ACVIM: Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) 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, nutrition, oncology and small animal internal medicine. 

As a not-for-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 
  • Increasing public awareness of advances in veterinary medical care 

In 1973, the ACVIM received probationary approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The ACVIM's Constitution and Bylaws were approved during the AVMA convention in Philadelphia that same year. Full recognition of the ACVIM by the AVMA was achieved in 1980.  The ACVIM is overseen by a Board of Regents.

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 three to five years training). In addition to this extensive training, a Board-Certified Veterinary Specialist must pass rigorous examinations to achieve Board-Certification from the ACVIM. The ACVIM specialists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, neurology or nutrition and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, or rare in both large and small animals. 

Cardiologists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases of the heart and lungs.

Large Animal Internists focus on treating diseases of the internal systems in horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs.

Neurologists focus on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.  

Nutritionists focus on nutritional management and treating nutrition-based health conditions in animals. 

Oncologists focus on diagnosing and managing cancer, no matter the location of the tumor.

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.

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.

If you believe your animal would benefit from a visit to a Board-Certified Veterinary Specialist, you are encouraged to work with your family veterinarian to complete a referral. You may also search our online database for a Specialist in your area. 

Find out more information on the ACVIM's privacy policy and terms of use.


The ACVIM has more than 3,800 active members, called ACVIM Diplomates, who are Board-certified in one or more of the six ACVIM specialties: Cardiology, Large Animal Internal Medicine, Neurology, Nutrition, Oncology and Small Animal Internal Medicine. You can learn more about ACVIM Diplomates and the work they do here >>

ACVIM Diplomates are part of an elite group of dedicated, Board-certified veterinary specialists leading the way in specialty veterinary medicine. As an ACVIM Diplomate, not only are you a part of the largest veterinary specialty organization in the world, you also have access to exclusive members-only benefits that connect you with colleagues, advance your education, and allow you to make an impact. Learn more >>

Please contact the ACVIM at or call 303.231.9933 | 800.245.9081 (USA and Canada).

The dues year begins in late October/early November each year. Notices will be sent via email to the email address you have listed within your ACVIM Diplomate Dashboard. 

Options for renewal:

    You may pay your dues online by logging into your ACVIM Diplomate Dashboard and selecting "My Invoices".
    Call the ACVIM office at 303.231.9933 to pay over the phone with a credit card.
    You can print an invoice if you wish to pay via check. Please mail checks to:
    The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
    Dept. V1551
    P.O. Box 30106
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

Note that dues payments may be deductible on federal income tax returns as business expenses, but are not deductible as charitable contributions.

Please reach out to with any questions regarding renewing your membership.

It's is never too early or too late to begin volunteering with the ACVIM by serving on one of our many committees. Learn more about the ACVIM's volunteer opportunities here >>


How do I access the JVIM?

The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (JVIM) is an online, open access format. Articles submitted to the JVIM which are accepted for publication benefit from this open access model, taking readership to a global audience. All JVIM articles published from 1997 through present are immediately free to read, download and share. Access the JVIM

I am unable to access the online JVIM.

  • Close your browser application and then reopen it.
  • Delete your browsing history and cookies from your website browser.
  • Get browser help using the Wiley InterScience Online Self Help tool. 

How do I receive content alerts when new articles are published?

Sign up for content alerts on the ACVIM website. 

I signed up for content alerts but am not receiving them.

Email the editorial office with the email address you want alerts delivered to and we will have publisher update the address. 

I’d like to get permission to reproduce JVIM content.

Detailed information on permissions and reuse for authors and the public, is available on the JVIM Online website.  All articles on the JVIM Online website have a “Request Permissions” link. 

Where can I find guidelines for article submission?

Please read our author guidelines available at the following locations.

•  ScholarOne Manuscripts. Under Instructions & Forms in upper right corner. There you will find Author Guidelines.
•  Wiley Online Library 

I am unable to access ScholarOne Manuscripts. 

Our apologies. The system might be down for maintenance. Check the JVIM submission website for notices. 

My Login ID to ScholarOne Manuscripts is not valid.

Contact the JVIM  editorial office for help in resolving this issue.

My password for ScholarOne Manuscripts is not valid.

Go to the JVIM  submission website  and use the “Reset Password” function.

I have questions regarding the Article Publication Charge (APC)

Once acceptance has been confirmed with publisher, the corresponding author will receive an email from Wiley Author Customer Service to register for Author Services (if you have not already done so) where you can track your article progress and make payment arrangements. You may then opt to pay directly by credit card or request an invoice/proforma be sent to your preferred billing address. Contact Wiley Author Customer Service at for more information.

