Veterinary specialists have completed advanced training beyond veterinary school – specialist status cannot be achieved on your own as a vet in practice. Veterinary specialists have to have completed a supervised training programme known as a “residency” which takes 3 years to complete and then have successfully passed intense stringent examinations over several days, and passed other credentials including publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Claire Whitehead completed a 3-year residency in the US in large animal internal medicine and is a board-certified Large Animal Internal Medicine Diplomate with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

In addition to this, in order to become recognised as a Specialist by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the body that governs veterinarians in the UK, an individual must not only have achieved a Diploma-level qualification (such as ACVIM), but also satisfy additional requirements that they continue to make an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim and publish widely in their field. RCVS Recognised Specialists have to re-apply for recognition every 5 years in order to maintain their listing as a specialist.

By way of an example of how one might use a specialist, one would attend a regular GP as a first port of call when you are ill, but if the GP is concerned about something, they will refer you on to a specialist who knows more about a particular type of problem as they are uniquely qualified to diagnose and manage certain problems due to more extensive knowledge in that particular area. In the same way, your regular primary care veterinarian will only be able to take you so far and that may vary depending on the individual interests and training of that vet. More complicated cases can require the knowledge, skills and tools of a specialist: large animal medicine specialists have a greater understanding of internal medicine and a greater knowledge of the unusual or less common conditions affecting their species of choice.

Specialists do not replace, but rather support your primary care vet to ensure the best possible treatment and care for your animal. This can be in the form of advice or an actual referral.

Why choose us

Camelid Veterinary Services is the only veterinary practice just for camelids (mostly alpacas and llamas) in the UK. Our small,…

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What is a specialist?

Veterinary specialists have completed advanced training beyond veterinary school – specialist status cannot be achieved on your own as a…

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How do I contact you / arrange a referral?

If you have a sick animal, always the first thing you should do is contact your regular vet as they…

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What can I expect / what should I bring?

At Camelid Veterinary Services, we are committed to providing the optimal veterinary care for your alpaca or llama. On this…

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Payment & Insurance

At the initial consultation we will discuss the investigation and treatment options with you and provide you with an estimate…

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Local Places to Eat & Stay

If you need to leave your animal with us for a few hours and would like to pop out to…

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