A Cut Above

Board-certified specialists.

Certified Diplomates

Three dogs sit on rocks on the beach
Dr. Chris Glawe have been certified as Diplomates by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners specializing in Canine and Feline Practice.

The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners was established in 1978. It is one of twenty-one veterinary specialty groups accredited by a special committee of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, a division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, to recognize excellence in clinical practice through the certification of species-oriented specialists. Over 900 veterinarians worldwide are certified in one of ABVP’s ten practice categories.

ABVP requires Diplomates to recertify every ten years. This process demonstrates that Diplomates have kept up with changes and advancements in veterinary practice. ABVP is unique among veterinary specialties in that certification expires every ten years. Diplomates must take and pass a challenging examination or accumulate credits for continuing education and other professional activities in order to recertify.


Running dog, Running magyar dog, running vizsla

What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Cardiologist?

Dr. Carrie Ginieczki, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
A veterinary cardiologist is a specialist that has advanced training in the heart and circulatory system. To become a board certified veterinary cardiologist a veterinarian usually completes a one year internship followed by extensive specialized training in an approved residency training program (usually 3-5 years). Most veterinary cardiologists work with small animals; however, some specialize in large animals including horses and cattle.

Board certified veterinary cardiologists focus on diagnosing and treating disease of the heart and lungs, which include:

  • Heart muscle disease (Dilated cardiomyopathy or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
  • Age related changes to the valves of the heart (Degenerative mitral valve disease)
  • Coughing and other breathing problems
  • Congenital (present at birth) heart defects
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (problems with the rate and/or rhythm of your animal’s heart)
  • Diseases of the pericardium (sac surrounding the heart)
  • Cardiac tumors
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)
Veterinary cardiology specialists will perform a complete and thorough physical examination on your animal, and based on these initial findings, additional tests will be discussed. They will also review your animal’s past history and current medications. Depending on your animal’s condition, diagnostic testing or treatments may include:

  • Echocardiography (sonogram) – non-invasive ultrasound imaging of the heart
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) – non-invasive electrical reading of the heart’s rhythm
  • Blood pressure evaluation
  • Holter monitor – 24 hour ECG performed at home
  • Radiography (x-rays) of the chest and lungs
  • Surgical repair of congenital heart defects
  • Cardiac catheterization procedures
  • Balloon valvuloplasty to dilate narrowed valves
  • Pacemaker implantation for animals with too slow of a heart rate
  • OFA Heart Registry Certification for breeding programs
Board certified veterinary cardiologists are an integral part of your animal’s health care team from the time a potential cardiac abnormality is noted. Early diagnosis and appropriate therapy of cardiac conditions helps your animal live a longer and healthier life.

They work closely with your primary care veterinarian to ensure your animal’s optimal health. While some cardiac conditions require hospitalization, most conditions can be managed on an outpatient basis by a board certified veterinary cardiologist along with your primary care veterinarian. Many veterinary cardiology specialists practice in veterinary teaching hospitals or large referral clinics and are contributing to clinical research programs that aim to improve the cardiac health of animals. Veterinary cardiology research is essential to identify new diagnostic tests and treatments for cardiac conditions in animals and even humans.

Veterinary education is also important to the veterinary cardiologist. From training veterinary students to providing continuing education courses to veterinarians and to training future board certified cardiologists, cardiology specialists are often involved in improving veterinary knowledge and understanding of the cardiac and circulatory conditions.


The cute cat is pushing his master to hug

What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Oncologist?

Dr. Phyllis Glawe, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology)

A board-certified veterinary oncologist has completed extensive training after veterinary school that focuses in oncology (the way cancer develops and how to treat it). Most oncologists have completed 3 to 5 years of this focused training including an internship rotating through various medical and surgical specialties and a specialized residency on the subject of cancer. Throughout this training, an oncologist is required to pass comprehensive examinations and complete publication requirements to become board-certified in Medical Oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

Not all veterinarians that call themselves “specialists” have completed this training. Veterinarians that have passed these examinations and completed all requirements become Diplomates of the ACVIM. This Diplomate status indicates the board-certified specialty recognized status by the ACVIM.

Like most health care fields, the veterinary profession has become multi-tiered. Most conditions that develop in our pets are first evaluated by a primary care veterinarian. If an animal develops a problem or mass requiring advanced care and procedures, your primary care veterinarian or emergency room veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary oncologist. Veterinary oncologists work closely with the family of a pet as well as the primary care veterinarian to coordinate the best quality of care.

Most ACVIM Diplomates work at large hospital or referral centers; therefore, in addition to having advanced training in oncology, they also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and support staff that may not be available to your primary care veterinarian. At the same time, they may be able to coordinate care with a veterinary surgeon or radiation oncologist if advanced surgical procedures are indicated. Throughout the treatment for cancer, the oncologist will continue to update the primary care veterinarian with progress reports for a pet in their care. The primary care veterinarian then continues ongoing care of the animal with the oncologist.