What is the Article Publication Charge?

Information available at the following locations.

How is the Article Publication Charge (APC) subsidy determined for ACVIM members?

JVIM APC Subsidy Flow Chart  

I have questions regarding Open Access copyright.

Contact Wiley Author Customer Service for more information.

Is it possible to request a decision on a manuscript needed by a certain date?

We are unable to accelerate the review process. Our average time from submission to acceptance last year was 5.7 months.

I have questions regarding a deadline extension

Contact the JVIM  editorial office with the requested date and reason for extension.

I’m experiencing problems uploading my document/figure

Contact the JVIM  editorial office with the document/figure and we will upload/resolve issues for you. 

I have a concern about an article proof

Contact the JVIM  editorial office and we will help with resolution of the situation. 

How do I access ACVIM Consensus Statements?

Go to the Consensus Statement section of the JVIM Online website.

Where can I find Research Abstracts (current and past years)?

Research Abstracts are published in the ACVIM Forum Proceedings and in the JVIM. For Research Abstracts published in the JVIM, go to the JVIM Online website

Where can I find Research Reports?

Research Reports are published in the ACVIM Forum Proceedings and in the JVIM from 2014 onwards. For Research Reports published in the JVIM, go to the JVIM Online website

What is the word length requirement for submission of Research Abstracts? 

The word limit is 250 including abstract subheadings. Please review the guidelines available for the current ACVIM Forum

How do I get a certificate for being a Research Abstract presenter?

We do not provide certificates for abstract presenters. We will create a letter explaining that your abstract was accepted and presented at the ACVIM Forum. Please  contact us if you want this letter. 

How can I access ACVIM Forum Proceedings?

Online Proceedings from 2002 through the current year are located on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) website. For more information contact VIN at (800) 700-4636 (M-F 8:00 am-5:00 pm PT) or email VIN

ACVIM Diplomate online access: Contact VIN to request a login ID and password. 

ACVIM Forum attendee online access: You can only access the year you attended the ACVIM Forum. Contact VIN to request login ID and password for year you attended.

I would like to purchase individual session notes.

Curran Associates has hard copies of Proceedings from 2009 to present. Contact Curran Associates for purchase information.

I would like to purchase Forum Proceedings.

Curran Associates has hard copies of Proceedings from 2009 to present. Contact Curran Associates for purchase information.  

I can’t find specific session notes in the published Proceedings

It’s likely that the presenter did not submit them. We can only give you contact information that is freely available to the public. If you can not find publicly available contact information please  let us know as we may be able to provide a contact method to ask the speaker to contact you.  

What is your policy on the re-use of Notes, Research Abstracts, and Research Reports?

You can print or copy the notes/research abstracts/research reports, or pass them along. You can not use them for commercial purposes without the consent of the author, or in the case of the research reports or research abstracts, permission from the publisher.

ACE (Advanced Continuing Education) Courses

ACE courses are developed for ACVIM Diplomates and candidates, as well as ECEIM, ECVIM-CA and ECVN Diplomates and candidates only. Guests or children are not permitted to attend ACE courses. 

Meeting rooms at the Viticus Center are flexible in size to accommodate large and small groups, and include a state-of-the-art surgery suite for hands-on labs. Easy access to Las Vegas from most airports and reasonable airfares make it an attractive destination for travelers all over the nation, especially during the winter months. Protocols for hands-on labs are reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Control and Use Committee (IACUC) under regulations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture at the Viticus Center. The ACVIM’s Animal Use Policy is strictly enforced at the facility. 

Be sure to check the individual course information when you register for cancellation deadlines. If you must cancel your registration, you will need to notify the ACVIM at 800.245.9081 or No refunds will be given if you cancel your registration after the deadline set forth during the registration process. If ACVIM cancels a course for any unforeseen reason, you will be notified immediately via email and will receive a full refund of your registration. 

In Person Courses:  Individual travel expenses incurred by you for the course will not be reimbursed should the ACVIM cancel the course. 

The AAVSB’s Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) program develops and applies uniform standards for veterinary medicine continuing education. The AAVSB is utilizing Racetrack® to optimize the CE tracking experience for both CE providers and the AAVSB's Member Boards.  This system allows veterinary professionals the chance to record all continuing education (CE) coursework in a single centralized database and easily communicates your CE to your credentialing agencies while also allowing those authorized agencies to retrieve your CE. We do encourage all attendees of any RACE program to create a free RACEtrack  account to track their CE here.

