Veterinarians care for pets, livestock,
sporting and laboratory animals, and protect humans against diseases
carried by animals. Veterinarians diagnose medical problems, dress
wounds, set broken bones, perform surgery, prescribe and administer
medicines, and vaccinate animals against diseases. They also advise
owners on care and breeding.
Most veterinarians are in private practice.
Some have a general practice, treating all kinds of animals. The majority,
however, just treat small companion animals such as dogs, cats, and
birds. Others treat both small and larger animals, and some treat
only large animals, such as cattle and horses.
In America, veterinarians in companion
animal medicine provide services in more than 20,000 animal hospitals
or clinics; 80% of these only treat cats and some only treat birds.
Veterinarians for large animals treat
and care for cattle, horses, sheep, and swine. They also advise ranchers
and farmers on the care, breeding, and management of livestock. Others
specialize in fish and poultry.
Veterinarians contribute to human as
well as animal health. A number of veterinarians engage in research,
food safety inspection, or education. Some work with physicians and
scientists on research to prevent and treat diseases in humans. Veterinarians
are also in regulatory medicine or public health. Those who are livestock
inspectors check animals for disease, advise owners on treatment,
and may quarantine animals. Veterinarians who are meat inspectors
examine slaughtering and processing plants, check live animals and
carcasses for disease, and enforce government food purity as well
as sanitation regulations. Some veterinarians care for zoo or aquarium
animals or for laboratory animals.
Veterinarians help prevent the outbreak
and spread of animal diseases, some of which-like rabies-can be transmitted
to humans, and perform autopsies on diseased animals. Some specialize
in epidemiology or animal pathology, to control diseases transmitted
through food animals, and problems of residues from herbicides, pesticides,
and antibiotics in animals used for food.
Veterinarians usually treat pets in hospitals
and clinics. Often these facilities are noisy. Those in large animal
practice usually work out of well-equipped mobile clinics and drive
considerable distances to farms and ranches. Veterinarians can be
exposed to disease and infection and may be kicked, bitten, or scratched.
Those in private practice often
work long hours. They may set their own schedules and may work nights
and weekends. Large animal veterinarians may work outdoors in all
kinds of weather.
Veterinarians held about 47,000 jobs
in 1990. Almost half were self employed, in solo or group practices.
Most others were employees of a practice. The Federal Government employed
about 2,000 civilian veterinarians, chiefly in the U.S. Departments
of Agriculture, Defense, and Health and Human Services. Other employers
of veterinarians are State and local governments, colleges of veterinary
medicine, medical schools, research laboratories, animal food companies,
and pharmaceutical companies. A few veterinarians work for zoos. Most
veterinarians caring for zoo animals are private practitioners who
contract with zoos to provide services, usually on a part-time basis.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement:
All States and the District of Columbia
require that veterinarians be licensed. To obtain a license, applicants
must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree
from an accredited college of veterinary medicine and pass a State
board examination. Some States issue licenses without further examination
to veterinarians already licensed by another State.
For research and teaching jobs, a master's
or Ph.D. degree usually is required. Veterinarians who seek specialty
certification in a field such as medicine, opthalmology, pathology,
surgery, radiology, or laboratory animal medicine must complete 3-year
residency program, and pass an examination. There is a growing number
of specialty groups.
The D.V.M. degree requires a minimum
of 6 years of college consisting of at least 2 years of preveterinary
study that emphasizes the physical and biological sciences and a 4-year
veterinary program. Most successful applicants have completed 4 years
of college. In addition to academic instruction, training includes
clinical experience in diagnosing and treating animal diseases, performing
surgery, and performing laboratory work in anatomy, biochemistry,
and other scientific and medical subjects.
In 1991, all 27 colleges of veterinary
medicine were accredited by the Council on Education of the American
Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Admission is highly competitive.
Applicants usually have grades of "B" or better, especially
in sciences. Applicants must take the Veterinary Aptitude Test, Medical
College Admission Test, or the Graduate Record Examination and submit
evidence they have experience working with animals. Colleges usually
give preference to in-State applicants, because most are State supported.
There are regional educational agreements in which States without
veterinary schools send students to designated regional schools. In
other areas, schools give priority to applicants from nearby States
that do not have veterinary schools.
