|Updated: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm
||Published: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm
A veterinarian holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary medical school. In general, veterinarians are trained to diagnose disease, predict outcomes, prescribe necessary treatment, and perform surgery on animals. A veterinarian may choose to focus on treating one species of animal, restrict his or her practice to small animals, or specialize in a certain discipline, such as oncology (awn-CAWL-oh-gee), surgery, or ophthalmology (awp-thuhl-MAWL-oh-gee). The American Veterinary Medical Association currently recognizes 20 different specialties. To become a board-certified specialist, a graduate vet must undergo intensive training, possess substantial experience, meet other requirements, and pass an exam given by the specialty board. In addition to setting up a private practice, veterinarians may also seek employment in other realms. For example, veterinarians may work as research scientists, public health officers, or industrial veterinarians, or care for animals in the military. A graduate may also choose to teach at a veterinary school or college. Those considering a career as a veterinarian should be observant, curious, persistent, have a good rapport with animals, and show an interest in the biological sciences. He or she must be prepared to deal with emergencies and the occasional loss of patients. A good veterinarian should also communicate well with pet owners and other staff members.