Maintenance of Credentials (MOC)

In February 2011, the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) mandated that all veterinary specialty organizations implement a MOC program.  The MOC requirement is necessary in order for the ACVIM to be in compliance with the ABVS requirement for re-certification, and because MOC is important to ensure public trust in the ACVIM certification process

All Diplomates boarded on or after January 1st, 2016 are required to participate in the MOC program

In 2012, a MOC Task Force took the lead in developing a program that worked best for ACVIM.  Over the course of four years, many other committees and focus groups were consulted on the process and setup of the program.

You must earn a total of 75 points toward each certification in maintenance. Points from an individual submission cannot be counted toward more than one certification.

The recertification deadline is ten years from the date of issuance for your certification.

Please view the MOC Template of Activities document that outlines how to earn points within the MOC program.

View the MOC Tutorial for a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

View the MOC Tutorial for a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

There is one Pre-approved List of Acceptable Journals - MOC list for all specialties.

Each document posted on the website in relation to the MOC program should be considered a working document which will be updated annually as needed.

Potentially, when an activity is submitted that is not present on the template or a pre-approval list, it will be sent to the Specialty Maintenance of Credentials Committee (SMOCC) for review. These submissions may be approved or denied at the discretion of the SMOCC.

No, points can only be applied to the 10-year re-certification period in which they are earned.

Yes, all five specialties (Cardiology, Large Animal Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology and Small Animal Internal Medicine) Diplomates are required to participate.

Yes, you must participate in MOC for each Board-certification earned on or after January 1, 2016.

Your Diplomate certificate becomes inactive and you will no longer be recognized Diplomate by the ACVIM. Individuals who lose diplomate status can regain their credentials by either

  1. retaking the certification examination at the next available date, or
  2. making up the missing points plus a penalty of 30 points.

Each year that passes without the individual attaining the point goal, 7.5 points will be added to the necessary point total. After 5 years, the individual will no longer be given the option of making up points and must take the certification examination to regain Diplomate status.

You are required to earn 75 points every 10 years, until you no longer wish to be considered an active ACVIM Diplomate; you will also receive a new, time-stamped Diplomate Certificate, and expire at the end of each 10-year re-certification period.

No, points can only be applied to the 10-year re-certification period in which they are earned 

All MOC activities must pertain to the specialty in which you are maintaining your credentials.

Yes, please submit all MOC documentation through the online portal IMMEDIATELY and email to inform the office that the documents will be forthcoming.

No, all Diplomates who were Board-certified on or after January 1, 2016 are required to participate in MOC.

Any Diplomate Board-certified prior to January 1, 2016 may voluntarily participate in the MOC program.  Please contact for additional information and guidance through this process.

Once a Diplomate has volunteered to participate in the program, there is not an option to opt-out at a later date.

There are several implications to losing Diplomate status, including; 1) you will no longer be able to be involved, at any level, in a Residency Training Program; 2) you will not be eligible for Diplomate pricing at the Annual ACVIM Forum or AVCIM Continuing Education events; 3) you will be removed from all applicable ACVIM 360 Communities (listserve); 4) you will be ineligible to volunteer for any committees; 5) you can no longer represent yourself as a Board-certified specialist; 6) you will no longer be listed on search tool for animal owners.

Extensions may be approved if deemed appropriate by the SMOCC. MOC participants who apply for an extension will be required to provide documented proof that an extension is warranted. If an extension is sought for greater than one year, ACVIM disability must be applied for and granted.  To pursue any of these options please contact for additional information and guidance through the request process.

If a SMOCC has made the decision to reject an activity submission, you may appeal that decision as defined in section 4.I.1 of the Certification Manual within 30 calendar days of receipt of the decision being appealed.

An audit process is currently being defined and this section will be updated once a determination has been made.

“R” stands for Rejected meaning the activity submission did not meet the requirements or insufficient documentation was provided; “A” stands for Approved meaning the activity submission has been included in your count of total points: “H” stands for Hold meaning that the activity submission did not fall into any of the pre-approved categories and is being reviewed by the SMOCC.

Completed activities that meet all of the criteria listed in the Template of Activities are approved. Completed activities that are not listed or do not meet the criteria of the template will be reviewed by the appropriate SMOCC.

Yes, those participating in the program may also serve on the committee.  If there are instances of conflict of interest, the committee member will need to recuse themself of review of their own activity/document submission for non-pre-approved documents.

All items that do not fall into any of the pre-approved categories are reviewed on a quarterly basis; January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st. The SMOCC has one month to review the submissions and your transcript will be updated accordingly once review is complete.

