Career as a Research Veterinarian

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So how is a research veterinarian different from say, a clinical veterinarian? The role of a research vet is no less important can his or her clinical counterpart, but research veterinarians are often educators as well, training students that hope to become veterinarians.

They also work in clinical research as well, along the lines of physicians. Many research veterinarians are engaged in various forms of research in both the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. This research helps to test, develop and produce drugs and chemicals to be used in both animals and humans.

They also use their expertise to improve surgical techniques for humans as well as animals, such as organ transplants, eye surgery and hip replacements. In addition, RVs provide care and attention to the animals being used in research, making sure that the animals are being humanely treated.

In addition, research veterinarians are sometimes called upon to solve both animal and human heath issues. Two example of this are outbreaks of Mad Cow disease and West Nile virus in the past several years. Research vets have also been involved in the identification and treatment of such diseases as yellow fever, malaria, and salmonella.

Another form of research that these veterinarians engage in is the use of animals for lab testing. This controversial work involves the use of animals such as mice and rats for testing purposes.

Other mammals such as dogs, cats, and primates are used much less frequently, in less than 10% of lab work. Rats and mice are ideally suited for research due to their short lifespans, which makes it easy to study long-term degenerative diseases such as cancer. Rats and mice are also inexpensive and easy to

There are some groups who oppose this type of animal research, but virtually every major medical breakthrough for humans and animals in the last century is the direct result of animal testing.

From new drugs to organ transplants to surgical proceedures, every resent-day protocol for preventing, curing and controlling diseases in humans is based upon knowledge gained through animal research.

What are the types of specialization in the field of veterinary research? VRrs typically pursue postgraduate education beyond the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Many go on to earn a Doctorate or Master’s degree in a field such as for virology, pharmacology, bacteriology, toxicology, or nutrition.


In addition to animal testing, an increased emphasis on scientific methods for breeding and raising fish, poultry and livestock will fuel a demand for research veterinaries in the coming years and decades. If you work hard, study and apply yourself, you could have a bright future in this challenging and rewarding career field.

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