The truth behind the term “Specialist”

This topic has been on agenda for quite awhile now.
I had to seriously think things through, just as with the pet communicator post, this has potential in causing some backlash as well as potentially affecting my career as a veterinarian in Singapore.

However when I started this account/ site, I decided that this would be a platform for me to disseminate the most accurate veterinary information (to my knowledge) and to address the unspoken issues of this industry. In addition, recent conversations with several frustrated veterinarians in the industry has spurred me to finally tackle this topic.

Working in Singapore 2.5 years ago, I struggled constantly with some fellow veterinarians that call themselves “Specialist” when I CLEARLY know they aren’t. It appears that this has not changed and there are still a lot of them that get away with this.

Over in Australia and to my knowledge, America- veterinarians that AREN’T actual specialist and who call themselves so, can be prosecuted under the law and have their license revoked. However, it appears that such policing does not exist over here in Singapore.

As Veterinarians we undergo intensive study and training (for 5-8 years). Specialist Veterinarians have to undertake further studying and training for several more years ~3-5 years in their chosen fields (be it in medicine, emergency medicine & critical care, imaging, surgery, neurology, cardiology, etc.)


To my knowledge, there are only 3 actual veterinary specialist that work here. They are Dr Ben Landon (a surgical specialist) from Landon Veterinary Specialist, Dr Nathalee Prakash (Medicine specialist) and Dr Patrick Maguire (Surgical specialist) from Mt Pleasant Gelenggang.

The truth is that there aren’t many specialist veterinarian in Singapore. There are however many veterinarians who have done some continuing education (courses, workshops, attachments) in certain fields, such as imaging, surgery, cardiology, ophthalmology and provide these niche services to clients. I absolutely understand that the lack of specialist in these fields creates a market for these vets to pursue and provide such services. To be honest, I am FOR that as we do need these services at times. That being said to actually CALL themselves specialist is seriously crossing the boundaries.

Through my research, I even found one veterinarian who had the cheek to list his “qualifications” (inverted commmas as those letters he wrote behind his name really did not make any sense at all) and he even noted himself as a specialist on the clinic’s website.

YUP, the atrocities.

I trained under an amazing Emergency and Critical care specialist , Dr Alicia Faggella who worked in my hospital in Perth and I studied for my Membership in ECC. Am I then an emergency specialist? NOPE. Not at all. I am however a qualified veterinarian who has an interest in emergency medicine.
Hope the above clarifies the differences between a veterinary surgeon/ veterinarian and veterinary specialist.

As such, I urge clients to do their own research on those accredited specialist, should they be bold enough to call themselves so.




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