ACVIM recognizes the potential impact to MOC due to the cancellation of numerous in-person Specialty level meetings, including the 2020 ACVIM Forum. Point value for MOC Template Activity 1.3 (Attendance of on-line webinars) is increased to ½ point per CE hour to help offset any negative effect COVID-19 has had on MOC. There will not be a MOC-Neutral year or a MOC grace year.

All questions should be directed to

Exam Redevelopment

On the applicable Candidate pages of the ACVIM website.

Note: You must be logged into the website to access both Candidate & Diplomate pages.

On the applicable Candidate pages of the ACVIM website.

Note: You must be logged into the website to access both Candidate & Diplomate pages.

When we use the term “restructure,” we are speaking of two related activities. First, all JTAs have been thoroughly updated, meaning that the domains (i.e., category areas) and weightings on the exams have been adjusted to reflect the most current input of practicing Diplomates. Then, as a result, the exams were redesigned to adjust the number of items (i.e., questions), length of test, and item types that maximize a candidate’s ability to demonstrate the knowledge required to be a boarded specialist.

    A compensatory scored exam has one cut score; a Candidate can "compensate" for lower performance in one area with higher performance in another area. A conjunctive scored exam has a separate cut score for each section; multiple cut scores removes the capability for performance in one area to compensate for performance in another area.

      • General Exam (LAIM/SAIM Combined) – 1 section (compensatory); 150 pts
      • Cardiology – 1 section (compensatory); 300 pts
      • LAIM – 1 section (compensatory); 200 pts
      • Neurology – 3 sections (conjunctive); 250 pts
      • Nutrition – 2 sections (conjunctive); 100 pts MCQ, Case Study pts TBD
      • Oncology – 1 section (compensatory); 250 pts
      • SAIM – 1 section (compensatory); 200 pts

      Yes, once exam forms are finalized by the Form Review Committee, additional information regarding item types will be shared with Candidates. 

      Starting in 2025, all Candidates (both new and retake) will take the newly designed exams.

      Standard setting is the process by which cut scores are determined.  A cut score is the lowest possible score or scores a test taker needs to achieve to pass a given exam.

      A common misconception is that a “standard” cut score is assigned to all assessments (e.g., 75%), but that is not the case. Each assessment (particularly those with high stakes) has a unique cut score that is not determined by a single individual but is instead determined with groups of subject-matter experts and facilitated by assessment development professionals.  Assessment experts are schooled in various types of standard setting processes and work with clients to determine the best process to apply.

      Regardless of the methodology chosen, standard setting processes typically use a standard setting panel comprised of subject-matter experts in the area being assessed. After establishing expectations about the given subject or occupation, the standard setting panel determines the difficulty level for each item and recommends the cut score for the exam. In most assessment areas, newly established cut scores are psychometrically evaluated with live test data before finalizing to ensure the fairness and validity of the cut score, to minimize measurement error, and to reduce the possibility of passing someone who isn’t truly qualified or failing someone who is qualified.

      The ACVIM uses the Modified-Angoff standard setting method. Modified-Angoff uses a group of subject matter experts (SMEs) to judge how difficult each item is on an exam to determine the cut score. The cut score represents Candidate performance on the exam required to pass. Those Candidates at or above the cut score pass, those below fail.

      Equating is a statistical procedure that adjusts for differences in test difficulty so that scores from different test forms are comparable. The main objective in this procedure is to control statistically for difficulty differences so that the cut score remains consistent with the standard used for passing candidates on the standard setting examination.  Examinations that are either more difficult or easier than the examination upon which the standard and the cut score were established will have the cut score adjusted up or down.  

      ACVIM Board-certified Diplomates participated in the JTA and assessment design processes. The group was assembled after sending a general call for volunteers and reaching out directly to SMEs who had previously indicated interest in volunteering. Assessment Design groups consisted of a representative from the BOR, Certification Council, JTA and/or Test Spec Task forces, and a newly boarded Diplomate.

      For any Job Task Analysis, a minimum of eight subject matter experts is typically required to ensure a diversity of experience and perspective. For the ACVIM exams (General & Specialty), more than 40 Diplomates participated across three task forces to create surveys, analyze data, and design the final structure of each exam. Additionally, all Diplomates were asked to complete the JTA survey for the applicable Specialty and General Exams.

      The development of each future ACVIM exam will include a minimum of 30, and up to 50 SMEs.

      New items are routinely added to exams. The ABVS requires updates to JTAs every ten years at a minimum, although that frequency can be adjusted based on significant changes in practice or other factors. We expect to conduct new JTAs every 6-7 years. The intent is that regular JTAs, coupled with routine question turnover and small incremental changes over time will minimize the need for another comprehensive exam redevelopment undertaking in the future.  

