Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Studying in the field
Veterinary medicine is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the diseases of domestic animals and the management of other animal disorders. The field also deals with those diseases that are intercommunicable between animals and humans (britannica.com). The field of veterinary medicine has existed as both an art and a science as early as 2000 BC in Babylonia and Egypt, and is derived from the Latin term veterinarius, "pertaining to beasts of burden."
Four broad divisions of veterinary medicine include: internal medicine-diagnosis and treatment of diseases; surgery-wound treatment and bodily repair; preventive medicine-public health concerns, especially with regard to human welfare; and clinical practice-assist with diseases or other conditions requiring attention. Overall, veterinary medicine, through its dissemination of scientific advances assists in maintaining the health of both animals and humans.
Graduate degrees granted in veterinary medicine are the PhD and DVM. Requisite coursework in veterinary medicine curriculums include: anatomy, histology, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology (including bacteriology, virology, and parasitology), and pathology. Areas of specialization may include:
- Infectious Disease
- Comparative Medicine and Pathology
- Population Medicine
An integral part of veterinary medicine programs are the research opportunities for students, which are available through one's college laboratories, other colleges or health centers.
Upon completion of the veterinary medicine program, students must obtain a license to practice. Upon licensure, one can obtain membership with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which provides information on standards and services of the profession in accordance with the Veterinarian's Oath. Depending on your area of interest, research multiple programs to determine which program will fit your needs.
Job opportunities in the field
Careers in veterinary medicine are numerous. Those interested in pursuing this career should keep in mind that a veterinarian usually works long hours and is often on call for emergencies. Veterinarians are also at risk of being kicked, scratched or bitten by frightened animals. However, in the areas of public health and research, veterinarians usually work with other individuals instead of animals. Some veterinary career options include: jobs with State and local governments, colleges of veterinary medicine, medical schools, research laboratories, animal food companies, pharmaceutical companies, and zoos; zoos regularly hire contracted private practitioners on a part-time basis. How cool would it be to work at a zoo?