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A Career as a Veterinary Surgeon

There’s more to being a Veterinarian than treating sick animals!

Being a veterinarian is more than just treating sick animals! Providing great customer service, assisting with the personal and professional development of colleagues and nursing staff, consoling owners and assisting in the development of a sustainable practice are just a handful of the activities that Veterinarians are expected to do today.

When a graduate Veterinarian finishes at university they have been trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent health problems in small and large animals, exotics and even wildlife

There are two main duties of a veterinarian. Firstly to educate and medicate animals with preventative treatments such as annual health checks and vaccines, diets, flea and worm control and more. Second, to examine and assess the illness or injury suffered by an animal and then to decide on a possible treatment which will be discussed and agreed with the pet owner.

To assist a vet in making a diagnosis, most quality veterinary practices have a range of tools at their disposal including laboratory equipment to asses tissues, faeces, blood, urine and other fluids, diagnostic equipment such as x-rays and ultrasound.

General Practitioner vets are different to human doctors in that veterinarians not only make a diagnosis but also carry out a lot of the medical and surgical treatment themselves.Veterinarians can go on to specialise in more specific areas of medicine, which requires further post graduate studies.

Respecting humans – and not just talking to the animals

As well as being able to relate to humans, a good small animal veterinarian needs to be able to communicate and relate with people effectively. Much of a veterinarian’s time is spent discussing pet wellness and preventative care with owners and working in a tight-knit team of healthcare professionals.

Every day is different, whilst some may run smoothly and efficiently a Veterinarian also needs to be able to manage unpredictable workflow. When the waiting room is filled with clients, and an emergency case walks through the door, or you need to spend extra time with a grieving client, a Veterinarian needs the patience, organisation and decision making skills to make critical decisions with little room for error.

It’s hard work and requires perseverance

Entrance into the university degree is highly competitive. Due to the difficult nature of entry into this course, it is beneficial to undertake work experience as it shows interest and commitment to the industry.

For more information on a career as a veterinary surgeon with Animal Ark see our Vacancies page.

For more information on veterinary careers in general, see the career advice sections at rcvs.org.uk