Sunday, February 21, 2016

Veterinarians: The Animal Welfare Experts

Americans truly love their pets, with an estimated 37 - 47% of all households having a dog and 30 - 37% of households having a cat. Taking care of these companion animals and keeping them in good health is a task that takes a significant degree of skill, as dogs and cats are not the only animals Americans keep as pets. Veterinarians are the doctors who focus exclusively on caring for animals of all types, but most in the United States specialize in companion animals, about 75%. Veterinarians are needed in more than just pet healthcare situations, though, as many vets are employed in the food animal safety industry and others are involved in research.

Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to improve public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals. Veterinarians use a wide variety of medical equipment to treat the injuries & illnesses of animals, including surgical tools and x-ray and ultrasound machines. Most veterinarians work in private clinics or hospitals, but some work for government, in labs or classrooms, or on the farm. Vets who treat horses or food animals travel between their offices and farms and ranches. They work outdoors in all types of weather and may have to perform surgery in remote locations.

Becoming a veterinarian is an involved process, and requires a lot of post-secondary education. Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine, of which there are currently 30 in the United States. A veterinary medicine program usually takes 4 years, most of which are spent in the classroom and laboratory settings. The final year of the program typically involves a clinical rotation in a veterinary clinic or hospital. Admissions to veterinary medicine programs are quite competitive, and less than half of all applicants were accepted in 2014. In order to practice as a veterinarian anywhere in the United States, you must be licensed. The licensure process generally involves completing an accredited veterinary medicine program and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, but requirements vary by state.

If you are interested in learning more about veterinarians, check out our infographic below. Our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages will be full of veterinary medicine content all week long, so be sure to head there for the latest content!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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