVM graduate degree along with a Masters of Veterinary Science with an emphasis on Production Medicine.

To accommodate the demanding course load in MSU's unique program, junior students rotate through clinical blocks during their summer and fall semesters and seniors complete regular clinical rotations during their interim summer. …