Veterinary Science

A veterinarian checks a horse's eye. Photo from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Just like people, animals get sick sometimes! As a result, there is a field of animal science devoted to caring for all species called Veterinary Science. A veterinarian (sometimes called a vet) is a doctor who works with all types of animals from dogs and cats to cows and sheep, and sometimes even animals like kangaroos! Veterinarians who only work with animals like dogs and cats are known as “small animal vets.” Veterinarians who work with animals like cows, sheep, and pigs (livestock) are referred to as “large animal veterinarians. Veterinarians can also specialize in what is considered “exotic” animals like lizards and birds.

A veterinarian can work at an animal clinic. These offices are very similar to a human doctor’s office, but vets have some special tools to examine their animal patients better! People can take their animals to the vet for just a check-up, but in special cases for other treatments and surgeries.

 

A large number of vet clinics offer mobile veterinary care services for farmers. These services are used in emergencies or when it is impractical to take an animal to the vet’s office. For example, it is not practical to transport a cow to a vet’s office when the cow is giving birth. Instead, the vet will visit the farm and help the cow there.Some livestock farms are so huge that they require a resident veterinarian to care for their animals. A resident veterinarian may live on site and care only for that farm’s animals, or a vet might live locally and only work with certain farms in that area.

Currently, there are 22 different veterinary specialty organizations. These are specific skills area that a veterinarian has decided to dedicate their efforts to. Some of these specialties include behavior, dermatology, and anesthesia. To be a veterinary specialist, one must continue their education and complete more training. Following this they must pass a test about their specialty. Specialists are recognized by a large organization known as the AVMA, American Veterinary Medical Association.

Some veterinarians specialize in pathology and work for diagnostic laboratories. These vets use special equipment to perform biopsies. A biopsy is the surgical removal and examination of tissue obtained from a living animal. Tissues make up the body. Tissues make up everything, even the bones, muscles, and blood. All types of veterinarians send in tissues to be tested, and the diagnostic veterinarians determine whether or not that animal has a disease and sends the results back.

If you are interested in being a veterinarian it is very important to concentrate in school and gain experience working with a wide variety of animals!

 
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