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About 16 percent of veterinarians work in private mixed and food animal practices, where they see pigs, goats, cattle, sheep, and some wild animals in addition to farm animals. A small proportion of private-practice veterinarians, about 6 percent, work exclusively with horses. Veterinarians who work with food animals or horses usually drive to farms or ranches to provide veterinary services for herds or individual animals.

These veterinarians test for and vaccinate against diseases and consult with farm or ranch owners and managers regarding animal production, feeding, and housing issues. They also treat and dress wounds, set fractures, and perform surgery, including cesarean sections on birthing animals. Other veterinarians care for zoo, aquarium, or laboratory animals.


Veterinarians of all types euthanize animals when necessary. Veterinarians who treat animals use medical equipment such as stethoscopes, surgical instruments, and diagnostic equipment, including radiographic and ultrasound equipment. Veterinarians working in research use a full range of sophisticated laboratory equipment. Some veterinarians contribute to human as well as animal health.

A number of veterinarians work with physicians and scientists as they research ways to prevent and treat various human health problems. For example, veterinarians contributed greatly to conquering malaria and yellow fever, solved the mystery of botulism, produced an anticoagulant used to treat some people with heart disease, and defined and developed surgical techniques for humans, such as hip and knee joint replacements and limb and organ transplants.

Today, some determine the effects of drug therapies, antibiotics, or new surgical techniques by testing them on animals. Some veterinarians are involved in food safety and inspection. Veterinarians who are livestock inspectors, for example, check animals for transmissible diseases such as E. Veterinarians who are meat, poultry, or egg product inspectors examine slaughtering and processing plants, check live animals and carcasses for disease, and enforce government regulations regarding food purity and sanitation.

More veterinarians are finding opportunities in food security as they ensure that the Nation has abundant and safe food supplies.


Work Environment Veterinarians in private or clinical practice often work long hours in a noisy indoor environment. Sometimes they have to deal with emotional or demanding pet owners.

Bringing Help

When working with animals that are frightened or in pain, veterinarians risk being bitten, kicked, or scratched. Veterinarians who work with food animals or horses spend time driving between their offices and farms or ranches. They work outdoors in all kinds of weather and may have to treat animals or perform surgery, often under unsanitary conditions.

Work Environment

Veterinarians working in nonclinical areas, such as public health and research, work in clean, well-lit offices or laboratories and have working conditions similar to those of other professionals who work in these environments. Veterinarians in nonclinical areas spend much of their time dealing with people rather than animals.

Veterinarians often work long hours. Those in group practices may take turns being on call for evening, night, or weekend work; solo practitioners may work extended hours including weekend hours , responding to emergencies or squeezing in unexpected appointments. The prerequisites for admission to veterinary programs vary.

Maxillectomy with Carotid Ligation Dog Surgery At Specialist Veterinary Hospital, Melbourne

However, most of the students admitted have completed an undergraduate program and earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants without a degree face a difficult task in gaining admittance. Preveterinary courses should emphasize the sciences. Veterinary medical colleges typically require applicants to have taken classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, general biology, animal biology, animal nutrition, genetics, vertebrate embryology, cellular biology, microbiology, zoology, and systemic physiology.

Some programs require calculus; some require only statistics, college algebra and trigonometry, or pre-calculus. Most veterinary medical colleges also require some courses in English or literature, other humanities, and the social sciences. Increasingly, courses in general business management and career development have become a standard part of the curriculum to teach new graduates how to effectively run a practice. Admission to veterinary school is competitive. The number of accredited veterinary colleges has remained largely the same since , but the number of applicants has risen significantly.

Only about 1 in 3 applicants was accepted in Which of these things doesn't belong? Test your vocabulary with our question quiz! Definition of veterinarian. Examples of veterinarian in a Sentence Recent Examples on the Web Almost no one bothered to register, save for two unknown candidates, one of them a veterinarian.

First Known Use of veterinarian , in the meaning defined above.

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