This is great - we need large animal veterinarians! All veterinarians study all of the "major" species (doc, cat, horse, cow, pig and some about birds/poultry) during the initial years of veterinary school, and then when you get to the electives and clinical part of school, that is when you can select which species to focus on.
There are more than 30 AVMA-accredited veterinary schools now. Some of them are located in areas where there are a lot of large animals, and some are not. Since all of the schools meet the same criteria, you will get the material wherever you choose to go. If you live in a state that has a veterinary school, you might want to focus on that school, as in-state tuition is likely less than out-of-state tuition. There are some schools that offer distributive learning - where you spend your clinical year(s) studying at various locations rather than spending the whole time at one teaching hospital. In addition, most of the schools allow you to do externships or independent study for some rotations, so that could be an opportunity to see a specific type of practice or animal.
You will spend 4 years at that veterinary school, so if location is important to you (do you like snow or hate snow?) then you might focus on the location more.
Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:
- Check out the options in the state where you live or nearby states. Is there a vet school? Is there a significant large animal industry in that area?
- If you are in an area that does not have a lot of large animal activity, check other areas. Are you more interested in cattle? beef or dairy? or swine? or horses? show horses or racehorses? or small ruminants? (goats, sheep, deer). If you can locate an area where you can find the business that interests you, then see which veterinary schools are located nearby.
- Depending on what year you are in school now, if the veterinary school that interests you is not in your state, you might consider whether you could go to undergraduate in that state and maybe establish residency.
- If you know any large animal veterinarians, shadow them to see what their jobs are like day-to-day, and ask where they went to vet school.