Most of the time, your vet will be able to successfully diagnose and treat your Westie for whatever
ails him or her. However, there may be times when the problem is rare/unusual/complex, and you
may need the services of a board certified veterinary specialist.
There are approximately 65,000 licensed veterinarians in the U.S. today, and about 10% of them
are board certified veterinary specialists in 20 different veterinary specialties. To become a board
certified specialist, the vet must usually complete several years of residency in their specialty and
pass a rigorous examination by the board certifying organization (like the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists, or the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, etc.).
There are 20 veterinary specialties, but we will be concerned here with only the major specialties affecting canines:
Emergency and Critical Care: www.acvecc.org/members.php?mode=state&pos=2
Internal Medicine: www.acvim.org/Specialist/Search.aspx
Specialists here are divided into several sub-categories:
"Truman at the Lake" by Allison Platt.