What’s it like to be a Veterinarian?
Veterinarians (Vets) are trained medical professionals who diagnose, prevent and treat disease and injury affecting animals. Vets usually specialise in a specific area of work such as small animals, horses or livestock, and advise members of the public on best practices in diet, hygiene, care and breeding to promote better health in their pets and livestock.
Tasks and duties
Advising clients on health, nutrition and feeding, hygiene, breeding and care of animals.
Treating animals medically and surgically, and administering and prescribing drugs, analgesics, and general and local anaesthetics.
Determining the presence and nature of abnormal conditions through physical examination, laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging techniques including radiography and ultrasound.
Performing surgery, dressing wounds and setting broken bones.
Performing obstetric and gynaecological procedures on animals.
Participating in government programs designed to prevent the occurrence and spread of animal diseases.
Testing animals for disease and inoculating against infectious diseases and notifying authorities of outbreaks of infectious animal diseases.
Euthanising animals in a humane fashion when necessary.
Vets in metropolitan areas work mostly with pets such as cats and dogs, while Vets in rural areas often work closely with farmers to treat livestock and prevent the spread of disease and improve health and productivity.
Vets generally work in small practices or may be employed by government departments to monitor and control animal disease, perform research or provide consultation on the regulation of hygiene standards, quarantine procedures and agricultural and food production processes.
To become a registered Veterinarian, you need to study for 6-7 years. Complete a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree at an accredited university program, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Science. Upon graduating you need to register with the Veterinarian board of the state(s) in which you wish to practice.
What Veterinarians Do
Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to protect public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals.
Veterinarians typically do the following:
Examine animals to assess their health and diagnose problems
Treat and dress wounds
Perform surgery on animals
Test for and vaccinate against diseases
Operate medical equipment, such as x-ray machines
Advise animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
Companion animal veterinarians treat pets and generally work in private clinics and hospitals. They most often care for cats and dogs, but they also treat other pets, such as birds, ferrets, and rabbits. These veterinarians diagnose and provide treatment for animal health problems; consult with animal owners about preventive healthcare; and carry out medical and surgical procedures, such as vaccinations, dental work, and setting fractures
Food animal veterinarians work with farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, which are raised to be food sources. They spend their time visiting farms and ranches to treat ill and injured animals and to test for and vaccinate against disease. They may advise farm owners or managers about feeding, housing, and general health practices.
Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect and test livestock and animal products for major animal diseases. They also provide vaccines to treat animals, enhance animal welfare, conduct research to improve animal health, and enforce government food safety regulations. They design and administer animal and public health programs to prevent and control diseases transmissible among animals and between animals and people.
So you want to be a Vet Nurse – admirable, but are you really ready?
Whether you are new to the employment force or looking for a new job, a career as a Vet Nurse may be right up your alley. The job market for Vet Nurses has grown by 45% in the last five years, and is expected to continue grow at a rapid rate through 2017 and beyond. Any why wouldn’t it? Working as a vet nurse is one of the most rewarding careers. You get to help animals and their families make their lives better. You get to nurse them when they are not well, and keep them feeling great when they visit for an annual exam.
While having a career as a vet nurse is a great job, it may not be for everyone. Before you start your studies and are ready to apply for that vet nurse job there’s a few things you should know. Not everyone is cut out to have a career as a vet nurse. We know, no one wants to hear this, but it’s true none the less.
You don’t like people
It’s natural to gravitate towards loving, cuddly, non-judgmental, animals when people make you uncomfortable. In fact, one of the biggest reasons people give for having a career as a vet nurse is because they prefer animals to people. But before you give your notice and make that career change, you need to know that 90% of your job will be working with people.
A career as a vet nurse means that your job is to communicate to pet parents what their animals need to live a long and happy life. You will have to listen to them as they describe symptoms and behavior changes. You will have to reassure them everything is okay when they call worried that something is wrong because their dog is twitching and crying in their sleep. You will have to comfort them when they are terrified they won’t be bringing their pets home.
Seeing animals in pain makes you uncomfortable
We don’t want to sound heartless here. No one wants to see an animal in pain. But for some, witnessing an animal in pain will be unbearable. They become lost in their grief and unable to turn that pain into action. Having a career as a vet nurse will guarantee that you will see a lot of animals suffering, as well as many happy ones. Some diseases and treatments will add to their pain before they are better. If you want a vet nurse career you have to be able to put your emotions away and focus on the task. The patients will need your help.
A degree in veterinary medicine not only qualifies you as a vet but also opens doors to related careers, in areas such as research, wildlife conservation and animal welfare
As part of your degree you’ll need to complete a minimum of 38 weeks extra-mural studies (EMS), gaining real-life, hands-on work experience to enhance your university-based studies. This experience can include time in clinical practices, abattoirs, laboratories, food production facilities and with government veterinary services. You can also complete an overseas placement.
You’re expected to take responsibility for your own learning and get involved as much as you can. Practical experience will include work with various species, including companion animals such as cats and dogs, horses, farm animals and exotic species.
Some courses offer the opportunity to spend an additional year as part of an intercalated degree, providing you with chance to specialise in an area of particular interest, such as pathology, conservation or zoology, to undertake research and to broaden your career opportunities. Taking this path means you’ll graduate with both a veterinary medicine and a science degree.
The majority of vets are employed by private practices, varying from small to large, including animal hospitals. Mixed practices provide a breadth of experience – alternatively, you can specialise to care for particular animal groups such as exotic, small, farm, zoo/wildlife animals or horses.
Books for Kids Wanting to Be a Vet
I found it very difficult as a young boy to find meaningful information on this interesting career choice. Back then, the only options readily available to me were the local library bookshelves or the scant resources held in my school library. The choice of reading matter on the subject of veterinary careers available at that time was very, very limited.
What Is It That Vets Do?
Vets are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of animals that are sick or injured, as well as the prevention of disease. They also provide advice on animal welfare and hygiene. Veterinary surgeons will perform surgery and dentistry and when necessary, euthanize animals. It is a very challenging and responsible occupation—in addition to experiencing the joy of working with animals, you will need to be able to cope with the emotional impact of seeing animals in difficult and upsetting situations and be able to deal sensitively with animal owners who are often distraught at seeing their pets suffer.
A typical day in the life of a vet will include:
Meet pet owners and build a good rapport with them, listening to their concerns about their animals.
Perform general procedures, surgery, and dentistry.
Carry out routine and regular health checks on pets.
Evaluate and treat animals brought in to your practice.
Test for and vaccinate against diseases.
Treat and dress wounds.
Prescribe animal medication.
Ideally suited for the older child. This book provides a comprehensive look into the role of the veterinary technician. The reader is informed via a series of stories from people who have performed this vital, yet sometimes overlooked career as part of a veterinary practice. Being a vet tech provides many more opportunities to work with animals in areas such as agricultural programs, zoos and research laboratories
Vet Academy is a wonderful book that will capture the interest of most young children. This activity book examines three categories of the veterinary profession—pet vet, zoo vet, and farm vet. With it’s great mix of learning and games, this book will be sure to engage and enthuse the budding young vet in your life and perhaps foster continued interest in the life of a veterinarian enough to entice them to vet school when they are little older.