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What Is A Diplomate?

A Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (DACVAA) is a board-certified specialist in anesthesia and analgesia.

A veterinary anesthesiologist’s role in patient care extends beyond simply prescribing anesthetic drugs. Prior to anesthesia, a diplomate evaluates the animal’s physical condition and any disease that may negatively impact the animal’s response to anesthesia. They may prescribe (or guide) treatment to help stabilize the patient and to increase peri-anesthetic safety of the patient. Additionally, they manage all aspects of peri-procedural pain, monitor, diagnose, and treat anesthetic-related complications that may arise and keep a legal record of the same. In addition to expertise in managing acute pain, many veterinary anesthesiologists can also make educated recommendations and/or provide treatment for chronic pain. They also provide consultation for veterinarians, who are not experts in anesthesia, regarding anesthesia or analgesia care of individual patients.

How To Become A Diplomate

In order to become an ACVAA diplomate, an individual must possess a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM/VMD or foreign equivalent) degree, have completed a 12 month general internship or equivalent training, completed training in an approved ACVAA residency program in the field of anesthesia and analgesia, and have passed the ACVAA certifying examination.

The ACVAA residency program consists of 3 years of intensive training in anesthesia and analgesia under the direct supervision of diplomates of the ACVAA. Near or at the completion of these 3 years, a resident submits credentials for approval in order to be allowed to take the ACVAA board certification examination. This three day examination is a rigorous test in all aspects of veterinary anesthesia and analgesia, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology of anesthetic drugs, anesthesia equipment, and specific management of veterinary species, including wild, zoo, companion, and food and fiber animal species. After successfully passing this examination, a veterinarian becomes a diplomate of the ACVAA and is considered a board certified veterinary specialist in anesthesia and analgesia.