Overview of a veterinary career
This article provides information on a career in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians provide healthcare for animals, including livestock, pets (birds, cats, dogs, etc), and zoo, sporting and laboratory animals. Most perform clinical work in private practices. Of these, most work with small animals, treating injuries and illness, and administering inoculations and health checks.
A small number of private practice veterinarians work exclusively with large animals, and in particular horses and cows. These veterinarians usually drive to stables, farms or ranches to provide services for individual animals or herds. This involves treatment for conditions or injuries, plus preventive care to maintain herd health, such as inoculation. They also consult with owners on animal management.
Some veterinarians also work in public health and research at universities.
Daily Tasks for Veterinarian Careers
Most of the small animal vet's work is conducted in the surgery, in consultation with owners. Vets typically have to treat all sorts of family pets. If you would like a veterinarian career specializing in birds or cats or dogs then this possible in larger practices. Sometimes, pets are visited in their own homes, particularly if the owner is unable to travel. A veterinarian working with small animals in practice will perform the following tasks, amongst others:
- Diagnosing animal health problems.
- Vaccinating against diseases, such as influenza, rabies and distemper.
- Medicating animals suffering from infections or illnesses.
- Treating and dressing wounds.
- Setting fractures.
- Performing surgery.
- Advising owners about animal care.
- Inserting identification microchips into animals.
- Euthanizing animals that are beyond treatment.
- Providing suitable paperwork for animals travelling abroad.
- Dealing with out of hours emergencies.
Vets specializing in large animals conduct most of their work at the stables, farm or ranch. The exception is when an animal needs to be admitted to a hospital for surgery. Typical daily tasks include:
- Handling, examining and treating farm livestock and horses.
- Meeting and consulting with owners.
- Carrying out diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, blood samples and ultra-sound.
- Treating and dressing wounds, setting fractures, and performing surgery.
- Advising farmers on breeding, nutrition and herd health.
- Providing preventive care to maintain the health of food animals.
- Administering immunizations.
- Performing surgery, including anaesthesia.
- Dealing with out of hours emergencies when on call.
- Inserting identification microchips.
- Liaising with other professionals.
Would a veterinary career suit you?
Vets frequently work long hours. In group practices, vets often take turns being on call for evening, night, or weekend work. Solo practitioners can work additional evenings and weekends. Vets in large-animal practice spend much time driving between their office and stables, farms or ranches. Their work is conducted in all weathers, frequently outdoors and in less than sanitary conditions. Working with animals that are frightened or in pain, vets risk injury on a daily basis.
Veterinarians working in public health and research spend more time in offices and laboratories, dealing with people rather than animals.
If you are choosing a career in veterinarian medicine in the united kingdom or US or Canada then you must earn a degree or postgraduate degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. Applications for places usually far exceed the number available.
Prospects and Salary for Veterinarian Medicine Careers
Most veterinarians begin as assistants in established practices. Once more experienced, they either set up their own practice, purchase an established one, or become partners in an existing practice.
Becoming a partner involves a higher level of responsibility, with the need for more business and management skills. There is also a need for more financial input and, with it, financial risk.
Veterinarians can further specialize, either by focusing on a particular kind of practice or by continuing training in a particular field.
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