Vets can undertake post-graduate training to develop their interest and capabilities in cardiology. There are two main levels of post-graduate qualification: the Certificate (CertSAC, CertVC or CertAVP in Cardiology) and the Diploma (ECVIM, ACVIM or DVC post-nominals).

Vets who have a Certificate have undertaken self-study and passed an exam accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Veterinary Cardiology (RCVS). They may or may not have status as an Advanced Practitioner, which involves additional study of veterinary ethics and professional skills. Most Certificate holders work to a very high level of clinical practice and some will offer a first-tier referral service whilst also working as a first opinion, general practice vet. Some post-graduate courses offer an examination at the end, which can confer post-nominals (such as GPCert in Cardiology) but are not validated by the RCVS owing to a lack of exam standardisation. Although the training on these courses may represent a high standard of clinical work, vets are not sufficiently qualified with this alone to apply for Advanced Practitioner status.

The Diploma in Cardiology (accredited by the European or American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, or the RCVS – post-nominals are DipECVIM-CA, DipACVIM or DVC respectively) represents a significantly higher level of qualification in the discipline. Vets holding a Diploma have undertaken intensive training, lasting a minimum of 3 years, supervised closely by other Board-certified Diploma holders. Diplomates must re-accredit their qualification every 5-10 years, by accruing points awarded for lecturing, research and attending international congresses involving cardiology training. Holders of a Diploma level qualification in Cardiology are eligible to apply for RCVS Specialist status in Veterinary Cardiology.

The RCVS website offers a tool which can be used to search for Advanced Practitioners and Specialists in Cardiology in your region, which can be accessed via this link, in the “Surgeon” option.

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