AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties

The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) is the umbrella organization for veterinary specialties within the United States. It is composed of one voting representative from each of the AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations, plus non-voting liaisons from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the AVMA Council on Education. Staff in the AVMA Education and Research Division facilitate ABVS operations.


Front row l to r: Dr. Colin Harvey (AVDC), Dr. Gary Coleman (ACVP), Dr. Dennis French (ABVP), Dr. Andris Kaneps (ACVSMR), Dr. Bonnie Wright (ACVAA), Dr. Robert Murtaugh (ACVECC). Second row l to r: Dr. Carla Carleton (ACAW), Dr. Dawn Boothe (ACVCP), Dr. Rebecca Wilkes (ACVM), Dr. Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf (ACZM), Dr. Jim Thompson (AAVMC), Dr. Amy Kapatkin (ACVS). Third row l to r: Dr. Karen Campbell (ACVD), Dr. Tod Drost (ACVR), Dr. Lynn Anderson (ACLAM). Fourth row l to r: Dr. John Bauer (ACVN), Dr. William Fenner (ACVIM), Dr. David Whitley (ACVO), Dr. Dale Paccamonti (ACT), Dr. Mike Murphy (ABVT), Dr. John Sanders (ACVPM). Back row: Dr. Michel Newman (AVMA BOD)

See a complete history and description of the ABVS.

View the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) Policies and Procedures.


ABVS LogoThe American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recognizes and encourages the development of recognized veterinary specialty organizations (RVSOs) promoting advanced levels of competency in well-defined areas of study or practice categories to provide the public with exceptional veterinary service.

— Mission Statement, AVMA ABVS


Currently, there are 22 AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations comprising 40 distinct specialties. More than 11,000 veterinarians have been awarded diplomate status in one or more of these 22 recognized veterinary specialty organizations by completing rigorous postgraduate training, education, and examination requirements. These board-certified specialists are ready to serve the public, its animals, and the veterinary profession by providing high quality service in disciplines as varied as internal medicine, surgery, preventive medicine, toxicology, dentistry, behavior, and pathology. Visit the website of any of the AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations by clicking on the links in the column on the left side of this page.

See guidelines on establishment, recognition, and supervision of veterinary specialty organizations.

Find links to each specialty organization's Web site for information regarding a specific recognized veterinary specialty.

Questions about specialization in veterinary medicine?  See our FAQs page!

Contact the ABVS.