Qualifying as a vet takes a lot of studying and dedication. A love of working with animals is just part of the job which at times can be an extremely challenging career. The reward for all the hard work is a very satisfying job helping owners with their domestic pets, farmers with their stock and zoo keepers with their exotic, wild animals.

It is not that easy to become a vet – and you will need to get a degree from a recognized vet school through a university in your country of residence. Once qualified, you will have to be prepared to work irregular and long hours showing a lot of sensitivity, patience and sympathy with both the animals you treat and their owners or keepers.

Vets treating a baby elephant Knowing What is Involved in Becoming a Vet Working as a vet in a general practice specializing in animal care would see you doing all sorts of different jobs within the practice which include the following: You will carry out a range of tests which includes X-rays and scans on many different sorts of animals You will be responsible for providing care for in-patients It will be up to you to diagnose and treat sick and injured animals You will have to neuter animals for owners One of your tasks would be to operate on ill or injured animals Part of your duties would be to carry out regular health checks, give vaccinations as well as offer advice to pet owners on care and diet for their pets Your duties would include checking on farm animals and advising farmers and smallholders on how to stop diseases spreading You will be expected to carry out euthanasia for terminally ill or severely injured animals and pets You will be responsible for supervising veterinary nurses as well as support staff You will be expected to keep exact records of the treatments carried out on a daily basis Ray room at a veterinary clinic What Other Duties are Vets Required to do? Some vets are involved in certain types of inspection. This involves visiting different sites where animals are kept to check hygiene and standards of care. This could be in kennels, catteries, zoos, pet shops, cattle markets and riding stables.

Other vets decide to work on a full-time basis for governmental departments; in the UK, it is DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The role of these vets is to help control animal diseases with a view to protecting the public. In the UK, there are two paths to choose in this particular veterinary role with the first being to work in the Veterinary Field Service (VFS) and the second is at the Veterinary Investigation Centers (VICS).

What Training & Qualifications Do You Need? It takes five years to qualify as a vet – if you go to Cambridge University it takes six years to get your degree which includes both practical and clinical training. However, to be able to register for a degree course, you need a minimum of 3 GCSEs (A-C) and these would have to be English, chemistry, biology, math and physics – you could also qualify if you have a combined science, double award. When it comes to A levels, you need to have passed a minimum of 3 with AAB levels which would have to be in chemistry with the other two being either biology, math or physics.

Certain universities will accept other qualifications like a BTEC Diploma in Animal Science/Animal Management but with distinction grades only. For anyone who cannot achieve the required grades or subjects, there are a few universities that offer a six-year degree course where the first year is spent preparing a student for the five-year degree course. Students, who have achieved a first or upper second-class honors degree in any science related subject, could be exempt from doing part of a veterinary degree course.

Conclusion It takes a lot of hard work to qualify as a veterinary surgeon and then afterwards a vet has to show complete commitment and dedication to their work. Not everyone is cut out to be a vet, even if they achieve the academic requirements to do the degree course. However, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that takes you to new levels with veterinary medicine constantly improving. This means as a vet, you will be constantly learning about new animal treatments as they are developed.

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