Modern vet
Image Credit: Supplied


A puppy with a shattered leg, a cat with a brain tumour, or a dog with a hereditary heart condition…just who does a pet owner turn to in an animal’s hour of need? 

Dubai is quickly becoming home to the best specialised veterinarians in the GCC; just as Alexandra, an eight-year-old Boxer and her mom drove 1,400 kilometers from Kuwait, to be seen by a team of specialised veterinarians at Modern Vet in Dubai. For those of us who don’t know, specialised veterinarians can most easily be compared to human medical specialists like orthopaedic surgeons, gynaecologists, or anaesthesiologists; they have a higher level of education and training in a specific area of medicine.

General practice veterinarians on the other hand can most easily be compared to general practitioners that us humans would go see if we were feeling under the weather. General practitioners or GPs as they are more commonly known, are familiar with many conditions, in many fields, but not in depth.

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Dr Roy and Dr Rami performing an open heart, PDA surgery at Modern Vet Image Credit: Supplied

Think back to the last time you went to see a doctor for something, you’ll probably remember that you were referred to a specialist by a GP. Let’s say that you went to see the doctor because you found a red bump on your skin. The GP would have referred you to a dermatologist. Just as with humans, pets with serious illnesses will be referred to a special interest veterinarian for further tests and diagnosis once the general practice veterinarian identifies the medical issue.

There is a slight difference however, between us humans, and our pets...pets can’t talk and in consequence can’t let us know if they are in pain, if they sprained their paw, or if they found a lump on their body. A veterinarian’s job demands more skill, experience, and careful observation than a human doctor for this precise reason. A veterinarian’s attributes and essential qualities along with various forms of available testing (data, vitals, and trends) constructed by veterinary medical gadgets allows them to diagnose and propose a treatment plan for your pet. Another substantial difference between human doctors and veterinarians is that veterinarians are trained to treat all animal numerous species and breeds with different physiologies.

Modern Vet is the go-to veterinary referral centre in the UAE, with specialised veterinarians in the fields of ophthalmology, cardiology, dentistry, orthopaedics, and neurology. In 2021, an eight-month-old Pomeranian puppy became the first patient to successfully undergo open-heart surgery at Modern Vet in Dubai. A team of five specialised veterinary surgeons successfully performed the surgery and post operative recovery without encountering any pre or post operative complications. Since then, Modern Vet has carried out more than four successful open-heart, PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) surgeries and a plethora of other specialised referral surgeries. A PDA surgery requires a highly skilled vascular surgeon and specific surgical tools to perform.

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Modern Vet, Downtown Clinic Image Credit: Supplied

How does a veterinarian become a specialised veterinarian?

To become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), a person must go through approximately five years of medical education, however, becoming a specialised veterinarian like an ophthalmologist would mean continuing on to a diplomate program after the DVM education. The years of study for a specialised veterinarian (diplomate) is at least three years or around eight years from start to finish. The more specific and complex the medical specialty is, the longer the education will be.

Alternatively, veterinarians can pursue specialised training from board certified specialists by practicing at a referral center and working in the same department (e.g., ophthalmology) for many years. For example, if a veterinarian were to work at an ophthalmology referral center for 10 years, they would have been looking at, and treating nothing but eyes for that entire period. During that time, the veterinarian would have completed thousands of eye surgeries. A fresh graduate who’s completed one or two eye surgeries in the past is incomparable to the experience of a veterinarian that has completed countless eye surgeries over the course of numerous years.

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Dr Marina performing microscopic eye surgery at Modern Vet Palm Jumeirah Image Credit: Supplied

Medical treatment by specialised veterinarians cost more

You expect to pay more when you visit a medical specialist for humans, and the same is true when it comes to specialised veterinarians. Along with the knowledge specialised veterinarians offer, pet owners benefit from advanced specialist facilities, technology, and support staff. This level of care and expertise can be critical for pets with more complex medical issues but it will cost you.

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