If your pet is sick, you may begin to hear about the possibility of going to a specialty vet. Just like humans have specialty doctors for certain illnesses and injuries, some vets have special training in areas of veterinary medicine, such as veterinary emergency care or treatment of cancer in a specific animal. Whether you own one of the 94 million pet cats, one of the 90 million pet dogs, or another less common house pet, below you can find more information about specialty vets and determine whether or not your pet needs one.

What is a Specialty Vet?

A specialty vet is exactly what the name suggests — a veterinarian that has chosen to specialize in a certain type of veterinary medicine. To become a specialty vet, a vet will complete their residency in the area of their specialty and gain more experience past the general education that all future vets will experience. There are many different types of specialty vets since there are many different types of animals and illnesses that they can contract. At the most basic level, any vet that specializes in a specific type of medicine is a specialty vet.

What Kind of Specialty Vets Are There?

There are many different specializations that vets have to choose from. The most basic is what kind of animals they want to practice on, whether that’s livestock, birds, or more common household pets. After that, there is an opportunity for even more specialization in their chosen field. A few of these specializations include cardiology, internal medicine, dental care, physical therapy, radiology, neurology, and critical care or veterinary emergency care. Though there are many specializations, some are more common than others, and it can be difficult at times to find vets with more specific specializations when your pet is sick.

How Do You Know It’s Time to Visit a Specialty Vet?

There are a few times when you’ll know that it’s probably best to visit a specialty vet. Here are a few of the most common reasons you may need to take your pet to a specialty vet:

Your Vet Recommends It – If you visit your vet and they recommend that your pet’s injury or illness is taken care of by a specialist, you should make sure to get your pet an appointment with one.

Your Pet Has a Chronic Illness – If your pet is suffering from a chronic illness like cancer, kidney issues, or other chronic illnesses, it’s probably a good idea to see a veterinary specialist. A specialist will know all of the up-to-date treatments available for your pet’s specific illnesses and be able to help create the best possible treatment plan.

If You Want a Second Opinion – If your vet has diagnosed your pet with an illness that may need treatment from a specialist and you aren’t sure about it, it can be a good idea to go to a specialist for their opinion. Since these specialized vets see more of a specific illness than your average vet, it can be helpful to get their opinion. If your pet does need treatment, then you’ll already have experience with this new specialty vet as well.

If you’re unsure whether or not your pet is in need of specialized care, make sure that you speak with your regular vet. They can also provide you with recommendations for the best specialist for your pet’s care. Remember that if your pet is experiencing an emergency you should contact your nearest veterinary hospital that offers veterinary emergency services for your pet.

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.