Saving Animals~What it's Like to be a Vet

by Lexus Wilt

Veterinarians are medical professionals who protect the health and well-being of animals.  Small animal practice veterinarians deal mainly with cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds. (“”, 2017) They diagnose and control animal diseases.  They also treat animals who are sick and injured.  Administering tests and prescribing medications and therapeutic treatments are the roles of these people. (“”, 2017) Veterinarians advise owners on proper care of their pets and certain precautions that they should take. (“”, 2017)

        There are many duties and responsibilities that vets must fulfill.  Veterinarians examine animals to diagnose their health problems.  They treat wounds and broken bones. They also perform surgeries such as neutering. Vets test for diseases such as distemper and rabies. Then

they provide the proper vaccinations for them.  Setting fractures and treating infections are daily tasks of vets. Diagnostic tests including X-Ray, EKG, blood, urine, and feces are conducted by veterinarians. (“”, 2017) Veterinarians also operate medical equipment, including x-ray machines.  They advise owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments. They may prescribe medications.  Sadly, they may euthanize animals. (“Summary.”, 2017) Vets also perform health checkups in which they clean the teeth of animals, check their weight, cut their toe nails, take their temperature, check their pulse, check their respiration rate, and give due vaccinations. (“”, 2017)  Answering any questions owners may have is a responsibility of veterinarians. ("What Does a Vet Do During a Routine Checkup?", 2017)

       There are certain educational requirements that veterinarians must meet.  They must attend undergraduate school. These people should have a bachelor’s degree in a science related field such as zoology, molecular biology, chemistry, animal science, or biochemistry.  Some instances do not require students to obtain a 4 year degree. Students who do not complete undergraduate school generally must have completed 45-90 semester hours. Vets also need to have a license. They must attain this license by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Some states also have additional requirements such as the passage of veterinary law and clinical skills exams.  Professional certification is usually not required but is greatly encouraged. (“”, 2017)

Veterinarians need to have many skills and abilities in order to be successful.  They must be able to make good business decisions.   They need to be able to manage finances and the other demands of veterinary clinics.  Great communication skills are needed.  Veterinarians must be able to speak effectively with pet owners to determine exactly what the animals need.  They must also be able to communicate to owners the diagnoses of pets and the treatments they need to be given. Compassion is something that veterinarians must be full of and must express this compassion to both pets and their owners.  They must put both animals and owners at ease during their visit. Great customer service skills are also needed.  Excellent veterinarians are able to satisfy the animal needs of pet owners.  Veterinarians must be highly determined and dedicated.  The profession requires many hours of study both in college and in continuing educational courses.  Much skill is needed in performing challenging tasks, especially with the hands.  The restraint of various-sized animals is often required. Intricate procedures and surgical maneuvers need to be performed with ease.  Veterinarians need to be passionate about what they do.  They need to truly be concerned about owners and their pets and they must be committed to providing them with the best care. Quick decision making skills are needed. In emergency situations, vets must be able to decide and react quickly.  Veterinarians need to be very smart.  They need to have an inclusive knowledge of the anatomy, ailments, and behaviors of the many animals that they treat.  Time management skills are a necessity of veterinarians.  They must be able to balance the demands of a filled appointment schedule without panicking.  (“Top 10 Qualities of a Great Veterinarian.”, 2017) The duties involved with being a veterinarian may seem overwhelming, but if you can handle the responsibilities being a veterinarian will pay off greatly in the end.

       The job availability and career longevity for veterinarians is good. There will continue to be a need for veterinarians in the future to diagnose and treat animals. However, there will be much competition for veterinary positions.  Most veterinary graduates are attracted to small animal care so fewer job opportunities will be available in this field than in the field of large animal practice. Job seekers who have had past experience and a specialization have a better chance of receiving a job.  The employment of veterinarians is expected to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, resulting in 6,900 new jobs. This is faster than the average for all occupations.  In 2014 there were 78,300 jobs. There is expected to be 85,200 in 2024.  (“Summary.”, 2017) Veterinarians are needed all over the world.  Anyone, anywhere, could own a small pet that needs to be cared for.  The expectation of a steady job should be fulfilled with this career.

       Much experience is needed for this job.  Having an animal and working near animals, such as on a farm or at a zoo are great ways to gain experience during your early years. However, more experience is needed than this. Veterinarians must complete a 4 year Doctor of Medicine Program consisting of classroom instruction and clinical practice. ("Steps to Becoming a Veterinarian (Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Major).", 2017) Completing an internship or residency program for this career is generally not required but is greatly encouraged during or after undergraduate school. (“”, 2017) Although a plethora of experience is not needed, the more experience you can get the more successful you will be.

       Veterinarians can expect to have a healthy income.  In Pennsylvania, veterinarians earn an hourly wage of $49.50.  The starting wage is $26.37 while experienced veterinarians can make up to $82.46 an hour.  Their median salary is $102,950 per year. Beginning veterinarians make a starting salary near $58,840.  Skilled veterinarians can earn up to $171,510 per year. Veterinarians earn more than 92% of animal careers in Pennsylvania and their salaries are in the top 89% of all careers in Pennsylvania. This is wonderful! ("Veterinarian." , 2017) In the United States, veterinarians earned a median salary of $88,490 in 2015. The best-paid veterinarians earned $158,260, while the lowest-paid earned $53,210. ("How Much Can a Veterinarian Expect to Get Paid?" , 2017) Veterinarians can expect to make an appreciable amount of money.

Shanksville Senior '17...Future Communications Student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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