To meet State licensure requirements,
foreign-trained veterinarians must fulfill the English language and
clinical evaluation requirements of the Educational Commission for
Foreign Veterinary Graduates.
Most veterinarians begin as employees
or partners in established practices. With experience, they may set
up their own practice or purchase an established one.
Newly trained veterinarians may become
U.S. Government meat and poultry inspectors, disease-control workers,
epidemiologists, research assistants, or commissioned officers in
the U.S. Public Health Service. A State license may be required.
Veterinarians need good manual dexterity.
They should be able to calm animals that are upset, and get along
with animal owners, and be able to make decisions in emergencies.
Employment of veterinarians is expected
to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year
2005. Rising incomes and the movement of baby boomers into the 34-59
year age group, where pet ownership is highest, should cause the number
of pets to increase rapidly. Pet owners may also be more willing to
pay for more intensive care than in the past. In addition, emphasis
on scientific methods of breeding and raising livestock and poultry,
and continued support for public health and disease control programs
will contribute to the demand for veterinarians. Jobs will also occur
as veterinarians retire.
The outlook is good for veterinarians
with specialty training. Demand for specialists in toxicology, laboratory
animal medicine, and pathology is expected to remain strong, as is
the demand for faculty at colleges of veterinary medicine. Most jobs
for specialists will be in metropolitan areas. Prospects for veterinarians
who specialize in farm animals is also good, because most veterinarians
prefer working in metropolitan areas.
Newly graduated veterinarians working
in the private practices of established veterinarians had an average
salary of $27,000 in 1990, according to the American Veterinary Medical
Association. Veterinarians in private practices generally earned between
$50,000 and $100,000 a year.
Newly graduated veterinarians employed
by the Federal Government started at $31,116 a year in 1991. The average
annual salary of all veterinarians in the Federal Government was $45,893
Veterinarians prevent, diagnose, and
treat diseases, disorders, and injuries in animals. Workers who do
this for humans include audiologists, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists,
physicians, podiatrists, and speech pathologists. Other occupations
that involve working with animals include animal trainers, zoologists,
marine biologists, naturalists, and veterinary technicians.
Sources of Additional Information:
For more information on careers in veterinary
medicine, write to:
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
For information on scholarships, grants, and loans, contact the financial
aid officer at the veterinary schools to which you wish to apply.
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
1023 15th St. NW., Third Floor
Washington, DC 20005
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* Choosing your Puppy *
It is worth spending time researching
what kind of dog will suit you and your family. Just like humans,
dogs are living longer so the pup you choose may still be part of
the family in 14 years time. You may have a preference for a particular
breed or you may want a mongrel, but it is important that you select
the right dog for your lifestyle.
Never buy from an unknown source
and, if possible, visit the house to see the kind of place your puppy
comes from. It is essential to get a healthy pup from a clean home
where the litter has been well nurtured and handled from an early
age. Spend some time, too, with the mother to get an idea of her temperament.
If she is the kind of dog you would like as your pet, than her puppies
should be suitable for you.
* A healthy pup should have *
1) A friendly, confident manner but should not be dominant with its
litter mates. Timid pups often become highly strung and dominant pups
might become aggressive.
2) Clean, bright eyes with no redness or discharge.
3) Clean ears with no waxy crusts in the ear canal.
4) The front teeth (called the incisors) should meet. If they don't,
it means the pup has an undershot jaw. This is a defect and could
lead to early dental problems.
5) The skin should be sleek and shiny with no dandruff or black specks
indicating flea dirt.
6) The back end should be clean and odor free. Soiling might indicate
7) The pup should be plump with rolls of loose skin. If the pup has
a potbelly with prominent ribs than it may be sickly or have worms.
Most puppies can be acquired at 6-8 weeks of age. At this stage they
will be fully weaned but still young enough to adapt well to your
household. It is a good idea to take all new pups for a health check
at the vet to discuss vaccination, worming and diet. Your vet will
also check for any birth defects such as hare lip, umbilical hernia
(swelling at the belly button) and an undershot jaw.
* Your pup's first days *
1) keep it confined to one room of the house so
that it gets a chance to settle in
2) provide a cozy bed in a quiet place away from children
3) feed your pup the same diet it received from the breeder
4) pet-proof your home - pups love to chew, so make sure electric
flexes, handbags and anything remotely edible is out of reach
5) give your pet its own toys to play with
All puppies should be vaccinated against
four potentially fatal diseases:
Distemper, Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis.
