Today’s pet owners are demanding higher levels of healthcare for their pets. This demand has necessitated the emergence of veterinary specialists who focus on a specific healthcare service, similar to those in human medicine (e.g., cardiologists, radiologists, surgeons, internists, dentists). Board certification requires completing 3 to 6 years of specialty training in a healthcare discipline, beyond the 4-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree training program. In addition to comprehensive clinical training in the specialty area, a veterinarian is required to publish original scientific articles. Following acceptance of these credentials, an extensive written knowledge examination and practical clinical examination must be successfully completed before being recognized as a specialist.

Dentistry is one of over twenty veterinary healthcare specialties recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) was established in 1988 and is the only veterinary specialty organization in North America that certifies veterinary dental specialist. A Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (DAVDC) is a veterinarian who has been certified by the AVDC as having demonstrated specialist knowledge and clinical expertise in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery as a result of completing specialty training requirements and having successfully passed the AVDC certification examinations. AVDC Diplomates may also use the titles of Board Certified Veterinary Dentist, and Veterinary Dental Specialist. The AVDC is the certification authority for two separate specialties: 1) Small Animal/Non-Species Specific Dentistry and 2) Equine Dentistry. Dr. Stephen is one of four Diplomates that is board certified in both the Small Animal/Non-Species Specific and the Equine Dentistry Specialties.

Dr. Stephen is also an Equine Fellows of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry (FAVD). The Academy of Veterinary Dentistry is an international organization of veterinarians with a special interest in the dental care of animals. AVD Fellows have completed additional dental training, a credentialing process, and a certification examination. Most AVD Fellows are active practitioners, serving the oral health needs of their patients.