Q. Usually the letters after a veterinarian’s name are DVM. But sometimes I see VMD. Is that a typo?
Dear Ms. DeVito,
A. Nope, not a typo. For 29 of the 30 veterinary schools in the United States, the designation is DVM, which stands for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. But for graduates of the veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania, the designation is VMD, or Veterinary Medical Doctor.
The two are equivalent. The reason for the difference has to do with the origin of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It started as the veterinary department of the medical school for people. As the medical school awarded the Medicinae Doctoris (MD) degree to graduating physicians, it was consistent to use a similar Latin format for the veterinary degree. (VMD technically stands for Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris.)