Many individuals know they would like to become a veterinarian, but some don’t realize the different types of animals with whom they could interact. A veterinarian isn’t restricted to treating for people’s pets; they can work with smaller, or even larger animals.
Sometimes, they work with animals that can’t be kept as pets. There are approximately six different types of vets: small animal practitioners, exotic veterinarian, large animal veterinarian, wildlife veterinarian, specialty veterinarian, and research veterinarian.A small animal practitioner is the most common; these professionals work with domestic pets and smaller mammals. While some choose to focus specifically on cats and dogs, others widen the range to include rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets. Exotic veterinarians usually treat animals that aren’t the typical domestic pets, such as cats and dogs. Some animals these professionals will work with include reptiles, hedgehogs, birds, prairie dogs, and chinchillas. As the population is steadily increasing its unusual pet selection, exotic practitioners are more likely to be in demand. .
Large animal veterinarians will often find themselves on farms, or other areas where livestock is the main population. While all veterinarians must take precautions while working with animals, treating larger animals can be especially hazardous. If an animal steps or stomps onto the practitioner’s foot, or suddenly becomes scared or nervous, serious damage may be done. Animals that commonly fall into the livestock category include sheep, cattle, horses, goats, pigs, and chickens. .
A wildlife veterinarian works with wild animals. These animals may be found in common wooded areas in the U.S., or may have been transported from the plains of Africa. Professionals in this particular field may find work at zoological societies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or bird sanctuaries. These professionals commonly choose to practice within a certain area, so understanding the animal and bird species in their given region will be extremely beneficial.
Specialty veterinarians still work with animals, but in a more focused field. For instance, these individuals may choose to become dentists, ophthalmologists, or cardiologists, all for animals. A specific species may also be chosen, such as an avian vet (birds), or an equine vet (horses and donkeys).
A research veterinarian will work in a lab setting, researching pathology, biomedical research, and microbiology, among others. These individuals are responsible for researching animal-related health problems such as the West Nile Virus and Mad Cow Disease. The most common place of work for these individuals is government or state-run agencies.
During education, certain hands-on requirements must be fulfilled. While internships and practice in the field are usually required, supervision is typically required before a veterinarian is qualified enough to perform tasks on their own.