What is a Veterinary Specialist?

The role of the veterinary specialist within the community is to be an extension of the primary care veterinarian. Referral ( or “specialty”) veterinary medicine has become the standard of care for complex medical, emergency, and surgical needs of dogs and cats in the United States. Unlike primary care veterinarians who practice general medicine, veterinary specialists dedicate their careers to a specific discipline, concentrating their efforts in a particular field.

After receiving their initial Doctorates of Veterinary Medicine, doctors must then complete additional training and requirements to become board-certified specialists. In order to achieve board-certification, specialists must:

  1. Complete, at a minimum, a one-year internship;
  2. Complete a three-year residency that meets requirements outlined by an AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)-recognized specialty college;
  3. Publish research in a scientific journal that helps advance their chosen medical discipline; and
  4. Pass a rigorous board-certification exam administered by credentialed peers.

When a veterinarian successfully accomplishes all of the above requirements, he or she is officially board-certified and considered a diplomat in his or her field.

At ASH we pride ourselves on offering exceptional medicine. In line with our mission, every specialist on our team is a board-certified diplomate.

We are the only specialty and referral hospital with board-certified specialists – or, diplomates – in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, and Emergency and Critical Care under one roof in Southwest Florida.


Diagnosing, managing, and treating heart conditions in pets.
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Surgical Services

Specializing in orthopedic, general, and oncologic surgery.
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Diagnosing and treating animal skin, ear, hair, and claw disorders.
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Physical Rehabilitation

Helping companion animals recover from neurosurgical, surgical (orthopedic), arthritic and chronically debilitating diseases and conditions.
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Internal Medicine

Focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the gastrointestinal, urogenital, endocrine, cardiac, respiratory, immune, and hematologic systems.
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Critical Care

Stabilizing critically ill and injured patients and providing advanced life support.
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