Surgery

What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who completed an internship and residency (an additional 3-5 years of training after graduation from veterinary school) and passed a rigorous examination to achieve board certification in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). A veterinary surgeon can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases:

  • Traumatic injury and emergencies
    • fractures
    • skin wounds and lacerations
    • correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus
    • exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery
  • Orthopedic surgeries
    • total hip replacements (THRs)
    • cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs)
    • arthroscopy for joint exploration
  • Soft tissue surgeries
    • tumor/cancer removal
    • correction of congenital defects
  • Neurological surgeries
    • herniated discs and spinal injuries
  • Stem cell therapy
    • osteoarthritis and other orthopedic problems

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Surgeon?

Just as your own primary care physician may refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to specialists. Board certified veterinary surgeons also are often affiliated with referral hospitals where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services that a general practitioner may not have access to.

What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Surgeon?

Board certified veterinary surgeons can repair complex fractures, perform total hip replacements, and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. Veterinary surgeons can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly referred to board certified surgeons. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

Typically, your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet's pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team's recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.

Request an Appointment

To schedule your pet’s visit with our hospital, select Request an Appointment below. In the event of a pet medical crisis, no appointment is needed. Simply select Emergency below to view emergency information.

Request an Appointment

To schedule your pet’s visit with our hospital, select Request an Appointment below. In the event of a pet medical crisis, no appointment is needed. Simply select Emergency below to view emergency information.

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