Animal Care
Veterinarian

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Salary: $52492 - $94875
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Hourly: $27.16 - $57.98
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Outlook: 5 Stars
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Length of Training: 6-8 years
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Career Explorer
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Roadmap
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Veterinarians, or doctors of veterinary medicine (DVMs), protect the health and welfare of animals. They diagnose and control animal diseases, treat sick animals, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to people, and advise owners on proper care of pets and livestock.

Veterinarians ensure a safe food supply by maintaining the health of livestock. They also protect the public from the residues of herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics that may be found in livestock. They are involved in wildlife preservation and conservation, animal feed production, preventive medicine, and increasing food production through genetics.

Areas of Specialization
Veterinarians may specialize in large animal care (such as horses or cows) or small animal care. Veterinarians who work in private clinical practice or in academic settings may become specialists in surgery, anesthesiology, ophthalmology, radiology, or nutrition. DVMs can pursue any of 20 specializations, with an additional 21 sub-specialties available.


Work Environment

Veterinarians may work in private practice or as part of a veterinary health team. Those who treat pets and livestock usually work in veterinary clinics and hospitals. Those in large-animal practices may also work out of specially-equipped trucks or cars and may drive considerable distances to farms and ranches. Veterinarians may work outdoors in all kinds of weather. They are often assisted by veterinary assistants, technicians, or other professionals. Veterinarians are also employed in various branches of federal, state, county, and city governments.

Pharmaceutical and biomedical research firms use veterinarians to develop, test, and supervise the production of drugs, chemicals, and biological products that are designed for human and animal use. Some veterinarians are employed in management, technical sales and services, and marketing in agribusiness, pet food companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Still other veterinarians are engaged in research and education at veterinary and medical schools, work for racetracks or animal-related enterprises, or are employed by the military, public health co-ops, and space agencies.

The chief risk for veterinarians is injury by animals. Modern tranquilizers and technology have made it much easier for women and men to work on all types of animals. Exposure to animal disease is no greater for veterinarians than for the general public.

Advancement
Research and teaching positions usually require an additional master's degree or a doctorate in education. Veterinarians who seek specialty board certification in one of the 20 specialty fields must complete three to five year residency programs and must pass an examination.