What is a vet? Vets diagnose and control animal diseases - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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What is a vet? Vets diagnose and control animal diseases


What is a vet? Vets diagnose and control animal diseases, treat sick and injured animals, prevent the transmission of animal diseases ( zoonoses ) to people and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is a vet? Vets diagnose and control animal diseases

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What is a vet?
Veterinary surgeons are medical professionals
whose primary responsibility is protecting the
health and welfare of animals and people.
  • Vets diagnose and control animal diseases, treat
    sick and injured animals, prevent the
    transmission of animal diseases (zoonoses) to
    people and advise owners on proper care of pets
    and livestock. They help to ensure a safe food
    supply by maintaining the health of food animals.
    Vets are also involved in wildlife preservation
    and conservation and the public health of the
    human population.

Vets provide a variety of services in private
clinical practice, teaching, research, government
service, public health, military service and
private industry.
How much would I be paid?
In 2003 a newly graduated vet could expect to
earn between 17,000 and 27,000. This may
include a car and/or accommodation. The median
salary new graduates were paid in 2003 was
Median starting salaries (2003)
Investment banking
Veterinary Surgeon
Senior house officer (Medical doctor)
Civil engineering
Retail management
Actuarial work
Human resources
General management
Electrical engineering
Financial management
Mechanical engineering
Science, RD
Personal abilities needed by a vet
  • Individuals who are interested in veterinary
    medicine should have an enquiring mind and keen
    powers of observation. An aptitude for, and
    interest in the sciences are important.
  • As well as a fondness for animals, vets need a
    life-long interest in scientific learning. Vets
    should also be able to meet, talk and work with a
    wide variety of people.
  • Vets may have to euthanase (humanely kill) an
    animal that is very sick or severely injured and
    cannot get well. When an animal dies, the vet
    must deal with the owner's grief and loss and so
    must have excellent communication skills.

Pluses and minuses of a veterinary career
  • Like most professions, there are pluses and
    minuses to a veterinary career. The primary
    reward for all vets is the personal satisfaction
    of knowing that they are improving the quality of
    life for both animals and people.
  • Companion animal (small animal) vets, who own
    their practices, determine the nature of their
    practice and set their own working hours. They
    may be asked to treat a variety of animals such
    as llamas, catfish or ostriches, as well as cats,
    dogs, rabbits, gerbils and birds etc. Companion
    animal vets usually treat animals in hospitals or

Large animal (farm animal) vets practise out of
well-equipped cars and may drive considerable
distances from their practice base to farms. They
work outdoors in all kinds of weather. The chief
risk for vets is injury from animals however,
modern tranquillisers and technology have made it
much easier for vets to work on animals.
Pluses and minuses of a veterinary career
  • Vets who are employed by government agencies,
    laboratories, colleges, and commercial firms
    often have responsibility for large health
    programmes and may manage large numbers of
  • Most vets work 50 or more hours a week however,
    about a fifth work 40 hours a week. Those in
    private practice may work nights and weekends and
    are sometimes required to be on call. Large
    animal vets tend to work more irregular hours
    than do those in small animal practice, industry,
    or government.

Being a vet also involves large amounts of
Career paths available private practice
Vets in private clinical practice work to prevent
disease and other health problems in their
patients. They examine animal patients, vaccinate
them against diseases, prevent the transmission
of animal disease to people (zoonoses) and
advise owners on ways to keep pets and livestock
well nourished and healthy. The provision of
24-hour service is mandatory.
  • When health problems develop, the vet must
    diagnose the problem and treat the patients.
    Accurate diagnosis frequently requires the use of
    laboratory tests, radiographs (x-rays) and
    specialised equipment. Treatments may involve a
    number of procedures including emergency
    lifesaving measures prescribing medication
    setting a fracture delivering a calf performing
    surgery or advising the owner on feeding and
    care of the patient.

Career paths available
Public health   vets in government and private
laboratories provide diagnostic and testing
services, help to prevent and control animal and
human diseases and maintain the countrys health
status. Veterinary pathologists advise general
practitioners on diseases, based on the results
of scientific analysis on samples sent to them by
the GP. Veterinary epidemiologists investigate
animal and human disease outbreaks such as
food-borne illness, BSE, food-and-mouth disease.
They evaluate the safety of food processing
plants and abattoirs.
  • Army  there is a small army vet corps, based in
    the Melton Mowbray area. A vet is usually
    enlisted at captain rank.
  • Politics   many vets become involved in
    veterinary politics, representing the profession
    through the BVA which helps to steer the
    professions future direction.

Types of private practice
  • Companion often sophisticated treatment of the
    individual patient be it a cat, dog, hamster,
    gerbil, budgie or other commonly kept pets.
  • Exotic reptiles, snakes, rarer birds. Many vets
    do a little of this, few vets specialise in this
  • Farm animal cattle, sheep, and pigs are the
    more common species treated, but vets are often
    asked to treat chickens and other domestic fowl,
    fish and other food producing animals. The job of
    the vet is more to ensure health of the herd and
    prevent disease than to treat individual animals.
  • Equine  treatment of horses, ponies and donkeys.

