Veterinarians are medical professionals that treat animals. They examine, diagnose,..


What does a Veterinarian do?

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Veterinarians are medical professionals that treat animals. They examine, diagnose, and treat pets, farm animals, or other animals and often perform surgery. They are skilled at using modern medical equipment or surgical tools similar to a physician in human health medicine.

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How to Become a Veterinarian

veterinarian with a dog

Veterinarians must earn a doctorate degree. Though not required many students earn a bachelors degree prior to applying to vet school. Coursework in biology, zoology, animal science, and other related courses can be beneficial in getting admitted into graduate school. You then must attend an accredited veterinarian school and complete a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree (D.V.M. or V.M.D.). This typically takes about 4 years and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.

Most veterinary programs include math, humanities and science and are beginning to include general business management and career development courses so that new veterinary graduates know how to manage a practice. All states require a license to practice. Applicants must pass an North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) to become certified. For more information go to the website.

Job Description of a Veterinarian

Most people think veterinarians work in private clinical practices and treat illnesses or injuries of pets or other animals. Though this is primarily true there are also specialized areas one can work in. Examples include equine, food safety and inspection, research, or other veterinary based services. Some become postsecondary teachers at colleges or universities even. That said, a typical veterinarian in private clinical practice would normally examine an animal and determine their medical needs and treat the animal.

Veterinarians care for animal’s wounds and dress them, as well as, give vaccinations to animals and give tests for possible diseases, like heart worm or other illnesses. They use a variety of medical equipment, such as, X-ray and ultrasound machines or surgical tools. They prescribe medication for animals and educate people about the basic care and needs of their pet or animal, their medical condition or treatment plan.

Veterinarian Career Video Transcript

In this episode, we visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protections K-9 Training Site in Front Royal, Virginia. These working dogs are trained to search and find illegal drugs. This is Megan, she makes sure these dogs are healthy and ready to work. This is Candy. We’re just gonna do a physical on Candy. Candy is here so that we can get her back into our working dog program, which means she’ll be a detector dog looking for any kind of contraband like narcotics and we look at all of her teeth. The teeth can help make sure that they’re not developing tarter or gingivitis. In working dogs, in all dogs, but especially working dogs. You want to make sure they don’t have any dental disease. That can really inhibit them wanting to play with the toys, have bad breath, not eat well, and be in pain. To become a veterinarian takes a lot of hard work and school. You have to really apply yourself to all of your different courses, not just sciences and animal related courses. But to develop the idea, do they want to be a veterinarian, as much exposure as they can get to the veterinarian field, and that can come through volunteer work in veterinary clinics or even in rescues and shelters. For more information, you can visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics veterinarian page.

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