In South Africa, veterinary specialists have to register with the South African Veterinary Council. The council will only recognize vets as specialists if they have completed a residency training program, usually at Onderstepoort. This involves at least 3 years' practical training (seeing complex cases and doing complex procedures under the guidance of a specialist), completing extensive coursework, furthering veterinary knowledge in the particular field by completing original research, reporting on that research at international conferences and in scientific journals as well as writing it up into a master's thesis - and then passing both theory and practical examinations.

 

What is Internal Medicine?

Veterinary internal medicine encompasses approximately what a physician would do in hospital.

Medicine specialists could be likened to the detectives of the veterinary world - they figure out complex conditions based on the clues from the animal's history, prior response to treatment and a variety of test results. They diagnose and treat diseases of all organ systems and are probably best defined by what they don't do - surgery.

This means that diseases typically treated with surgery alone, like orthopaedic conditions, do not fall within their field of expertise (see our list of services for further details).