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How do I know if my pet should be seen by a specialist?

As in human medicine, there are many surgeries animals undergo that benefit from the attention of a specialist. Your pet is dependent upon you to locate a veterinarian with sufficient experience and training to perform the necessary surgical treatments recommended to ensure your pet recovers fully.

Often, that means locating a board certified specialist who can both adequately diagnose your pet and has performed numerous such surgeries with past success.

At VOSM, we have on staff specialists who are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR), and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

When locating a veterinarian to oversee your pet's treatment (surgical or non-surgical), be sure to ask the following questions:

  • How often does the veterinarian perform this type of surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is it available?
  • Does the surgery require a specialist?
  • What is the expected outcome of the surgery?
  • What follow-up care is necessary?
  • What is a Board Certified Specialist?

ACVS Diplomates have been board certified in veterinary surgery. Only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements of the ACVS are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and have earned the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery.

Veterinarians wishing to become ACVS board certified must complete a three-year residency program, meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research and have their research published. This process is supervised by current ACVS Diplomates, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit for and pass a rigorous examination. Only then does the veterinarian earn the title of ACVS Diplomate.

ACVSMR Diplomates have been board certified in canine or equine sports medicine and rehabilitation. As with the ACVS, only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements, following one of three primary paths to eligibility, can sit for the ACVSMR two-part examination. They must pass the examination to earn the title of ACVSMR Diplomate.

ACVIM Diplomates have been board certified in veterinary internal medicine, with sub-specialties in cardiology, large animal internal medicine, small animal internal medicine, neurology or oncology. The College requires an approved residency program be completed before sitting for a rigorous examination. The candidate must register the residency program and pass the examination to earn the title of ACVIM Diplomate.


How do I find the right specialist?

No matter what type of surgery your pet needs, it's important to choose a surgeon with sufficient experience who, ideally, further sub-specializes in that procedure. There's no magic number of years or procedures that defines sufficient experience, but you should feel comfortable with your decision. It's helpful to ask the surgeon if they perform the procedure frequently or only occasionally, and when they last performed that procedure. If you need lumbar back surgery, for example, you likely wouldn't choose a surgeon proficient at removing gallbladders. Similarly, your pet's surgeon should be considered an expert in the recommended procedure.


Do I need a referral from my primary vet to come to VOSM?

At VOSM, we do not require a referral from your primary care veterinarian, though often our clients come to us following a visit to their vet. Other times, our clients refer friends and family to VOSM for specialist care.

It is imperative, however, that your primary care veterinary practitioner is kept informed from diagnosis to recovery. VOSM communicates directly with primary care veterinarians to provide a complete written report regarding your pet's care and medical management.


How soon can my pet be seen by a VOSM surgeon?

Depending on the severity of the condition, we may recommend more immediate treatment (eg. fracture repair) and can accommodate consultations that lead directly into surgical correction, if warranted. We will do our best to accommodate your pet as soon as possible. Because we are sub-specialized, there may be a delay between initial consultation and surgery, but we consistently arrange earlier appointments via cancellation lists and in emergency situations.


How can I manage my pet's pain while waiting to see the surgeon?

We at VOSM are firm believers in controlling and minimizing patient pain as much as possible. Pain management is an integral part of treatment before and after, or instead of, a surgical procedure. Pain management options vary based on the size of your pet, severity of the condition and owner and/or veterinarian preference. At your initial appointment, we are happy to make medication recommendations for you to discuss with your primary care veterinarian.


How much will my pet's surgery cost?

The cost of your pet's surgery is dependent on several factors: the type of surgery, the extent of the condition and the implants and/or necessary specialized medical equipment needed. We have established flat rates for almost every procedure and provided detailed estimates for review prior to the procedure. Additionally, we accept all credit cards and recommend you establish an account with Care Credit, a third-party credit provider.


What post-surgical results can I expect with my pet?

Because we sub-specialize in orthopedics, rehabilitation therapy and sports medicine, as well as neurology and regenerative medicine, we have seen tremendous success with our patients. Many of our patients have returned to full function and gone on to compete regionally or nationally in performance sports. At the same time, we have seen household pets return to a better quality of life following years of pain and discomfort.


What will happen during my discharge?

Discharge Appointment FAQs.


How does VOSM work with Sporting Dogs?

At VOSM, it's not uncommon for our patients to compete in regional, and sometimes national, performance competitions. We work with elite and amateur canine athletes who spend their weekends competing in field trial, agility, Frisbee, dock diving and flyball competitions, among many others.

Several of our practitioners are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and, as such, have been trained to treat the conditions your canine athlete faces.

We're proud to say that our patients often not just return to full function after treatment, but go on to earn top placements in those same regional and national competitions.

If you've noticed any performance issues, subtle or otherwise, with your canine athlete, we recommend coming to VOSM for an orthopedic consultation.

Contact us to speak with a staff member.

If you're traveling a distance to get here, as many of our canine athletes and their owners do, we'll do our best to facilitate a same-day or next-day surgery, when necessary and when our availability permits.


How does VOSM work with Household Dogs?

At VOSM, more than 75 percent of our clients consider their dogs to be companion animals. Whether playing fetch in the backyard or hiking through the trails of the Appalachian Mountains, our patients want to be active and free to run.

We make that happen for them.

Our practitioners understand the common conditions, both traumatic and chronic, found in companion dogs. They understand that just because your pet may not be gearing up for a competition or a day working on the force, doesn't mean they aren't anxious to feel better and return to an active lifestyle.

Our companion animal patients range in age from a few months to 12+ years. We're able to provide these dogs with solutions that fit their age, their activity level and their owners' hopes for the future. That might mean opting for a pain management solution to osteoarthritis for an older dog or deciding whether a new puppy is too young to be a surgical candidate.

It means hearing your needs, understanding the situation, and meeting your expectations.

Want to know more? Contact us to speak with a staff member.

If you are traveling a distance to get to VOSM, and think your pet might be a surgical candidate, we can schedule your appointment with that in mind so you'll be able to have a same-day or next-day surgery, if our availability and the situation permits.


How does VOSM work with Working Dogs?

At VOSM, because of our close proximity to Washington, DC, it's not uncommon for our practitioners to diagnose and treat K-9 unit dogs, narcotics and explosive detection dogs, and task force dogs.

We've treated canines working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local and region police departments.

In addition, we treat therapy dogs, medical alert dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, and disaster relief dogs.

We understand the potential for injury and need to heal fully and quickly with each occupation.

We're proud to say that our patients often not just return to full function after treatment, but go on to contribute to their communities' needs in meaningful ways for years to come.

If you have noticed any concerns, such as pain and inflammation or limping and off-loading, we recommend coming to VOSM for an orthopedic consultation.

Contact us to speak with a staff member.

If you are traveling a distance to get to VOSM, and think your pet might be a surgical candidate, we can schedule your appointment with that in mind so you'll be able to have a same-day or next-day surgery, if our availability and the situation permits.

Contact Us

Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group

Location

10975 Guilford Rd, Ste B Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM to 6 PM
Sat: 8:30 AM to 4 PM