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What is a veterinarian?

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What is a veterinarian?

A veterinarian is a doctor of veterinary medicine. They use their skills to evaluate patients, make diagnoses and treat a wide range of conditions. 

“Our goal is to preserve quality of life and alleviate pain, while making sure that we work with our pet owners as best we can to help them care for their pets,” says Dr. Justine Lee, board-certified veterinary specialist in emergency/critical care and toxicology.

Veterinarians provide pet owners with valuable information to keep their animals healthy. Listening to a veterinarian’s nutrition recommendations is one of the best ways to combat common issues like osteoarthritis, skin allergies, and animal obesity. 

Veterinarians are the only doctors educated to protect the health of both animals and people. They work hard to address the health and welfare needs of every species of animal. In the United States, approximately two-thirds of veterinarians work in private or corporate clinical practice. Many treat only traditional or exotic pets such as dogs, cats, birds, small mammals (e.g., hamsters, guinea pigs), reptiles, and fish. Some veterinarians exclusively treat horses. Others treat a combination of species. Some veterinarians limit their practice to the care of farm/ranch animals. As a farm veterinarian, they advise owners on production medicine and protecting our nation’s food supply from farm to fork.

Veterinarians are incredible doctors because they do everything: brain surgery, heart surgery, lab analysis, dislocations and much more!

Veterinarians are animal lovers and understand the value animals have in our families and society. It is important that you have the following attributes in order to have a successful career as a veterinarian:

Problem Solver & Scientific Mind

Strong interest in the biological sciences and an inquiring mind to observe. No two days are alike for a veterinarian. You will get to examine different types of animals, see a variety of injuries and conditions, and utilize many diagnostic tools to determine the best plans of action. You never know what will come through the clinic door on any given day.

Leadership Skills

Many environments (e.g., clinical practice, governmental agencies, public health programs) require that veterinarians manage employees and businesses. Having basic managerial and leadership skills contribute to greater success in these work environments.

“Only a person who loves a challenge would take on patients that can’t tell them where it hurts.”


Strong Communication Skills 

Yes. Communication has always been an important pillar for veterinarians. The ability to communicate effectively to both the vet’s staff and pet owners will help lead to better outcomes for the patient. A ‘client-centered’ approach is recommended to facilitate clients’ adherence, aiming to make more clients decide upon a treatment option in line with the veterinarians’s recommendations. The quality of communication has a direct impact on the quality care and patient compliance with the veterinarian’s treatment plan. Effective communications can improve health outcomes, compliance rates, patient satisfaction and more importantly reduce malpractice risk.

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