* Puppy vaccination *
. 1st vaccination 8 weeks
. 2nd vaccination 12 weeks
. newer vaccines are now available which can be started even earlier
at 6 and 10 weeks. Discuss this with your vet.
In the past the recommendation was to
keep the puppy at home until a week after the vaccination course finished.
However as the best time to socialize a puppy is between 3-12 weeks
of age it is now advised that you expose your pup to the outside world
as early as possible. Many vet surgeries hold puppy parties where
healthy pups can mix together and learn basic obedience training and
good puppy behavior.
* Puppies over 12 weeks *
. 1st vaccination - any time
. 2nd vaccination 2-4 weeks later
After the initial vaccination course an annual booster is recommended.
* Worming *
All pups are born with roundworms, which
they inherit from their mother in the womb or through her milk. The
main roundworms of pups are called Toxocara Canis and Toxascaris Leonina.
Humans (especially toddlers) can pick up Toxocara Canis worm eggs
if they touch dog feces and put their hand to their mouth. In exceptional
cases this could lead to serious eye damage.
The main point to realize is that each
time you worm a pup you will only kill a certain percentage of worms.
It is very important all pups are wormed at regular intervals from
2 weeks of age up to 6 months.
Most healthy pups have worms without
showing any symptoms. If your pup has a lot of worms you may sometimes
see the following signs:
a ravenous appetite
a pot belly
vomiting and diarrhea
white spaghetti worms in the feces
There are many roundworm medications
on the market but it is important you choose a remedy that is easy
to give and effective. Discuss the best worming regime with your vet.
* Training Your Pup *
The first item on the agenda will be
toilet training. Dogs are naturally clean but, like toddlers, accidents
are unavoidable while they are being house trained. In the first few
days you will have to provide somewhere for your pet to empty its
bowels and bladder. A newspaper on the floor in the same area is the
cheapest and most hygienic method. If you leave a remnant of soiled
paper here your pup will follow its sense of smell and get the habit
of using this place as toilet.
Puppies have weak bladders and need to
urinate frequently. Anticipate this by placing it on this paper after
every meal, after play or when it wakes up. Dogs usually sniff the
ground before they urinate so if you catch your pup in the act of
doing this pick it up fast and place it on the paper. Each time he
does it in the correct place give him lots of praise.
Do not scold a pup for soiling in the
wrong place. Never ever rub your pet's nose in its mess as you will
only succeed in making your pup nervous. Owners often think the pup
knows it has been naughty, as it will look guilty when the owner scolds.
What people don't realize is that the pup knows you are annoyed with
him but doesn't know why!
If your pet does soil in the wrong place
clean up the mess promptly and remove all odors. Otherwise your pup
will mistake this place for the toilet and try again! A pup's sense
of smell is much more highly specialized than ours, so ordinary household
disinfectants won't work. You can buy special odor eliminator from
your vet or clean the area with hot biological washing powder solution.
Toilet Training Outside:
Once your pet has settled in, start toilet
training outside. Find a designated place to act as a canine toilet
to avoid having dog feces and urine staining your garden. When you
see your pup sniffing and starting to relieve itself take it outside
immediately. Give it lots of praise each time it does it correctly.
Once he has been there a few times the smell will encourage him to
go back. Initially you will have to take him outside practically every
hour. If you are unable to be around that often it is best to keep
the pup in a playpen with a newspaper to avoid accidents. They can
also be left in the pen at nighttime Some puppies learn fast and some
do not, just like potty training a toddler. Be patient while your
pup is learning. All dogs want to be clean and he will get the message
Toilet Training In The Street:
Your pet will usually need to empty its
bowel on the first part of the walk. As a responsible pet owner it
is important you do not let your dog soil the streets and especially
parks and children's playgrounds. Encourage your dog to soil in the
gutter and carry a poop-scoop to remove the feces. Remember there
are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dogs in every city,
and dogs fouling the pavements are unpopular with local residents.
Training Your Pup To Come When You
The first thing your pet must learn is
its own name and to come when called. Choose a catchy name with two
syllables, which is easy to recognize. Teach your pup to come to you
when you call it and reward it with praise and a food treat.
