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What is a veterinary specialist?

Just like human health has specialists, so does your pet! A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area.

Your board-certified veterinary specialist's expertise complements your pet's primary care veterinarian. You and your pet may be referred to a board-certified veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet's health problem requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your animal's primary care veterinarian does not have.

You, your veterinarian, and a board-certified veterinary specialist must communicate and work together to provide the best care for your pet.

What is the role of the specialist in my pet's care?

When your pet has a complex case, your primary veterinarian may refer your pet to a specialist who has the advanced training and equipment to continue to provide the best possible care for your pet. This is where SFAMC comes in!

When a referral is needed, your primary vet will review the process with you and provide SFAMC with all vital information regarding your pet's history and current medical issues. Often they will call one of our specialists to discuss the referred case. Your primary veterinarian will either fax or email your pet's medical records to us, as well as your pet's imaging studies, or even ask you to bring x-rays or radiographs to your pet's consultation.

Your SFAMC specialist will update you and your veterinarian on the treatment plan and progress after your initial consultation and any future appointments. The continuity between the SFAMC specialist and your primary veterinarian is critical, as it ensures the best possible outcome for your pet.

What can I expect

  • Before your appointment, your specialist will review medical records from your primary veterinarian and any lab work and x-rays.
  • Be ready to provide a detailed history of your pet's medical concern.
  • Your SFAMC specialist will perform a physical examination on your pet.
  • After reviewing all this information, your specialist will discuss a treatment plan with you, which could involve further diagnostic tests, a surgical recommendation, and/or detailed home-care instructions.

About our medical director(s)

Meet Drs. Margo Mehl & Craig Maretzki, SFAMC's Medical Directors. They have over 50 years of combined veterinary experience. In addition to practicing and seeing patients, their primary responsibility is managing the quality of veterinary medicine and implementing medical strategy within the specialty and emergency services of the hospital.

Our Facility

The San Francisco Animal Medical Center opened its doors in 2022. Formerly part of the San Francisco SPCA, we are excited to continue its legacy of serving the city with stellar veterinary care in a warm and welcoming environment.

Our 25,000 sq ft facility features 15+ exam rooms, state-of-the-art surgical suites, treatment areas, and the latest equipment to care for your pet. Stay tuned; we will be adding an MRI and CT machine soon.

Whether your pet needs emergency medical care, a veterinary specialist for a complicated illness or injury, or needs routine vaccination with a family vet, our team is here for all of your needs. Owned by a group of local veterinarians, we look forward to meeting you and your pets in the community we, too, call home.