Types of private practice
  • Referral  can do any of the above but has
    specialised in a certain field and usually will
    have additional qualifications
  • Mixed practice  treats more than one of the
    above categories, some mixed practices will treat
  • Zoos  specialised general practitioners treat
    and improve the productivity of zoo animals.
    Often involves some research in order to
    understand wild animals, ultimately to improve
    their survival and reproduction rates in the zoo

Career paths available teaching and research
  • In addition to teaching, veterinary school
    faculty members conduct basic and clinical
    research, contribute to scientific publications
    and may see clinical cases.
  • Vets involved in research seek better ways to
    prevent and solve animal and human health
    problems. Many problems, such as cancer and
    cardiovascular disease, are studied through the
    use of laboratory animals, which are carefully
    bred, raised, and maintained under the
    supervision of vets.
  • In addition to developing ways to reduce or
    eliminate the threat of animal diseases, vets
    involved in research have made many direct
    contributions to human health. Vets were the
    first to isolate Salmonella species. They also
    helped conquer malaria and defined and developed
    surgical techniques for humans, such as hip-joint
    replacement and limb and organ transplants.

Career paths available industry
  • Vets working in pharmaceutical and biomedical
    research firms develop, test, and supervise the
    production of drugs, chemicals, and biological
  • These vets usually have specialised training in
    pharmacology, virology, bacteriology, pathology,
    parasitology, toxicology, nutrition,
    endocrinology, or laboratory animal medicine.
  • Vets are also employed in management, technical
    sales and services, and marketing in
    agribusinesses, pet food companies and
    pharmaceutical companies.

Entrance to UK vet schools
  • There are six vet schools in the UK, in the
    following cities

Bristol Cambridge Edinburgh Glasgow London Liverpo
It is possible to study abroad should you have
difficulty getting into a UK vet school, or
simply wish to travel and experience a different
culture whilst you study. To study abroad you
will probably have to pay full tuition fees, and
if you are considering this option the best thing
to do is to contact the universities in which you
have an interest.
Life as a vet student
  • The veterinary degree lasts five years (six years
    at Cambridge) and is extremely demanding.
    Subjects covered include basic sciences for the
    first couple of years eg physiology, biochemistry
    and then becomes more practical in the clinical

In the holidays students are expected to complete
extra mural studies (EMS). This consists of 12
weeks on farms. Students are expected to complete
26 weeks of EMS in different veterinary
practices, including one week at an abattoir and
one week at a veterinary laboratory agency.
Life as a vet student
  • At present, on completing the veterinary degree
    you will qualify as an omni competent vet, no
    matter what your final plans are. This means that
    even if you have no interest in it in the future,
    you will have to learn about all areas of
    veterinary medicine, from rectal examinations,
    post mortems, dissections, and abattoir visits,
    to small animal surgery. It is essential that you
    only apply to veterinary school if you are
    prepared to do all of this.

On the lighter side vet students are renowned for
their wild parties (eg events organised by the
Association of Veterinary Students) and the
ability to work hard, play hard.        
Vet school entry requirements
  • Academic
  • These vary slightly from one vet school to
    another, but realistically you need to have or be
    predicted to achieve straight As at A-level or
    AAABB grades for SCE Highers and high grades
    (mostly A/ As) at GCSE.
  • Extra-curricular
  • Admissions boards also require candidates to have
    carried out work experience within various
    aspects of the veterinary and animal industries.
    This may involve seeing practice at your local
    veterinary surgery or working at stables, farms,
    kennels/catteries, zoos or abattoirs. Don't
    forget to get references from your placements.
  • The vet schools are looking for well balanced
    candidates so evidence of other hobbies and
    interests is extremely valuable in applying to
    veterinary medicine.

University tuition fees
  • At the moment students pay 1,125 a year towards
    their tuition fees, this is reduced for students
    coming from families with incomes under 32,000.
  • The maximum loan that you can apply for in
    2004/05 is
  •       4,095 for students living away from home
  •       5,050 for students in London and living
    away from home
  •       3,240 for students living at home
  • All students are eligible for 75 per cent of the
    loan whether you are offered the rest depends on
    your familys income.
  • Fees at the Scottish universities No up-front
    tuition fees. Graduate endowment payable after
    graduation (2,092) for 2003-04. Therefore very
    similar situation to that in England once top up
    fees are introduced.
  • The governments proposals for top-up fees will
    come into action in 2006.

Frequently asked questions
  • Q Can I take a gap year?
  • A Opinions on deferred entrants varies between
    vet schools, so it is best to contact the
    individual schools.
  • Q What happens if I dont get in first time?
  • A If you are really set upon becoming a vet,
    take a gap year, get some more work experience
    and reapply the next year. If you still dont
    get in, then it is possible to do a related
    degree and reapply to vet school as a graduate
    student or alternatively apply to vet schools
    abroad. However, if you do this you will have to
    pay the full tuition fees (about 12,000 a year)
    for your veterinary degree.
  • Q What is the optimum amount of work experience
    I can do?
  • A When considering applicants, vet schools are
    looking for people with a genuine interest in
    veterinary medicine, who understand all areas of
    the veterinary profession and who are willing to
    get involved practically. Therefore the greater
    your range of work experience the better, eg a
    day in an abattoir and working in a laboratory
    will show that you are aware of and have explored
    the range of jobs available to vets.

More information about veterinary careers can
be found on the BVAs website
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