Written by Marissa Greenberg, DVM

Most people are familiar with  the usual specialties like internal medicine, surgery,  or radiology.  But what does it mean for a veterinarian to be a boarded practitioner, a member of ABVP?  The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners is a unique specialty and can be described as being a “specialized” general practitioner.

ABVP was established in 1978 to promote excellence in general practice.  In contrast to the other specialties that focus on a specific system, ABVP promotes care of the œtotal patient.    ABVP offers certification in 8 different fields, or practice categories: avian, beef cattle,  dairy cattle, canine and feline, equine, feline, food animal, and swine health.  ABVP doesn ™t require a residency program.  Veterinarians can work towards this specialty status while in practice.  In fact, they must be in practice, working on their species of choice for at least 6 years, before certification can be pursued if a residency program was not completed.  It allows for practical, on-the-job training for the goals to be reached.

Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP

After 6 years of practice, an applicant must submit a curriculum vitae, a synopsis of their veterinary experience post-graduation, a self-report job evaluation form, 3 applicant evaluations, 2 case reports, and proof of 90 hours of Continuing Education over a 5 year period.  The application is reviewed by members of the board.  The 2 case reports are meant for the applicant to demonstrate their expertise and their high quality practice abilities, and are based on cases the applicant has seen over a 5 year period.  Once the application is approved by the board, applicants can sit for their qualifying exams.  For each specialty area (except swine) there are two exams.  The specialty exam is generally a 300 question multiple choice exam designed to test the applicant ™s knowledge in their chosen practice category.  The practical portion of the exam varies by practice category.  Both tests must be passed in order to achieve certification.  The tests for all specialty fields are given at the same time and same place each year, November in Chicago.

Marissa Greenberg, DVM

Once certified, the ABVP promotes self-improvement.  It is the only veterinary specialty that requires recertification, which is required every 10 years.  Recertification can be reached by a variety of methods, which includes published papers, Continuing Education,  and examination, amongst others.  By requiring recertification, ABVP members demonstrate that competency and quality of practice has been maintained.

ABVP describes their diplomates as œexceptionally talented veterinarians who reach beyond the expected and embrace challenges, because it is their passion.   Our own Dr. Markoff embraces this, and has been an ABVP diplomate since 1994.  She is the only ABVP diplomate between Buelton and the bay area.  Dr. Markoff will be my mentor as I embark on the road to becoming an ABVP diplomate myself.  I will be working on my case reports and hope to receive my board certification by 2015.  We ™ll keep you posted!