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What is a veterinary behaviorist?

What is a veterinary behaviorist?
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For The Public

Why Should You Seek Help from a Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorist?

Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Behavior (DACVB) are veterinarians who are specialists in the field. These specialists have completed a residency or training program in the discipline of veterinary behavioral medicine. As part of this program they have studied topics including: sociobiology; psychology of learning; behavioral genetics; behavioral physiology; psychopharmacology; ethology; and behavioral endocrinology.

Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have both the medical and behavioral knowledge to evaluate cases to determine if there is a medical component.  Additionally, specialists determine which medication(s), if any, would be most appropriate as part of an integrated treatment program that includes behavioral modification plans appropriate to the individual patient. Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have the skills and knowledge to take detailed behavioral and medical histories, weed out irrelevant information, and base the treatment plan on the pertinent behavioral and medical information. This ability to take a good history and to ascertain relevant facts is essential and is often overlooked as a necessary skill when working with behavior problems.

These facts help differentiate how our specialists are different from trainers and others that call themselves “behaviorists”.  The investment spent by having an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist often outweighs the time and money spent seeking help from other people.

All standards and procedures of ACVB are approved by the American Board of Veterinary Specialists (ABVS) which is an organization within the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Professional conduct standards are set by both the AVMA and the ABVS, as are requirements for training programs. Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine are also held accountable to local and state laws of veterinary practice.

If you are looking for a trainer to help you train your dog to in basic obedience, etc., please click here for How to select a trainer – A guide for owners

Please click here for AVMA’s Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership

For more information, please feel free to contact us.