Veterinary medicine programs prepare people to work as doctors for animals. Students learn the health needs of animals. They learn to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. They also learn to comfort animals and educate owners.
Cats. Dogs. Horses. Cows. Gerbils. Hamsters. Snakes. Sheep. Pigs. Rabbits. Goats. Fish. There are a lot of animals out there, and nearly all those listed above are loved and cared for by people! Although most people who own cows, sheep, pigs, and goats are usually farmers, people everywhere enjoy all kinds of animals as pets. And no matter if you are a fish farmer or a proud owner of a pot-bellied pig, animals need medical care just as people do. Animals get cavities, colds, and even serious diseases like cancer. Veterinarians are trained to treat various kinds of animals. They have a love for animals and their well-being.
In veterinary medicine programs, you take courses in many areas of science. These include microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. You also take biochemistry, anatomy, genetics, and immunology. In addition, you take courses about specific animals and their organ systems. For example, you can study the anatomy of large animals, such as horses and cattle. Furthermore, you learn about animal behavior and surgical, medical, and dental techniques. These can include taking X-rays, spaying and neutering, and teeth cleaning.
There are about 30 veterinary medicine programs in the U.S. Typically they take four years to complete after you complete the necessary undergraduate course work for your bachelor's degree.
It is also possible to specialize while in veterinary medical school. Many students choose to concentrate on small or large animals. You can also choose to specialize in areas such as obstetrics, oncology, or animal nutrition by enrolling in a clinical residency after you graduate from veterinary medical school. Residencies allow you to become board certified and focus your veterinary career on a narrow area. Clinical residencies typically take two years to complete after you finish your veterinary medical degree.
Most graduates from veterinary medicine programs care for patients privately in group or individual practices. A degree in veterinary medicine can also be used to work as a researcher for drug companies. You can even work as a meat inspector or a consultant for large livestock farms.