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All pet owners know that choosing the right veterinarian is imperative for the well-being of their beloved pet.

Veterinarians are medical professionals who diagnose, treat and prescribe for disease, pain or injury to animals. They also control and prevent the transmission of animal diseases (“zoonoses”) to people, and advise owners on proper care of pets and livestock.

Board of Registration of Veterinarians

The Division of Professional Licensure’s Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine licenses individuals who have received a doctor’s degree in veterinary medicine from an approved school, and who have passed both national exams and the state’s jurisprudence exam.

Choosing a Veterinarian

Selecting a veterinarian for your pet is a personal choice, like selecting your family physician or dentist. Consider what is important to you. Location? Convenient hours of service? Friendliness and service commitment of doctors and staff? Fees?

In selecting a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and with whom you can establish a long-term relationship. It’s important to find a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the type of pet you have (or will be getting) and who is willing and able to answer your questions about your pet and its health.

Your veterinarian will maintain a history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc. So, it’s important to see your veterinarian regularly for all of your pet’s healthcare needs. Your veterinarian will know the best preventive and critical care to provide with your pet’s individual healthcare needs in mind.

How to look for a veterinarian

  • Animal-owning friends are a good source of information. Ask them what they like about their veterinarian. But remember, their ideal choice may not be yours.
  • If you have a specific breed of dog, cat or bird, breed clubs can be a good source of information.
  • Trade associations such as the American Association of Veterinary State Boards; American Veterinary Medical Association; and Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Do an internet search for veterinarians in your area. Schedule a visit to meet the veterinarians who have been recommended and to discuss your pet and your expectations. You may wish to visit several practices before you make a decision.


Need to file a complaint?

While the majority of licensees conduct themselves as true professionals, the Division of Professional Licensure does take action against those who fail to maintain acceptable standards of competence and integrity.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.


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