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The Appropriate Use of Titles and Post-Nominals by Veterinarians in Australia & New Zealand


Titles and post-nominals (letters placed after an individual’s name to indicate academic degrees, honours, or professional affiliations) play a crucial role in professional identity. This article provides a general summary of recommendations on how veterinarians should use titles and post-nominals. If you are a registered veterinarian in Australia or New Zealand, you can seek specific guidance on the use of titles and post-nominals from the veterinary board/council in the jurisdiction in which you are registered.


Veterinarians must exercise caution in presenting their qualifications and affiliations, ensuring accurate representation and compliance with the legislation in the jurisdiction in which they are registered. To act in a manner that promotes the public’s trust and confidence in the profession, veterinarians must represent their capability and competence accurately, not overstating their skills and knowledge by using misleading descriptors.[1]

Use of the Title “Doctor” or “Dr” by Veterinarians

In Australia and New Zealand, the title ‘Doctor’ or ‘Dr’ is an optional courtesy title that can be used for registered veterinarians. Those with a doctorate may choose to add the post-nominal ‘PhD’.[2] If the title is used, it should be followed by the person’s name and words/abbreviations intended to indicate that the person is a veterinarian (e.g.,”Dr John Doe, veterinarian”).[3]There must be no inference or suggestion that the user is a medical practitioner or qualified to practise general medicine unless registered as such.[1]

Correct Order of Post-Nominals

The appropriate order for using post-nominals is as follows[4]:

    • Commonwealth honours and awards
    • University degrees (pre- and post-graduate)
    • Appointments (e.g., JP)
    • Fellowships and Memberships of professional or academic bodies

Use of Additional Terms – Specialist, Expert, Special Interest:

Veterinary legislation in Australia and New Zealand strictly regulates using terms like “specialist” or ” registered specialist, ” “expert,” or ” special interest.” Veterinarians must only represent themselves as specialists if the Board has approved specialist registration.

Fellows of the ANZCVS or Diplomates of a European or American College cannot call themselves a specialist in Australia or New Zealand without first receiving an endorsement from AVBC’s Advisory Committee on the Registration of Veterinary Specialists (ACRVS) followed by approval of specialist registration by a veterinary board/council. Misleading representations, including using terms like ‘dermatologist’ or ‘oncologist’, are also prohibited without specialist registration.

Specific terms, including ‘consultant to,’ ‘professional interest in,’ and ‘particular interest in,’ are deemed acceptable for those without specialist registration. Look out for an upcoming article exploring protected titles and postgraduate qualifications in more detail.

Specific Examples:


Veterinarians who have worked in the United Kingdom will have used the post-nominal ‘MRCVS’ while registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Use of the post-nominal ‘MRCVS’ is only permitted in Australia and New Zealand if the veterinarian gained membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons by virtue of successful completion of the RCVS Statutory Examination.[5][6]

If a veterinarian retains registration with the RCVS while practising in Australia or New Zealand, the post nominal cannot be used if based solely on UK registration status and fee payment.

2. Membership and Fellowship – ANZCVS

The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) awards Membership and Fellowship following examination in various disciplines. Guidelines for post-nominal use include specific rules for members and fellows, including the addition of subject names in brackets.[7]

3. American and European Board Qualifications

Veterinarians with Diplomate status from the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) or the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) should adhere to the relevant guidelines on post-nominal use from the awarding Colleges.


In the veterinary profession, the appropriate use of post-nominals is essential for maintaining transparency, credibility, and adherence to legal regulations. Veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand should carefully follow the established guidelines to ensure that their post-nominals accurately reflect their qualifications and affiliations, contributing to the integrity of the veterinary profession.


[1] Veterinary Council of New Zealand. Policy on qualifications and post nominal titles for inclusion on the Register of Veterinarians (2015).

[2] Australian Government Style Manual. Academics and professionals.

[3] Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland. Use of title “Dr” by veterinarians.

[4] Australian Veterinary Association. Policy: Appropriate use of post-nominals (2010).

[5] Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland. Use of qualification MRCVS.

[6] Veterinary Practice Board of Western Australia. Veterinary Surgeons Handbook.

[7] Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Policy on the use of College post nominals (2021).