Trying to find the right veterinarian in a local area may not necessarily be a matter of just a couple of mouse clicks as you might have expected. If you’re like so many people who have had pets for a long time, you may have needed various kinds of veterinary specialists to treat different types of problems for different types of animals over the years. Meanwhile, people with new pets often are not aware that there are different kinds of vets, and you should have certain basic knowledge about vets before you select one to become the central figure of your pet’s health care team.


A DVM and VMD are the same academic degree. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is one of the two ways of expressing that title. The other way is by using the Latin translation of it, Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD). A VMD degree is currently only named as such by at least one very old university in the U.S. that started many years ago labeling its degrees with Latin titles vs. English.

6 Different Kinds of Veterinarians

How can I find the right kind of vet near me? First, think about the kind of veterinary care your pet needs and what type of provider offers it. Here are the primary types of veterinary medical providers and the specialized training they need to develop their particular medical skill sets:

Large Animal Vets

These vets treat cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other livestock animals. They’re trained specifically to meet the needs of these types of farm animals. Many go to the animal’s location to provide treatment.

Companion Animal Vets

The most common type of vet works as a general veterinary medical practitioner. Your vet is like a family doctor for pets. This type of veterinarian provides health care for dogs, cats, and other pets. Your vet can usually provide general diagnoses and medical treatments.

Exotic Animal Veterinarians

Amphibians, reptiles, birds, and other exotic animals are treated by specialists at zoos, wildlife habitats, or in facilities caring for exotic pets belonging to members of the general public. Some obtain additional training to care for exotic animals.

Mixed Practice Veterinarians

A mixed practice vet is a licensed animal health care provider who treats small and large animals, pets, and livestock. These vets are skilled in diagnosing and treating illnesses in the general range of those commonly impacting various animal species.

Veterinary Specialists

Experts in various animal care types may be oncologists, cardiologists, orthopedists, animal dentistry specialists, anesthesiologists, or one of many other veterinary specialists. They receive additional years of training in their specialty after completing veterinary school.

Laboratory Veterinarians

Veterinary pathologists and other medical specialists work in labs. They analyze and diagnose infectious diseases, do pharmaceutical research, test the production of animal feed, and perform many other kinds of veterinary research for animal welfare.

What Services Should My Vet Provide?

Look for a veterinarian who provides all the kinds of general healthcare services for your pet that will help him or her stay healthy through the years to come. Typically, most people with pets need a vet who can:

  • conduct general wellness exams, including performing blood tests and ultrasounds.
  • take X-rays, administer vaccinations, and prescribe medicines.
  • spay and neuter, clean teeth, perform other routine surgeries and stitch wounds, etc.
  • manage reproductive health and assist with difficult births.
  • possibly provide some of the many other veterinary medical services.

How Can I Find the Best Vet Near Me?

To choose the most appropriate medical care provider for your pet’s needs, you need to identify a veterinarian who can deliver all the services listed above that your pet may need. To find the right vet, you can simply check advertising for local providers and/or:

  • Ask friends and family members for recommendations.
  • Search for a vet specializing in services your pet breed is likely to need at some point.
  • Read the clinic’s website, interview the vet, and ask your general questions.
  • Identify a reasonably priced veterinary facility in your area that meets your pet’s needs.
  • Visit the facility to observe cleanliness, updated facilities, and team professionalism.

Veterinary Clinic vs. Veterinary Hospital?

Where are the emergency vets near me? First, a veterinary clinic or hospital is the same thing as an animal clinic or hospital. However, there are some differences between a clinic and a hospital that you should keep in mind.

Generally, the quality of care may be equal in your local veterinary clinics and hospitals. The differences are not about the quality of care but the range of care types available:

  • An animal or veterinary clinic is an animal health care practice that provides a more limited scope of medical services than a full-scale animal hospital.
  • A veterinary hospital offers a more expansive range of services. For example, a hospital typically has a larger team of specialists, performs more complex surgeries, has more advanced facilities, and has a wider range of advanced equipment.

For Many Other Articles About Pets

Go to the Pet Door Products blog for many excellent information articles about pets and pet care at home; see our blog at:

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