Why get into veterinary science?

People really do love animals. Whether we’re talking dogs, cats, horses or budgies, humans and animals have a special bond that is incredibly important for many people. And it’s not only pets, ladies and gents.

People’s livelihoods are often dictated by the health of their livestock. If their herd or flock gets ill, things can become incredibly difficult for the thousands of farmers throughout the UK. It’s with this in mind that veterinary science careers are crucial for so many people.

What does veterinary science involve?

This subsector is dedicated to the prevention of disease and the treatment of all species in the kingdom of animals. This covers everything from Fido to Harry the Hippo, albeit some characters obviously end up in the waiting room a lot less often than others.

Broadly speaking, there are two key occupations within this area: the veterinary nurse and veterinary surgeon. In this industry, most of the work is carried out in ‘practices’, not dissimilar to a GP’s surgery. As you can expect, the ‘patients’ are somewhat different, though!

Aside from these main careers, administration and management plays a big part, as well as various other occupations in related scientific disciplines. For example, a lot of the work that happens in a veterinary practice involves administering drugs supplied by pharmaceutical companies. As a result, drug suppliers, research scientists and many other roles are closely linked to this subsector.

As for running the practice itself, all details are kept on computer systems that are administered by a reception team alongside the practice manager. The practice manager effectively does what it says on the tin. They are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of all appointments, all procedures and anything that might occur on their ‘watch’.

Getting back to the ‘sciencey’ part though, if you’re looking to become a surgeon you’ll need to pack yourself off to university. If being a nurse is more your thing, the most common route is via work-based training. Let’s take a closer look.

How do I become a vet?

Becoming what is commonly referred to as a ‘vet’ requires you to take a fairly inflexible route. You will be required to perform particularly well in your GSCEs and A-levels, preferably with a healthy sprinkling of scientific subjects, such as physics, chemistry, biology and maths.

Following that, there’s a choice of only six universities that offer veterinary courses: Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool or The Royal Veterinary College (University of London). This takes five or six years (depending on the university) of having your head firmly in the books and your hands inside animals.

Alright, this kind of invasive procedure might not happen all the time, but you will certainly be working with animals throughout your studies.

As a veterinary nurse, you’ll be the right hand man/woman to the surgeon. Nurses will also often carry out minor surgical procedures. However, their role usually consists of administering medical treatments, conducting various tests and providing assistance to surgeons.

As well as helping animals when they require treatment, nurses also educate people that have pets or look after animals on any possible preventative measures that they can take. How do you become one though? Well, it takes at least two years, involves several NVQ exams and a whole lot of work experience. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is the headmaster in all this, as all courses are prepared under its guidance to ensure their relevance to the profession.

Are you an animal lover? Did you watch Dr Dolittle for more than just the hilarity that is Eddie Murphy? Were you an avid follower of Pet Rescue, and love getting those little, ill animal toys free with your cereal, that you can nurse back to health by warming them up (we’re not sure of anyone can actually remember these)? If you answered with an enthusiastic “yes!”, then a career in veterinary sciences might be just right for you!

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