Veterinary Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Board-Certified Surgeon? I thought that all vets did surgery.

    An ACVS Diplomate is a veterinarian who has undergone additional training after veterinary school and has been certified as a specialist in surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Diplomates of the ACVS are often referred to as board-certified surgeons. Learn more about training to become a board-certified veterinary surgeon.
  2. When would I need to consult a board-certified surgeon?

    Routine procedures like spays and neuters (small animals) and castrations (large animals) can generally be performed by your primary care veterinarian. Referral to a board-certified surgeon may be recommended by your primary care veterinarian for:

    • Advanced procedures or those not performed commonly
    • Procedures requiring specialized equipment
    • Procedures requiring intensive monitoring
    • Procedures carrying more risk to the life of your pet

  3. Why can’t I find my veterinary surgeon on this website?

    Here are several possible reasons:

    • Some board certified surgeons request that their information not be posted online. If your surgeon says he/she is board certified but does not appear on our website, you may contact the ACVS office to verify their certification.
    • It is possible that he/she is board certified, but in a specialty other than veterinary surgery. View a list of veterinary specialty organizations that are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
    • If they are in a surgical residency program, but have not completed the ACVS residency requirements, or have not passed the ACVS Certification Examination they are not considered Diplomates, and are not listed in the find a specialist search.

    If you are unsure if your veterinarian is board certified or which specialty organization he/she is certified by, contact their practice to find out.

  4. How can I find out if a veterinary surgeon is board certified?

    You can use the search box on the right to find a board certified veterinary surgeon.
  5. When I search for a surgeon no matches are found. Why?

    Changing your search query may provide better results. Try the following changes:

    • Try a broader search; searching by state and species will give the best results
    • Try entering only the last name
    • Make sure to scroll down to see all of the results

  6. Is financial aid available for surgical procedures?

    Financial aid is available in select cases, but it’s very hard to come by. The demand is much greater than the available funding. For suggestions and ideas visit the Humane Society.
  7. Would a university perform the surgery for free or at a discount?

    Surgeries done for research still require funding and this funding is limited. Because of this, research projects tend to focus on very specific conditions or types of surgery as opposed to more general surgeries. Typically universities have little trouble finding the animals needed for their studies, so the likelihood of them needing additional animals is small.


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