How to Address a Veterinarian

Veterinarian: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

The rule is either ‘Dr.‘ before, or the post-nominal abbreviation for their degree after. Never both at the same time.

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-(Full Name), DVM
—-—-(Name of practice, hospital, or clinic)

—-Envelope, social:
—-—-Dr. (Full Name)

—--__——-Note: it is never Dr. (Full Name), DVM

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):

How Should Clinical Staff Address a Veterinarian in Front of Clients?

I am a Veterinary Management Consultant. One of my pet peeves with clinic staff is a lack of professionalism when addressing one another, especially in front of clients. Addressing veterinarians by their first names gives a very bad impression.
I’m looking for some back up on my stance to show staffers who think I’m just being picky. Do you have anything on this subject?
———————– Talbot James

Dear Mr. James:

My precedents are more medical than veterinary, but the issues are exactly the same.

—-#1) Calling the veterinarian ‘Dr. (Name)’
—-—-At hospitals & in doctor’s offices physicians are addressed as Dr. (Name) so patients will know which person in the room is the physician. It also informs the patient of how to address the doctor.
—-—-It’s an issue of clarity – not an issue a unnecessary formality.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-#2) Use of surnames rather than first names
—-—-Anytime one is on a first-name basis with someone who merits a special form of address (Doctor, Mayor, Senator, Dean, etc.), one should address him/her formally (e.g. as ‘Dr. Surname’) in front of anyone not on a first-name basis. The staff might call the veterinarian by ‘First Name’ backstage … BUT they should use ‘Dr. (Name)’ in front of clients/patients, or in this case pet owners.

– Robert Hickey How to Address a Veterinarian


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”