      Fellowship Program

      All applications are created, submitted, reviewed, and approved through the online application. Click here to be taken to the.

      When you reach the page click the "+" in the upper right corner to start an application.

      Please see the Guidelines and Procedures document by clicking here

      Online application can be submitted at any time, however, applications are only reviewed twice a year. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis. Please contact if you are seeking an off-cycle review.   

      Fellowships will be offered in a myriad of topics as determined by the specific Program Director and/or Institution. 

      Yes, both universities and private practices are eligible to provide Fellowship level training as outlined in any approved applications.

      Institutions are responsible for providing salary and research support (if applicable) for each Fellow Candidate. Institutional support may be sourced from a third-party industry partner or grant funding, but this must be disclosed within the application. Conversations surrounding compensation will need to be conducted by the Program Director and the Fellow Candidate.

      Time commitments will solely be up to the discretion of the institution and Fellow Candidate. These factors will be evaluated by the Fellowship Committee during the program's application review in determining whether the expected time commitment and duration will achieve the defined learning objectives.

      An Approved Program must be a minimum of one year in duration. Some disciplines that are broader in scope may require a longer duration. The duration of the Approved Program is at the discretion of the training institution. The Fellowship Committee will determine during application review whether the duration and scope are consistent with the postnominal designation and consistent with the intent and learning objectives.

      Programs that have topics that can overlap with other specialty colleges’ educational content, but have a major internal medicine component, are suitable for an ACVIM approved program.  Examples include hematology (which overlaps with ACVP), neurosurgery (which overlaps with ACVS), and clinical immunology (which overlaps with many specialty colleges).  Programs that have content for which the majority of learning objectives and training are best suited to other specialty colleges will be initially directed to the appropriate specialty college. 

      Review of the primary training institution’s Approved Program(s) will occur at an interval determined by the Fellowship Committee (TBD), taking into account when substantive changes occur, so as to ensure the minimum standards are met.  It is the responsibility of the Approved Program to notify the Fellowship Committee when substantive changes have occurred in their program.

      There is an opportunity for Fellowship to be completed in a virtual or remote setting. Programs seeking this option will be reviewed by the Fellowship committee and approved on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of training undertaken within the Fellowship and how they will maintain appropriate educational and learning standards and must demonstrate how this approach will achieve the defined learning objectives.

      The approved program will solely determine selection of the applicant.  ACVIM board certification must be achieved before the FACVIM credential is awarded, and only individuals that complete an approved program are eligible for the designation of FACVIM.  However, a Fellowship candidate can enter an approved program after completion of a residency or specialty training program before they are a Diplomate.

      Admission of individuals from another specialty college (RSVO) or international specialty organization is at the discretion of the Approved Program. However, those individuals that complete an Approved Program that are Diplomates of another specialty college or international specialty organization (and not an ACVIM Diplomate) cannot use the postnominal FACVIM to avoid confusion as to the level of training/achievement in an ACVIM specialty. However, any non-ACVIM Diplomate that completes an approved program may state that on their CV as having completed a Fellowship at that the particular institution.

      Yes. All Approved Programs Must Comply with the ACVIM Policy for the Humane Treatment of Animals.  This can be found in the Guidelines and Procedures document by clicking here.

      Having a joint Residency and Fellowship program is something the Fellowship Committee will consider on a case-by-case basis, but decisions will have to be made in conjunction with the appropriate Residency Training Committee. Please keep in mind that no aspect of the candidate’s residency can be applied toward the requirements of fellowship training.

      No, there is not. Perhaps in the future once the Fellowship program is more established this will become an option. In the interim, candidates can view the list of approved Fellowships and reach out to the Program Director directly. Programs are solely responsible for the selection of the Fellowship candidates. 

      There will be a limited period after initiation/adoption of the ACVIM’s Fellowship Program (now underway), until the end of 2025. To be eligible for this distinction, individuals must have completed their program during or after January 2017. The process for this approval will be defined soon.

      No, a Fellowship in Neurosurgery would not replace the Neurology Certificate and are seen as complementary training opportunities. 

      This is still being discussed by the Fellowship Committee and will be communicated once a decision has been made. 

      Your Program Director must inform ACVIM within 30 days after the start date of the Approved Program in writing with the dates of the program, name of training Fellow and the signature of both Program Director and training Fellow to

      No, examinations will not be a part of the Fellowship program. 

      No, there will not be a MOC for Fellowships. However, once the individual is awarded the title of Fellow, they must maintain their Diplomate status to continue their status as a Fellow. Diplomates are required to participate in the MOC program and must obtain recertification in their specialty to maintain their Fellowship status.

      Please contact for any additional inquiries.
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