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Canine Cardiologists

The most appropriate person to oversee the care of your animal is always your usual veterinary surgeon. They will be familiar with your pet's medical history, and will be best placed to monitor the results of treatment.

However, as in human medicine, some veterinary surgeons decide to specialise in certain areas of care, such as cardiology.

In some cases, your vet may decide to refer your pet to such a specialist for advanced treatment or a second opinion. There are three levels of specialism in this field, which are detailed below.

Feel free to discuss the option of a second opinion or a referral with your veterinary surgeon.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Certificate Holder

This is the first level of qualification. It shows that the holder is "a competent clinician who has proved his/her experience and expertise in cardiology by examination". They will have needed to show at least two years experience during which at least 10% of their work will have involved the treatment of cardiovascular cases. Look for the letters CertSAC (Small Animal Cardiology) or CertVC (Veterinary Cardiology) after your vet's name.

RCVS Diploma Holder

This is the second level of qualification. The letters DVC after your vet's name denote this level of qualification. The holder is a competent clinician who has proved their experience and expertise by examination in veterinary cardiology. The diploma holder will have devoted their whole time to the study and practice of veterinary cardiology, in order to meet the requirements and to gain the substantial experience needed.

RCVS Specialist in Cardiology

RCVS Recognised Specialist status is not easily achieved. To be included on the List of Recognised Specialists, an individual must have achieved a postgraduate qualification at least at Diploma level, and must additionally satisfy the RCVS that they make an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim and publish widely in their field. A Recognised Specialist must also be available for referral by other veterinary colleagues. A Recognised Specialist must reapply for recognition every five years to maintain their name on the List.


Further information about veterinarians holding advanced qualifications is available from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website: www.rcvs.org.uk.

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