Veterinary medicine is regulated by the Belgian Ministry of Small Businesses, Self-employment, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Agriculture and Social Integration. The regulation of animal welfare is governed by the three regions namely 1) animal welfare in Wallonia, based in Namur, 2) animal welfare in Flanders, based in Brussels, and 3) animal welfare in Brussels, based in Brussels. The National Veterinary Council (Orde der Dierenartsen) was established by law in 1950. Veterinary medicine is regulated under a law on "practising veterinary medicine" dating 1991, and since then, the law has been amended multiple times.
Veterinary Specialist Recognition
European Veterinary Specialists™ and Diplomats of the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties can apply to the National Veterinary Council to use their specialist title. The National Veterinary Council consists of the High Council and two regional councils: the Flemish-speaking NGROD for Flanders and the Francophone CRFOMV for Wallonia. Veterinarians living in Brussels can choose which regional council they apply to.
Advanced Veterinary Practitioners
Ghent University offers post graduate veterinary practitioner specialised training. A list of advanced veterinary practitioners by species is available from the National Veterinary Council.
Veterinarians with this type of postgraduate training are not allowed to apply for or use the title of specialist or abbreviations thereof. Misrepresentation of this type can lead to a reprimand from the National Veterinary Council.
Continuing Education of Veterinary General Practitioners
Compulsory continuing education requirements have been put in place for veterinarians in Belgium since 2013. Individual veterinarians should record any continuing education followed and this does not lead to any further qualifications but should be presented to the National Veterinary Council if requested.
There are two veterinary schools in Belgium that offer a full veterinary curriculum leading to a veterinary qualification, a Dutch speaking and French speaking school. Both of these veterinary schools are faculties of Universities, namely Ghent University and the University of Liège, respectively. Veterinarians graduating from Ghent University cannot use the title Doctor but can use the title (Dierenarts (Veterinarian) or (since 1994) Master in Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians graduating from the University of Liege can use the title Docteur en médecine vétérinaire.
There a number of membership organisations for veterinarians in Belgium including 1) the Vlaamse Dierenartsenvereniging or VDV, 2) Union Professionnelle Vétérinaire or UPV, which has a number of sections including equine, industry, small animal, and artificial insemination/embryo transfer, 3) Small Animal Veterinary Association Belgium or SAVAB for Flemish speaking small animal veterinarians and 4) Intérêts Vétérinaires/Dierenartsenbelangen or IVDB.
The membership organisations do not have a regulatory function. There is currently no veterinary specialist organisation in Belgium.