Veterinarian (DVM/DMD)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Veterinarians provide medical diagnoses and treatments for pets, livestock and other animals. They are trained to examine animals for disease and injury, perform surgery, prescribe medicines and vaccinations, and treat wounds and broken bones.
  • Veterinarians advise animal owners about proper care and breeding to keep their animals healthy.
  • Veterinarians are usually in private practice. Some are employed by government agencies, private industries, medical colleges and universities, zoos, research laboratories, public health agencies and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Veterinarians may have a general practice that treats all types of animals or more selective practices that treat pets such as dogs, cats and birds – or livestock animals such as horses and cattle.
  • Large-animal Veterinarians can often drive from their office to farms or ranches.
  • They may specialize in a particular area of care -- Zoo Veterinarian, Clinical Veterinarian, Poultry Veterinary Livestock Inspector, Veterinary Virus Serum Inspector, or Veterinary Meat Inspector.
  • Veterinarians that study various aspects of disease, structure, form and function of animals are divided into the following categories: anatomist, microbiologists, epidemiologist, parasitologist, pathologist, pharmacologist, toxicologist and physiologist.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • As pets are increasingly viewed as members of the family, pet owners will be more willing to spend on advanced veterinary medical care, creating further demand for veterinarians.
  • Long work hours and emergency situations can cut into personal time and family time.
  • Dealing with patients that cannot communicate easily is a constant challenge.
  • Sometimes it is more competitive to be admitted into veterinary school then medical school.
  • Veterinary education preparation in both time and money is almost as much as medical school, while the salary and the prestige can be less.
  • Their work setting can often be noisy.
  • Veterinarians should have the ability to calm animals and get along with animal owners.
  • They may work in all conditions including treating animals or performing surgery under unsanitary conditions.
  • When working with animals that are frightened or in pain, veterinarians are at risk of being bitten, kicked or scratched.


Getting Started

Career Outlook