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What is a Veterinary Specialist?

All veterinary surgeons undergo a broad based training in veterinary medicine and surgery for a minimum of 5 years before qualifying. Recognised specialist veterinary surgeons must undergo extensive additional training for a minimum of 4 years and pass rigorous Diploma examinations before they can become specialists. Veterinary specialists work in much the same way as specialists or consultants in human medicine and only accept cases that are referred to them by general practitioners. Unfortunately in the UK the title of specialist is not protected and any veterinary surgeon can claim expertise in a particular field, advertise that they accept referrals and even call themselves a specialist.


In the UK the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) which is the governing body for the veterinary profession has laid down strict criteria concerning training and experience required to gain "recognised" specialist status. Recognised specialists must have appropriate postgraduate qualifications and demonstrate that they are actively involved with their discipline and up to date with recent advances. RCVS specialist status must be re-accredited every 5 years and is not easily achieved. To view the veterinary qualifications needed to be included on the list of recognised specialists visit the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


At SCVS all our clinicians have undergone extensive postgraduate training and are either recognised RCVS/European/American specialists or are in the process of obtaining advanced qualifications that will lead to specialist status in the future. Recognised specialists have much greater knowledge,  experience and expertise in their discipline than general practitioners, Certificate holders or advanced practitioners. In addition clinicians working in referral centres have access to specialised diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and facilities that are not available in general practice. As one of the few truly multidisciplinary referral centres in the UK our patients benefit from the wide spectrum of expertise offered by our team of specialists in different disciplines all under one roof.


Links This website provides information on specialist quaifications and how to find a specialists. This page also gives information on seeking a second opinion, or seeking a referral to a specialist. This website links to all th European Specialist Colleges and also list all the specialists in all the disciplines througout Europe. You can click on the links to the Specialist Colleges to find out more abouth what training European Specialists have to do to gain their diploma.






"Our 6 year old yellow Labrador is now 4 months post his second hip replacement for dysplasia at SCVS with Harry Scott and Phil Witte.  He has had a superb result in terms of complete resolution of his pain, full restoration of function with full range of motion, strength and symmetry.  The entire experience at SCVS from reception to assessment to surgery to nursing and physio was outstanding.  The professional skill, the facilities and the efficiency were fantastic.  Above all, everyone there was clearly an animal person in the way that they interacted with him.  The staff all engaged with him very personally and were happy to share information requested with us. I would highly recommend this practice to anyone with a small animal needing specialist care. It doesn’t get any better than SCVS!"

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