Why should you contact a veterinary specialist?
Just as with human medicine, veterinary medical specialists are becoming a valuable resource in treating your pet. Your general practice veterinarian has excellent training in veterinary medicine and acts as a family practice physician to your pet. But just as with human medicine, there are occasions when your veterinarian might want assistance or suggest a referral to a specialist to better meet your pet's needs. Specialists should be board certified by the appropriate agency and are available in ophthalmology, internal medicine, surgery, pathology, oncology and radiology, cardiology, to name a few. You should not be shy about asking your general practice veterinarian for a referral to a specialist if you feel one might be helpful. Your veterinarian and the veterinary specialist will work together as a team to treat your beloved pet. 
When does your pet need a specialist?

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists members work in concert with your primary care veterinarian to provide the best eye care for your animal. There are times when your veterinarian and your animal will benefit from consultation from or referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist. Many eye diseases are time sensitive so prompt consultation or referral is often in your animal's best interest. The following are situations and questions to consider:

  • My animal's eye condition has not responded to initial therapy, rather than changing therapy should we get a second opinion from a specialist?
  • My animal's vision is deteriorating should we seek a consult with an ophthalmologist?
  • The corneal ulcer has not responded to the initial treatment rather than changing antibiotics should we seek referral to an ophthalmologist?
  • I know diabetes generally leads to cataracts.  Prior to cataracts causing complete vision loss should we get a veterinary ophthalmologist to examine my animal?
  • I am interested in breeding my dog, what can I do to ensure the eyes have no inherited ocular disease?

Why invest in a specialist?

The bond between man and man's best friend is stronger than ever, according to a survey of pet owners from the American Animal Hospital Association. It's no surprise – looking at these numbers, at least – that folks now require their pets' medical attention to be as good as their kids'.



expect a pet to come to their rescue if they were in distress



would risk their life for their pet



travel with their pet



say their pet is emotionally sensitive



say their pet enjoys watching television



visit their vets more than their own doctors



spend more on their pets now than three years ago


SOURCE: Survey of 1,238 pet owners in the United States and Canada who use AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals.

Related Information
Is my veterinarian board certified?
Dallas Morning News - Article about veterinary specialists.

Certification process of a board certified ophthalmologist.