what is a veterinary behaviorist?

The training and expertise of those providing behavioral advice can vary to a large degree. A Veterinary Behavior Specialist is a veterinarian that has undergone three years of veterinary residency training in the field of clinical animal behavior after first obtaining a degree in veterinary medicine (DVM). They maintain the highest qualifications and have passed a rigorous examination to become board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

In addition to being able to diagnose and treat medical issues that can contribute to behavioral changes, Veterinary Behaviorists have extensive knowledge and expertise in advanced learning theory, behavior modification techniques, normal and abnormal behavior, psychopharmacology (and appropriate use of such medications) and knowledge neuromolecular processes which influence learning and behavior.

Humane and science based behavior modification techniques are used to change the pet’s emotional responses and help owners to effectively modify and manage the behavior. Medications are never the sole answer; however, for severe cases, Veterinary Behaviorists have the ability to prescribe medications to be used in conjunction with behavior modification.