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Holistic Dog and Cat Care Certification Programs

The article below discusses veterinary medicine programs. It includes educational prerequisites and examples of required coursework as well as information about the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

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Essential Information

While some organizations claim to offer certification programs in holistic animal care, there are no standard, industry-recognized certification programs in holistic dog and cat care. Those with a serious interest in this field should consider a program in veterinary medicine complimented by independent study in holistic medicine.

As of 2013, there were 28 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs in the U.S. that were accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These programs train students to care for, diagnose and treat medical conditions in animals. Students who complete an accredited program are eligible to become licensed veterinarians.

Educational Prerequisites

While not all programs require a bachelor's degree for admittance, most applicants earn a bachelor's degree. Most programs require previous coursework in biology, chemistry, embryology, genetics, physics, physiology and zoology. Some programs require calculus and business courses. Students must also submit scores from a graduate entrance exam, such as the Veterinary College Admission Test.

Program Coursework

Veterinary medicine programs require four years to complete, on average. Curriculum combines classroom learning with clinical practice. Some programs allow for study in a specialty area, such as small animals or equines. Students interested in holistic care might consider programs that include courses in alternative and complementary therapies. Typical courses might include:

  • Anatomy
  • Veterinary immunology
  • Veterinary ethics
  • Anatomic pathology
  • Radiology techniques
  • Parasitology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Surgery

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Prospects are expected to be excellent for all veterinarians for the 2010-2020 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a projected job growth rate of 36%. Pet owners are increasingly willing to pay for advanced care and medical services for their animals. The BLS found that the average salary for veterinarians in May 2012 was $93,250.

Licensing, Certification and Continuing Education

All states require veterinarians to complete an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Those interested in holistic practices might consider joining the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), an organization that provides information on holistic veterinary medicine as well as continuing education opportunities. While there are no industry-recognized certification programs in holistic care, the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy offers a certification program in the related area of homeopathy.

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