Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Your cat’s veterinarian is the equivalent of your family doctor: he or she is your partner in keeping your feline family members healthy and happy. Regular annual or bi-annual veterinary exams are critical. By the time a cat shows symptoms, the disease may already be in the advanced stages, requiring more extensive, and expensive, care.

Most general practice vets will perform surgeries, ranging, depending on the vet’s experience and comfort level from spay and neuter surgeries to exploratory surgeries, foreign body removal, and wound repair. Most will also perform routine dentistries.

What do veterinary specialists do?

However, just like your family doctor won’t be able to treat every disease you might present with, general practice vets may refer you to a specialist for more complicated conditions. Alternately, cat guardians may want to seek a second opinion from a veterinarian specializing in specific conditions.

Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible to diagnose and treat medical conditions in cats that would have been a death sentence a decade ago. From chemotherapy to kidney transplants, MRI’s to radiation therapy, ICU care to chemotherapy, cats can now receive the same level of medical care as humans. Cutting-edge veterinary care by board-certified specialists ranging from internists to oncologists to ophthalmologists is becoming more widely available than ever before.

A searchable database helps cat guardians locate veterinary specialists

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) are recognized specialty colleges responsible for establishing training requirements, evaluating training programs, and examining and certifying veterinarians in the veterinary specialties of Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, Internal Medicine and Surgery. The two organizations joined forces and created, a comprehensive searchable database of board-certified veterinary specialists worldwide.

While your veterinarian will most likely be your best source for a referral to a specialist, this site allows pet guardians to search for specialists near them. What I love even more about the site is that it is chock full of detailed information about what exactly these veterinary specialists do and the diagnostic tests and procedures you might expect when you take your cat to one of them. The site also contains an extensive library of articles about specific diseases.

For more information, and to locate a veterinary specialist near you, visit

Have you taken your cat to a veterinary specialist? Share your experience in a comment.

Photo credit Mississippi State University, Tom Thompson, used with permission

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