Today we are launching a new feature focusing on the work of North-East veterinary specialists Wear Referrals.

IT’S easy to assume that when you take your pet to the vets that the nurses and surgeons treating them all have the same qualifications.

In fact, it’s much more like human health care than you might think.

All practicing vets in the UK must be a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) but their veterinary degree can be from almost anywhere in the world.

If they didn’t attend an RCVS accredited vet school, they will have taken an extra examination to prove their knowledge.

Most vets then work on the front line like a human GP, but they see lots of different species and do much more complex surgery on site.

Veterinary nurses may have been trained within a hospital (like an apprenticeship) or have a veterinary nursing degree.

They are competent in many skills, including blood sampling, placing drips and patient care.

If a vet gets extra training in a subject, then they study for a certificate by attending courses and sitting an examination.

If they want to become a top specialist (like a human consultant) then they must undertake a minimum of three years ‘residency’, working in busy expert hospitals in a specific subject, like medicine, neurology and surgery.

They publish scientific research, prove that they have treated lots of complicated cases and sit several days of intense exams.

Only about 30 per cent of specialists pass the exam first time and are then called ‘boarded Diplomates’.

These vets teach at conferences, train the next generation of ungraduated vets and specialists and treat animals at the highest standard.

Nurses also study for further difficult advanced qualifications and become specialist in medical, surgical and ICU care.

If your vet is referring you to see someone else for advanced investigations and care, you are entitled to request a specific hospital or to see a specialist.

Watch out over the next few weeks for stories from Wear Veterinary Referrals, our own specialist hospital in Teesside.