Veterinarians (vets) provide animal health and welfare services. They are also involved in food safety, public health, and environmental management. In general, they:
- perform routine, emergency, and post-mortem exams
- diagnose diseases
- provide advice about preventive health care and herd health
- vaccinate animals against infectious diseases
- treat a wide range of injuries and disease
- perform dental work on various species
- perform surgery on animals
- provide obstetrical and embryo transfer services
- keep records of sick animals
- provide humane euthanasia services.
Diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries, and other conditions often involves:
- collecting, examining, and studying samples including:
- body tissue
- other body fluids
- taking and reading x-rays
- giving anesthesia and performing exploratory surgery
- doing ultrasounds
- performing endoscopies
- doing contract studies.
Preventive medical services include:
- parasite control programs
- vaccinations against common viral and bacterial diseases
- routine exams
- advice about hygiene, nutrition, and general care and breeding of animals
- quality assurance programs for food animal species
- routine blood work
- routine dentistry.
Some veterinarians provide services for a wide range of animals. Others restrict their practices to specific types of animals. These may include:
- food-producing animals (beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry, or fish)
- domestic pets and small animals
- exotic birds and animals
- wildlife and alternative livestock
- aquatic species.
Some vets specialize in a medical discipline such as:
- diagnostic imaging
Veterinarians who work with large animals may focus their practice on herd health. In this area, herd management, monitoring, and regulatory medicine are important.
Vets with private practices are small business owners. They must manage human resources, finances, and inventory and market the business.
Some vets become representatives for food or drug companies. They promote certain products or practices.
Salaried veterinarians may provide a wide range of services. These include wildlife conservation, public health, food safety, agriculture development, disease surveillance, or animal welfare services. Salaried vets working in private practice are referred to as associates.