Veterinary science is a medical profession that deals with the control of disease in animals. A veterinarian or a doctor of animals' primary responsibility is to look after the health and welfare of the animals. It also includes the breeding and scientific handling of livestock. Veterinarians can choose to work in urban areas, where the work would mostly include the care and handling of domestic pets, or with the government's animal husbandry departments.
The demand for veterinary doctors has increased tremendously. More and more people are keeping pets, both for companionship and protection, than ever before. Many more women, too, are entering this profession today.
Nature of Work
The job profile of veterinarians is probably much more than that of a general physician or a surgeon.
They diagnose the disease; work to prevent and control animal diseases; treat sick and injured animals; prevent the transmission of the animal diseases to people and advise owners on proper care of the pets and the livestock.
Approach in treatment can also vary according to different animals. Those handling domestic pets have to keep in mind the owner's attachment to the pet and provide individual attention and care.
In farm animal practice, vets are concerned not only with treating animals which are owner's investment, but also with advising on the well-being and productivity of the entire stock.
A veterinarian should have a genuine love for animals. Aptitude and interest in the biological sciences are important. Scientific learning and undertaking of animals is required.
Working with large animals requires physical stamina and quick body reflexes to tackle the animal's moody behaviour. Other qualities are:- ability to inspire confidence in animals; power of observation and self-reliance; adaptability; indifference to the occasionally disagreeable conditions of work; the ability for team work.
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
- College of Veterinary Science, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
- College of Veterinary Science, Guwahati, Assam.
- College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Ranchi, Jharkhand.
- Bihar Veterinary College, Patna, Bihar.
- College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Anand, Gujarat.
- Bombay Veterinary College, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- College of Veterinary Science, Ludhiana, Punjab.
- College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bikaner, Rajasthan.
- Madras Veterinary College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
- College of Veterinary Science, Pantnagar, Uttar Pradesh.
- Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai.
- West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Calcutta.
Most veterinary surgeons develop a particular area of expertise.
- Private Practice: Veterinary doctors in urban areas can set up private practice to deal mainly with small or domestic animals. This can be quite profitable, especially in big cities, but tends to get restricted to canine and feline pets.
- Hospitals: Veterinary surgeons attached to veterinary hospitals in cities may also find themselves handling mainly domestic pets. But the government postings could also be in rural areas where responsibilities extend to cattle, sheep, goats, horses, poultry, etc.
- Extension Officers: Veterinary doctors are required for extension programmes, i.e. they educate and encourage livestock farmers to build up the quality of their animal stock. They also advise on animal farm management and animal health problems.
- Dairy Sector: The veterinarian doctors employed by the dairy sector work at ensuring increasing yields in milk production, and also the health and breeding of dairy cattle.
- Pharmaceutical Companies: Veterinarians are employed in the pharmaceutical companies where they handle the production of vaccines, or the development of animal feeds and fertilizers.
- Wildlife and Environment: Vets play an important role in captive breeding of wild animals, particularly those feared to be getting extinct. This helps in maintaining the ecological balance and in catering to the health of wild animals.
Within the veterinary field itself, there are several career options. After a student graduates as a vet, he/she can opt for a Post Graduation or Ph.D. in specialized areas like surgery, andrology or medicine, or take up the job of a livestock development officer. Other than these, a vet can also join dairy and poultry farms as a doctor or become a marketing officer for a pharmaceutical company.
Wildlife and zoo veterinarians promote natural ecology and cater to the health problems in wildlife in zoos, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Army veterinarians can work as officers of the Remount Veterinary corps.
In India, an average vet makes anything between Rs.10,000 to Rs.80,000 per month. This depends upon the kind of practice and the animals that are treated.