Shelter Vets Now Considered a Veterinary Specialty.

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We are very pleased to announce that the American Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board has voted to approve provisional recognition for a board specialty in Shelter Medicine. This is an important, exciting milestone in animal sheltering and veterinary medicine.  Recognizing veterinarians with additional training, skill, and experience in Shelter Medicine will create a pool of experts who can serve as practitioners, educators, researchers, and consultants. It will also promote research and excellence in the field, thus expanding the knowledge base, which will ultimately result in increased animal welfare and better service to sheltered animals.

The process of establishing this specialty has been the result of significant effort and a lengthy process that stretches back almost 10 years. Work began in 2005 when the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) formed a task force to explore the development of a specialty in shelter medicine. After several years of continued work a decision was made to pursue development of a shelter medicine specialty under the auspices of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). In 2012, the ABVP’s Council of Regents accepted the petition and forwarded it to the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS). As per their protocol, the complete petition was posted and comments were solicited regarding how recognition of shelter medicine as a specialty would fill a distinct need in veterinary medicine; the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive! The ABVS voted to recommend provisional recognition of Shelter Medicine Practice at their meeting in February with the final vote by the AVMA Executive Board coming this past weekend.

A complete timeline of the process as well as the full petition are available through the ASV website if you are interested in reading about this is greater detail ( Credentialing applications will be accepted this year and the first certification exam will be offered in November 2015, with the first board certified specialists being recognized in early 2016. NYSAPF board members Dr. Stephanie Janeczko and Dr. Kathy Makolinski are members of the organizing committee.  If you have any any questions or would like more information about the specialty please contact the ASV at We hope you are as excited by this development as we are!