What is a Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon? 

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who has successfully passed a 4-year post-graduate training in all disciplines (soft tissue, orthopedic and neurosurgery) of veterinary surgery. A rigorous examination process that takes place over several days follows this training. The training, examination and certification is governed by The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status is a Diplomate of the ACVS.

Diplomate status means the specialist has achieved the following:

  • Obtained a degree in veterinary medicine
  • Completed a one year general medicine internship
  • Completed advanced training in a three year surgery residency program at a veterinary teaching hospital or private specialty hospital
  • Published his research project in a recognized veterinary journal

The ACVS supervises and regulates residency programs to achieve the highest quality of surgery training. This level of oversight guarantees that veterinarians in these programs have trained with some of the best surgeons in the field.

Services Offered


  • Limb Amputation
  • Bone Biopsies


  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
  • Explorative Laparotomy And Organ Biopsies
  • Esophageal And Gastrointestinal Foreign Body Removal
  • Portosystemic Shunt Surgery
  • Perineal Hernia Repair
  • Organ Biopsies
  • Tumor Resection
  • Reconstructive Skin Surgeries (Including Skin Grafts To Cover Large Wounds)
  • Ventral Bulla Osteotomy
  • Airway Surgeries (Including Correction Of Upper Airway Obstruction)
  • Total Ear Canal Ablation
  • Open Thorax Surgery And Thoracoscopic Surgery
  • Organ Biopsies
  • Urinary Tract Surgery
  • Correction Of Brachycephalic Syndrome (Upper Airway Obstruction)
  • Correction Of Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Tracheal Collapse Surgery Including Internal Stenting Or External Ring Placement
Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

Many owners are increasingly seeking specialized care for their pets, just as they do with other family members, in order to secure the very best outcome. If your pet is facing surgery, here are some questions you may wish to ask your family veterinarian:

  • How often have you performed this type of surgery?
  • Does the surgery require any special equipment?
  • Is it available?
  • Does my pet's surgery require a specialist?
  • What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?
  • What follow up care is necessary?

Source: The American College of Veterinary Surgeons

What Additional Training Does A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon Have?

Veterinarians who want to become board certified in small animal surgery must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVS,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVS. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:

  • Obtained a degree in veterinary medicine from a university certified by the American Veterinary Medical Association following completion of undergraduate requirements.
  • Completed a one year general internship, plus an additional three to four years of advanced training in a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best surgeons in the field and obtained hands on experience. Surgery residents also have to complete a case log in soft tissue, orthopedic, and neurologic surgery.
  • Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVS, including publication of research results.
  • Passed a rigorous examination.
  • After completing and passing all of these rigorous requirements, the veterinarian is then recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary surgery. When your pet needs the care of a veterinary surgeon, years of additional training and education will be focused on helping him or her to recover from injury or illness and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.
What are Common Referral Veterinary Surgeries?
  • Tumor removal
  • Limb amputation
  • Cruciate ligament repair (TPLO's and other traditional methods)
  • Hip replacement
  • Surgical repair of elbow dysplasia
  • Spinal problems/herniated discs
  • Gastric dilatation/volvulus
  • Wound management and skin reconstruction
  • Congenital defects
  • Urinary obstructions
  • Cancer Surgeries

Cancer does appear to be becoming more common in both dogs and cats, most likely because they are simply living longer. However, early detection and specialized care are leading to increased survival and cure rates in almost all the types of cancers that afflict pets. From surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy, veterinary cancer specialists can offer your pet the very latest diagnostic and treatment options and the best chance of survival. With optimal treatment, cancer in many cases simply becomes another manageable chronic disease.

Surgery is one of the most common treatment options for pets with cancer, and can lead to enhanced survival times and better quality of life for many affected pets. Your veterinary surgeon will work closely with your general practitioner or veterinary oncologist to ensure your pet is getting the very best care.


What are the most common Orthopedic Surgeries?

Three orthopedic surgeries that are commonly performed in pets are triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), total hip replacement (THR), and cruciate ligament repair (TPLO).

In the TPO procedure, the bones of the pelvis are cut apart and rotated to more correct positions. In THR procedures, a dog's diseased hip joints are replaced with prosthetic ones. TPO's and THR's are two commonly used surgical techniques for the treatment of canine hip dysplasia (CHD), an inherited and potentially painful disease that affects the hip joints of millions of dogs. Cruciate ligament disease can occur in both dogs and cats, who usually tear or rupture this ligament while exercising, playing, or simply landing incorrectly after a jump. The ligament will not heal without surgery. Surgery helps to stabilize the pet's knee joint and prevent further wear on the joint and associated structures. An increasingly common surgical technique to correct this situation is called the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy or TPLO.

Will My Pet Be in Pain?

Surgery is a major medical procedure and is often associated with pain in both animals and humans. You can be assured that your veterinary team (your pet's family veterinarian, veterinary surgeon, and any other veterinary specialists involved in your pet's care) will prescribe pain management options to help keep your pet as comfortable as possible before, during, and after surgery. If you are concerned about pain management for your pet, simply ask your veterinarian.

Our Surgery Team

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