Remember pups are like toddlers, they
crave attention. If they are good reward them with lots of praise
and stroking and even food rewards. They will soon learn that good
behavior gets them their owner's full attention. Never ever shout
at a pup. Pups do not understand languages and won't know what you
If your pup is misbehaving just give
a firm 'No' and ignore it. You must always reprimand a pup immediately
it is naughty. Pups live in the present tense so there is absolutely
no point in reprimanding past misdemeanors.
Pups love to jump up at their owners
and lick their face. While this may seem very charming when they are
young it should never be encouraged. When your dog is bigger it may
scare young children and visitors.
Each time your pup leaps up to catch
your attention just stand still with your arms crossed and say no.
Turn away and ignore it. Reward quiet, gentle behavior by calm praise
All pups have to chew to exercise their teeth. Unlike toddlers they
also use their teeth and mouths to explore. Bored pups left alone
for long periods will start chewing household furniture and can rapidly
become very destructive.
For a start, a pup should never be left
alone for long periods. If you have to go out it is better to leave
the pup in a playpen with its own toys to chew and let it out for
supervised play when you return. A puppy will feel more secure in
its own personal pad and you can leave on the radio for company. Provide
your pup with lots of interesting toys, rawhide chews, logs of wood
and even cardboard boxes.
Urinating with excitement:
Even house-trained pups often wet themselves with excitement when
their owner returns. This is more common in female dogs and is a form
of submission. Try not to let your pup get overexcited when you come
into the house. When the puppy rushes up to greet you, stay calm and
don't respond to its advances. Once it has calmed down then reward
it with strokes and cuddles. This problem can take some time to cure
so keep a sheet of polythene close to the door to prevent accidents.
Handling Your Pup:
It is important that you get your pup
used to being handled from an early age.
If it learns good manners now, you will have no problem giving it
medication if it gets sick.
Every day make your pet sit quietly while you examine him all
. lift up your pet's ears and look down them
. check its eyes for discharges
. gently lift up the jowls and inspect all the teeth from the front
incisors to the back molars
. buy a soft baby toothbrush or a finger glove and rub your pet's
teeth along the gum margins. Although your pup will soon lose its
milk teeth you should get him used to having his teeth brushed from
an early age
. open your pet's mouth and inspect the tongue. Do not encourage it
to bite playfully with you
. run your hand along your pup's back and tummy
. get your pet used to being lifted up and carried and don't encourage
it to wriggle
Play and Excersise:
In the first few weeks your pup will
get most of its exercise by playing. You should devote a lot of time
to playing with your pup to form a strong bond with it. It is best
to play with your pup for short periods throughout the day rather
than exhausting it. Do not encourage it to play by biting you. This
may encourage dominant behaviour and your pup could become quite aggressive.
All pups expend a lot of energy romping around playing then collapse
into a deep sleep.
It is a sad fact that more adult dogs
are put to sleep for behavioral
problems like aggression or destructive tendencies than illness or
Therefore it is very important that you help your pet adapt to the
outside world from an early age. Otherwise, just like people, they
can become nervous, highly strung and often bite from fear.
The best time to socialize a puppy is
from 3-12 weeks because whatever your pet encounters during this time
it will perceive as normal. A good breeder will have started the socialization
process by handling the pups from 3 weeks and letting them mix with
other people and children. Many adult dogs that are nervous with men,
aggressive to policemen or snappy with children may not have had enough
exposure when they were a puppy. They develop antisocial manners because
they do not recognize these events as familiar.
Try and carry your pup out and about
wherever you go so that it encounters lots of people and places. However,
until your pet is fully vaccinated do not walk it along the streets,
in public parks or let it meet stray dogs.
So, to summarize the main points
. let it mix with men, women and children
. let your pup meet other dogs and cats
. expose it to all loud noises - fire engine sirens, police cars,
busy traffic, vacuum cleaners
. introduce it to people in the street - policemen, lollipop men,
cyclists and joggers
. take it down to the local shops and let strangers stroke and talk
. take it for lots of short car rides
. carry it through crowded streets with lots of people
. take your pup with you when you visit friends so it gets used to
different houses and people
. if you live in a town take it to the country so it can meet horse
riders, cattle and sheep
. enroll at your local puppy party - these are held for healthy vaccinated
pups and a pet behaviorist will teach your pet and you . all about
the correct pet code of behavior
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