What Vets Can Do
Food Animal Vets: These veterinarians are not necessarily specialists. They choose to work with food animals such as dairy cows, beef cattle, swine (pigs), sheep, and goats. Much of their day is devoted to reproductive exams, vaccination, herd health checks, and the occasional surgery.
Poultry Vets: These veterinarians are involved with flock health of broilers and layer chickens, as well as turkeys and other poultry species.
Aquaculture Vets: These veterinarians treat food fish in hatcheries and similar sites. They are heavily involved in preventative medicine.
Equine Vets: These veterinarians are also not required to specialize, but many do. Most equine vets travel to their patients. They do pre-purchase exams, general exams, vaccination, and treat things such as colic, lameness, and wounds. Some equine vets work in hospitals where mostly surgical cases are seen.
Small Animal Vets: These veterinarians treat cats and dogs. Both the healthy and ill animal are seen. Surgery is also performed by most small animal vets.
Exotic Vets: Veterinarians who choose to treat birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals (like ferrets, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hedgehogs and hamsters) are considered exotic vets.
Avian Vets: Veterinarians who treat birds of all kinds are "avian vets", however this is also a specialty through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. These specialists have a thorough working knowledge of avian medicine and surgery.
Zoo Vets: The majority of zoo vets are diplomats of the American College of Zoological Medicine. They work at zoological institutions such as zoos, wild animal parks, marine mammal rescues, and aquariums.
Laboratory Vets: Lab animal veterinarians are specialists through the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. They work for medical and veterinary research facilites and treat animals such as: rats, mice, guinea pigs, non-human primates, cats, and dogs.
Vet Pathologists: This is another specialist career. Pathologists perform necropsies, biopsies, and examine tissue for signs of disease.
Vet Oncologists: These veterinarians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This means they do a lot of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Vet Internists: The specialty of these veterinarians is "internal medicine". They diagnose and treat all diseases of the internal organs and systems.
Emergency Medicine & Critical Care: This position does not require specialization, however specialization is available. These vets quickly respond to emergencies (often trauma or toxins) and stabilize the patient. They must be "quick thinkers" and must be able to stay calm amongst all the excitement. Critical care refers to the care required by "critically ill" patients -- those that may easily die.
Vet Behaviorists: This is a specialty position. Veterinary behaviorists help animals with behavior problems such as aggression, separation anxiety, and fear. They may use drugs or behavioral modification techniques to help these patients.
Veterinary Surgeons: These veterinarians do surgery all day! They are specialists through the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Some choose to sub-specialize in equine surgery, soft tissue surgery, or orthopedic surgery. They are highly trained to do most every type of surgery.
Vet Epidemiologists: Many of these veterinarians work for national organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control or the FDA. They study the patterns of disease in populations and often respond to outbreaks of specific diseases. This is a specialty position.
Vet Public Health Specialists: This specialist studies the affects of animal disease on public health. They aim to prevent disease spread from animals to humans.
Vet Opthalmologists: This specialist is an expert in the diseases of the eye in all types of animals. They perform surgery and treat disease of the eye.
Vet Radiologists: These veterinarians specialize in the use of x-rays for diagnosing disease in animals. Many also are interested in other diagnostic imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI.
Vet Neurologists: These are highly trained specialists of the neurological system. They perform brain and spinal surgery (and other neuro-surgery) and diagnose and treat various neurological disorders (an example is epilepsy).
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