FAQs

What is the ACVIM?

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through education, training and certification of specialists in veterinary internal medicine, discovery and dissemination of new medical knowledge, and increasing public awareness of advances in veterinary medical care.

The ACVIM is the international certifying organization for veterinary specialists in cardiology, large animal internal medicine, neurology, oncology and small animal internal medicine.

As a non-profit organization, the ACVIM promotes and fosters scientific and professional activities that lead to better care for both animals and humans through:

  • education, training and certification of specialists in veterinary internal medicine (ACVIM Diplomates);
  • discovery and dissemination of new medical knowledge; and
  • increasing public awareness of advances in veterinary medical care

Who are ACVIM members?

ACVIM has more than 2,300 active members, called ACVIM Diplomates, who are Board-certified Veterinary Specialists. ACVIM Diplomates treat many different species, ranging from dogs and cats to horses and cattle.

What is a Veterinary Specialist? How are they different from a family veterinarian?

In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, Board-certified Veterinary Specialists are similar to their human medical counterparts in that they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a Board-certified Veterinary Specialist must pass rigorous examinations to achieve Board certification from the ACVIM. Specialists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, or neurology, and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, or rare in both large and small animals.

What specialties are included in the ACVIM?

  • Cardiologists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases of the heart and lungs.  More...
  • Large Animal Internists focus on treating diseases of the internal systems in horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs.  More...
  • Neurologists focus on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.  More...
  • Oncologists focus on diagnosing and managing cancer, no matter the location of the tumor.  More...
  • Small Animal Internists focus on treating diseases of the internal systems in dogs and cats.  Where the diagnosis is known, an Internist may confirm the diagnosis and treatment, providing peace of mind.  If a diagnosis is proving elusive or therapy is not proving effective, the Internist may be better able to find the diagnosis or adjust treatment plans to get the animal back to health.  More... 

When should an animal owner request a referral to an ACVIM Board-certified Veterinary Specialist?

The ACVIM encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their family veterinarian whenever possible.
  This ensures the proper transfer of medical information and is beneficial to the animal and the Veterinary Specialist and will help your companion receive the best care possible.  Animal owners should request a referral when:

  • The animal's disease is uncommon, complicated, or undiagnosed after standard testing.
  • They would like an informed, neutral second opinion on your animal's condition.
  • The outcomes of the current treatments are not going well or as expected.
  • The animal requires a sophisticated procedure that is offered by a specialty hospital.
  • The animal can benefit from 24-hour monitoring provided by a referral hospital.

How do I find an ACVIM Board-certified Veterinary Specialist?

Please click here to locate an ACVIM Board-certified Veterinary Specialist in your area.