Primary care veterinarians often build strong relationships with veterinary oncologists within their area. This allows them to contact an oncologist to discuss a case and provide coordinated care throughout treatment. At the same time, veterinary oncologists frequently offer continuing education opportunities regarding specific conditions or therapies available to help update the community with the most state-of-the-art testing and treatment available. These specialists offer expertise that ensures the best possible outcome for an individual animal and their family.

Why Seek a Veterinary Medical Oncologist?
Cancer can develop in our pets the same way it can develop in people. Our pets deserve and can receive the same caliber of care people receive through the care directed by a veterinary oncologist. However, our pets should also be able to maintain a good quality of life throughout their treatment. In fact, throughout treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, quality of life is constantly monitored and should be preserved. Care directed by a veterinary oncologist can help tailor care specifically to your pet, their condition, and their response to treatment.

Specific reasons to seek care by a veterinary oncologist include:

  • Veterinary oncologists are specially trained to balance treatment of cancer with underlying conditions while maintaining a good quality of life.
  • Veterinary oncologists are trained to detect side effects early and can adjust therapy to try to avoid their recurrence.
  • Veterinary oncologists keep up to date on the latest and greatest treatments to achieve maximum benefit with minimal effect on lifestyle.
  • Veterinary oncologists are often in the best position to be able to coordinate care with specialized veterinary surgeons and radiation oncologists.


Adorable pug and cute cat lying together on sofa

What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Radiologist?

Dr. Jennifer Grimm and Dr. Stacy Winkelman are board-certified veterinary radiologists that perform abdominal ultrasounds and interpret radiographs (X-rays) at Hampden Family Pet Hospital. Their expertise provides our patients with superior diagnostic imaging capabilities.

The American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR) was founded in 1961 to determine competence of voluntary candidates in veterinary radiology and to encourage the development of teaching personnel and training facilities in veterinary radiology. Veterinary radiology encompasses both the specialties of diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology. The ACVR is an AVMA Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois as a non-profit organization of veterinary specialists in Radiology and Radiation Oncology.

The mission of the ACVR is to enhance and promote the highest quality of service in diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology, to optimize veterinary patient care, and to advance the science of veterinary radiology and radiation oncology through research and education.

The objective of the ACVR is "the advancement of the art and science of radiology" by:

  • Protecting the public against incompetence in the practice of radiology by conducting investigations and examinations to determine the competence of voluntary candidates for certificates issued by the College.
  • Conferring certification upon candidates who have successfully demonstrated their proficiency in the field of veterinary radiology.
  • Encouraging the development of teaching personnel and training facilities in veterinary radiology.
  • Providing guidelines and approving residencies, training programs and fellowships in the field of veterinary radiology under consideration by the Council on Education of the AVMA.
  • Advising veterinarians who desire certification in the field of veterinary radiology as to the course of study and training to be pursued.


Two dogs outdoors, friendship, relationship, together

What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

Dr. Jennifer Fick, DVM, MS, DACVS
Dr. Jeremiah Moorer, DVM, MS, DACVS

Like most health care fields, the veterinary profession has become multi-tiered. Veterinarians may now specialize in various disciplines including:

  • surgery
  • internal medicine
  • radiology
  • anesthesiology
  • ophthalmology
  • dermatology
  • cardiology
  • oncology
  • neurology
  • canine and feline practice
If your animal develops a problem or injury requiring advanced care and procedures, your primary veterinarian or emergency room veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary surgeon.

Advanced Training

A veterinary surgeon has undergone additional training after veterinary school in order to become a specialist. This training consists of a minimum of a 1-year internship followed by a 3-year residency program that meets guidelines established by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).

During the residency there are specific training and caseload requirements that must be met. In addition to these requirements, applicants must perform research that is published in a scientific journal and then pass a rigorous examination.

Specialists are called a “Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons” or a “board-certified surgeon.”

Your Animal’s Healthcare Team

All veterinarians may perform surgery as part of their veterinary practice. However, difficult cases may be best managed by a specialist. Board-certified surgeons work closely with the owner and the primary veterinarian before and after surgery in a team approach to ensure continuity of care for your animal.

Most ACVS Diplomates work at large hospital or referral centers; therefore, in addition to having advanced surgical training, they also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and support staff that may not be available to your primary veterinarian.

Following surgery and any postoperative follow-up care, the primary veterinarian resumes ongoing care of the animal.

Veterinary surgeons are dedicated to providing the very best in surgical care. They also act as a resource for your primary veterinarian by providing consultations on difficult or unusual cases. With their advanced training, these specialists offer expertise that ensures the best possible outcome for the animal and animal owner.