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What kind of requirements do you need to be a pet veterinarian?

#animal-health #veterinarian

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Sarah’s Answer

In order to be a veterinarian you must obtain an undergrad degree in a relevant subject such as biology or animal science. Some colleges have a specific “pre-vet” path. Once you obtain this degree then you go on to complete 4 years of vet school. Before you can practice in the field you must also pass an exam to obtain your license.
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Michael’s Answer

Thanks, Daisy, for this question. Pet, or small animal veterinarian, are really not any different than other types of veterinarians. The veterinary oath that you will take upon completing your education as a veterinarian includes all types of domesticated animals (in particular, farm animals) and, as you may know, there are also zoo veterinarians that will deal with wild animals kept and bred in captivity. That being said, pets are part of our families and hence there is one skill that the pet veterinarian is likely to use more frequently and more intensely: Empathy. So I am not talking about the technical aspects you would have to master for becoming a veterinarian, those science classes, communication classes or even business classes it would behoove you to take. Rather, start thinking about this one soft skill that will provide for an important challenge in your career as a veterinarian. Empathy is the "ability to understand and share the feelings of another." If we agree that pets are members of our household and, as such, are family members, then we have to provide for them just like we would for the rest of our family. Empathy is a skill that some of us possess more easily than others; it's something you can learn, but it is also something you can completely acquire only through learning. It is experienced and comes more or less natural, as we grow older, depending on our cultural background and our own family experiences. Having grown up with pets, I think, is also very valuable. As I have commented on elsewhere, pets live longer and longer lives as our technology improves and our know-how improves; however, animals are sometimes beyond saving and family members invite the veterinarian, not only to help with euthanasia, but to be mindful with the ensuing grieving process. This is only possible through the acquisition and application of empathy. So start thinking about that: How to acquire this important skill, make good use of it, while protecting your own individual health and well-being. In writing this answer, I thought of my veterinarian dad who was very active in his time taking in dogs from puppy mills. These dogs were kept in small cages and in abominable conditions, and he would "rescue" them and take care of their health in his clinic until they were, perhaps for the first time, well and able to be loving pets to be adopted by a family.
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