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What is an animal pathologist and how do you become one?

I am exploring my options, thinking about being a vet or something that relates.

Thank you comment icon thats a good question Ivanka

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Nirah’s Answer

A veterinary pathologist is a veterinarian who has gone through additional training (usually three years) to specialize in either anatomic or clinical pathology. Anatomic pathologists do post mortem exams, and determine cause of death or disease from their findings (sometimes by looking at the body, but more often by looking at tissue slides under a microscope). When your dog has a lump and the veterinarian sends in a biopsy, it is an anatomic pathologist who reads the slides and provides a diagnosis. Many pathologists are employed in veterinary hospitals or in large reference labs for diagnosis of companion animal health issues. A large number are employed in the pharmaceutical industry, examining animals and their tissues for signs of toxicity caused by new drug candidates. Many are involved in research, or work for the government or military (the latter has one of the best-regarded training programs for vet pathologists). Just as in human pathology, there are further sub-specializations. I think it is much more challenging than being a human pathologist. Human pathologists only have to learn one species!

It's not an easy road to become a board-certified veterinary pathologist, but it is a rewarding and very well-compensated career, and compared to some veterinary careers can have a better work-life balance (there aren't usually late nights or after-hours emergencies for a pathologist).
In the US, pathologists are certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathology. www.ACVP.org will have more detailed information.
I also highly recommend www.bls.gov/ooh (the Occupational Outlook Handbook at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics) to search for other animal- and veterinary-related career options. It has a great database with info on job requirements, compensation, and career outlook. (It does not provide a separate listing for vet pathologist, as that is just a veterinary specialty).
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Sahida’s Answer

An animal pathologist is a specialized veterinarian who studies diseases and their effects on animals. They investigate the causes, development, and outcomes of diseases in animals, aiming to understand the underlying mechanisms and help in diagnosing and treating illnesses.

Roles of an Animal Pathologist:
Diagnostic Pathology: They analyze tissue samples, fluids, and other specimens to diagnose diseases in animals.

Research: Animal pathologists conduct research to advance understanding of diseases, their origins, and potential treatments.

Consultation: They may consult with veterinarians, researchers, and animal health organizations to provide expertise on disease management and prevention.

How to Become an Animal Pathologist:
Education: Obtain a bachelor's degree in a related field such as biology, animal science, or pre-veterinary studies. This is followed by admission to a veterinary school.

Veterinary School: Complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD) degree from an accredited veterinary school. This typically takes four years.

Residency: After completing veterinary school, aspiring animal pathologists undertake a residency program in veterinary pathology, which lasts around three to four years. During the residency, they receive specialized training in pathology, including diagnostic techniques, research methodologies, and case studies.

Board Certification: After completing the residency, veterinarians can pursue board certification by passing the certification examination offered by organizations like the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) or other regional boards. Achieving board certification demonstrates expertise in veterinary pathology.

Optional Advanced Training: Some animal pathologists pursue additional training, such as a Master's or Ph.D., to further specialize in a specific area of pathology or to conduct research.

Exploring Career Paths:
If you're considering a career related to animal pathology, becoming a veterinarian is an excellent starting point. It allows you to work closely with animals and gain foundational knowledge in animal health. From there, you can specialize in pathology through further education and training if you're specifically interested in studying diseases and their impact on animals.

It's important to gain exposure through internships, volunteer work, or shadowing experiences in veterinary clinics, research labs, or pathology departments to understand the field better and determine if it aligns with your interests and career goals.
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