Becoming a Livestock, Food, & Large Animal Veterinarian – Decoding the Facts!

Kiran Singh

With millions of Americans having pets and dogs, they think that veterinarians are the doctors you find in hospitals inside a tiled room. Well! That’s only half true. Not all animal doctors spend their time inside an animal hospital.

Some doctors need to travel to make sure that large animals are healthy. In other words, some doctors have to take care of animals like horses, cows, goats, Llamas, and other similar large animals. For instance, if you take care of horses, people will refer to you as an equine veterinarian. And if you manage livestock, the professional will call you livestock veterinarians.

But how are they different from regular veterinarians? Keep scrolling and find out everything about large veterinarians and how to become one.

Becoming a Livestock, Food, & Large Animal Veterinarian - Decoding the Facts!

Large Veterinarian – Who Are They And What Are Their Roles?

Large veterinarians take care of all the health needs of the livestock, food, and other large animals. Their initial training is similar to any other animal doctor. And that includes degree and clinical rotations. The only difference is that they have to further study during their residency to capture the right skills needed for the job.

Ideally, they take care of the following things:

  • They take care of the health conditions through regular testing and examinations.
  • They diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses.
  • They take care of medical technology like X-rays.

Besides this, they also help owners euthanize injured or sick animals. Since they specialize in treating different large animals, they need to manage large herds.

It doesn’t end here! The role and responsibilities also require them to:

  • Play a vital role in maintaining the safety of humans and their health. In other words, you need to identify all the conditions that might severely impact public health. Precisely why experts suggest having disability insurance for veterinarians since it covers you and protects you on and off the job.
  • You can even support the businesses like farms, ranches, and others as consultants regarding everyday tasks like food, exercise, and other attributes related to animals.

Even though you have the expertise, the critical question to ask yourself is:

But do you have the right skills?

Besides the professional expertise, you need to have compassion and an agile personality to make informed decisions suitable for everyone. Of course, the love for animals is essential here. But this work profile requires some decisions related to humans as well.

Aspiring vets need to work on their interpersonal skills. And if you are thinking of starting a private practice, understanding the basics of HR, accounting, and other similar skills is of utmost importance.

All in all, adaptability is an essential trait in this scope of work. Remember, all the symptoms don’t indicate your anticipated condition. So, be proactive and make quick decisions as per the situation.

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Becoming a Veterinarian: How to Become One?

As we mentioned before, you need to complete your degree from an accredited school. But the time you take to become one depends on different factors like career goals, your respective situations. Ideally, it requires around eight years to get a degree.

Let’s break it down into different stages.

  • You must complete your degree to have the minimum eligibility to take the license exam. As per the survey, you must prepare for veterinary school. This means you need to understand animal husbandry, biology, zoology, and similar subjects. Besides that, if you have some real-life experiences, it would give you an edge when preparing to enter a vet school.
  • When you enter a school, you need to complete your education and participate in clinical rotations in your final year. So, if you want to work with large animals, make sure to work on farms or ranches to have some experience in handling such animals.
  • Once you earn your degree, you must have the required license to practice as a professional expert in this world. Ideally, you need to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. You might even need to pass some state licensing exams.

Besides this, you might even opt for any additional clinical training. While this is not important for everyone, this will be vital if you wish to work for livestock.

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What to expect once you have all the required licenses?

You need to work full time. But the hours might vary. Some even need to work during weekends or evening hours. This depends mainly on emergencies. You need to understand that working as a large animal vet is relatively challenging. So, you might have to work in a nonclinical environment for medical procedures or treatment.

But the good part is that an annual salary for this post is around $90,000. Some might even earn approximately $150,000. But it varies from place to place. In the end, one can say the profession is equally financially rewarding as well.

Wrapping Up

Becoming livestock, food, and large animal veterinarian is not only mentally straining but it’s also physically demanding. You must not ignore the risk of attacks or injuries caused by large animals. So, you need to keep an eye on the animal’s mental state, mood and accordingly devise the course of action.

Since you need to help the patient or carry them in certain situations, you must take care of your physical strength as well. Also, your scope of work requires you to expose yourself to a variety of fluids and pathogens. So, you must keep in mind all the precautions when dealing with such large animals.

Moreover, the profession is pretty much emotionally draining as well. So, you need to take care of the stress levels when working with these animals. Practising stress management techniques will help you grow in this field without impacting your health.

All in all, it won’t be wrong to say that this field is quite lucrative for many reasons. Why? It’s because there will always be veterinarians retiring. So, the need for replacements never suffices. Besides an increase in modern medicine, there is a demand for preventive animal care and advanced procedures. Also, the need for vets is increasing in rural areas.

So, get your degree from a good school, get the required license and certification. And start your career as a large animal veterinarian.

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*Do connect with me on Instagram at @KiranSinghUK for behind the scenes, daily updates, inspiration and more!

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