WHAT MAKES OUR VETS SO SPECIAL?
Most of our vets are either qualified specialists in their field of expertise, such as neurology, or are undertaking further training to become specialists. Our vets are highly experienced individuals and most have spent time in general practice before embarking on their journey to become either a European or American Specialist. The only difference between being a European or American Specialist is the vet has followed a European programme or an American programme, but the resulting qualification is fundamentally the same.
In order to achieve specialist status, vets have to complete a one year rotating internship in a university or specialist referral clinic, such as the AHT, after which they can apply for a European or American approved residency in their chosen discipline.
Residencies generally last for three years (and are also offered at the AHT) during which time the resident must complete a published project from their own clinical research and sit final exams. Only then if they pass the exams are they awarded Specialist status.
We have at least one European or American specialist working within each of our disciplines: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Anaesthesia and Diagnostic Imaging.
Then, after five years working in their chosen discipline as a specialist, they can apply to become a Royal College Specialist (RCVS). To be granted this - the highest veterinary specialist status - their application must be supported by two references from peers in their specialist discipline and the RCVS must be satisfied that they have made an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim and publish widely in their field.
This is the highest qualification a vet can achieve in his or her field of expertise and involves a great deal of hard work, time and commitment. Reaching this level of specialist accreditation takes at least seven years, after initially qualifying as a veterinary surgeon.
At the AHT we currently have eleven Royal College Specialists, and 17 European and American Specialists, working in our Small Animal Centre as well as several residents working towards specialist status which make up our highly skilled and passionate team of vets.