ECVS for Animal Owners

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Our Mission

Our mission is to provide the highest possible standards of surgical care for animals, by:

Training Veterinary Surgeons to become experts in their field (“specialists”) 01
Ensuring that they keep up to date to maintain their specialist status 02
Maintaining these standards across the whole of Europe 03

Why consult a Veterinary Specialist?

As is the case in human medicine, the veterinary profession around the world has become multi-tiered in an attempt to provide improved and affordable health care for animals. Veterinarians can specialise in a variety of disciplines such as: surgery, internal medicine, radiology, anaesthesiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, oncology, neurology, emergency and critical care medicine, sports medicine and rehabilitation. In addition, veterinary specialists will typically have an animal species or animal group that is the focus of their specialist activity. These specialties are recognised by the European Board of Veterinary Specialists (EBVS) and the EBVS maintains a register of recognised veterinary specialists in Europe.

What is a specialist veterinary surgeon in Europe?

The EBVS recognizes 27 specialist veterinary colleges and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS) is one of these. A member of the ECVS will have completed a standard Veterinary degree and will have undertaken a minimum of four years of “postgraduate” training; at least one year as an “intern” (or an equivalent period of experience) and at least three years in a surgery specific “residency” training programme. The post graduate training requirements defined by the ECVS (and endorsed by the EBVS), are designed to ensure the standards of; surgical competence, scientific rigour and professionalism expected of specialist surgeons. The training milestones are monitored and approved by the ECVS “Credentials Committee”.

The ECVS also designs and delivers a certifying examination that acts as a final endorsement of the acquisition of sufficient knowledge, problem solving skills and clinical decision making skills expected of a specialist surgeon. All European veterinary specialists must recertify every 5 years and thus demonstrate that they remain “current” with the profession and their specialist discipline and, therefore, that they still satisfy the criteria for specialist status.

Why might you seek a specialist veterinary surgeon?

Animal ownership is a privilege and owners are obliged, under law, to make provision for the health and welfare of animals they own. Your local veterinarian is a very knowledgeable and skilled individual who is trained and legally permitted to perform many procedures. In addition, they can assist owners with decisions about the level of healthcare that best fits their animal and their resources. Many conditions are better managed by a specialist, if resources permit; and some can only be managed by a team with specialist expertise and equipment. Owners and local vets should seek out a specialist surgical team to manage conditions that require such advanced care. European College of Veterinary Surgeons certified surgical specialists are able to provide this care through advanced training, specialty equipment, highly trained specialty nursing and technician teams and through collaboration with other veterinary specialists within their hospital/clinic.


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