Have you ever imagined caring for the health of pets, livestock, or animals in zoos or animal parks? Have you pictured yourself helping animals recover from injuries or illness, nursing them back to health, and doing what you could to insuring they live long, healthy lives?
If so, then a career in veterinary medicine could be in your future. Almost everyone who owns a pet has been to the veterinarian’s office at least once for vaccinations or a spay or neutering procedure.
And as medical procedures and technology become more sophisticated and affordable, more veterinarians will be needed to meet the health care demands of an ever-increasing pet population.
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians provide a valuable service by caring for animals of all types, and advising their owners about animal feeding, breeding and behavior. They also diagnose animal injuries and diseases, medicate for infections or illness, treat and dress wounds, give internal x-rays, set bone fractures, and perform major and minor surgery.
Most veterinarians in the US treat small animals such as dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, reptiles and most other animals that can be kept as pets. A smaller percentage of veterinarians also treat farm animals such as horses, pigs, cattle, goats and sheep.
These veterinarians are often based in rural areas of the country, and usually drive to nearby ranches and farms to provide service to animals in the field.
As you would expect, today’s veterinarians use state-of-the-art medical equipment such as electronic ultrasound, x-ray and radiographic equipment. They also use the traditional thermometers, stethoscopes, and various types of surgical instruments.
A solid education & job training are required in this career field
If you seek to become a veterinarian, you’ll be required to graduate from veterinary school with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from a 6-year program at an accredited college.
Then you must obtain a license to practice the in state in which you reside. And be aware that admission into vet school is very competitive, and you would be best to have good grades on your record when you apply.
If your ambition is to become a vet tech, vet assistant, or work in an admininstrative role in an animal hospital or clinic, you can usually complete your training in much less time (in less than two years in some cases). In fact some clinics will take on trainees, and provide an entry-level job while the employee attends night classes as they pursue their degree.
This can be a great way to get some valuable experience while you work toward your long-term career objectives. Veterinary assistants care for animals in laboratories, animal hospitals and clinics.
They perform a supporting role for their employers, equivalent to a medical nurse in a hospital or clinic. There are no formal educational requirements for veterinary assistants, most receive on-the-job training only.
A veterinary assistant can expect to perform some or all of the following tasks on a daily basis:
- Feed, water and examine animals
- Clean and disinfect cages and work areas
- Sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment
- Provide post-operative care
- Administer medication orally or topically
- Prepare samples for laboratory examination under a veterinarian’s or veterinarian technician’s supervision.
There are a number of other veterinary careers as well, such as veterinary receptionist, research veterinarian, veterinary chiropractor, and veterinary technician. There are also holistic veterinary medicine options available as well. Whatever path you choose, make sure you get the education and training required to be effective in your veterinary career.
If this growing and exciting career field sound like something you’d like to be a part of, and you’re looking for more information, you might want to visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website for more information.
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