A Career in Veterinary Medicine

Individuals interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine must train at a university for at least six years to obtain a doctoral degree - the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Veterinarians are educated to protect the health of both animals and humans.  Not only do they address the health needs of a wide variety of animal species, they also play a critical role in environmental protection, food safety, animal welfare and public health.  A licensed veterinarian can work in several different areas including private practice, government, teaching, research or industry.

Private Practice
The single largest employment group in veterinary medicine is private practice.This includes small, large and mixed animal practices, as well as specialization in one type of species or discipline such as equine practice or surgery.Veterinarians in private practice will:

  • Examine animals
  • Diagnose and treat diseases
  • Use specialized diagnostic techniques such as radiography, ultrasound,
  • Urine tests and laboratory tests of blood or other tissues perform surgery
  • Perform dentistry
  • Vaccinate to prevent the spread of diseases advise their clients on the hygiene, feeding, breeding and care of animals
  • Manage their own business
  • Veterinarians ensure health maintenance and disease prevention among companion and food producing animals.

This means that veterinarians need to be well-informed about emerging diseases in animals, maintain a thorough knowledge of available products used to treat animals, use the latest diagnos-tic and treatment techniques, and educate clients about zoonoses —animal diseases that can be shared between animals and humans.

Small (Companion) Animal Practice

Companion animal practices are community-based facilities that generally accept dogs and cats as patients and sometimes treat exotic species (birds, small mammals, and reptiles) as well. Other clinics may limit their scope of practice to the exclusive treatment of a particular specie.
Every companion animal practice is registered with a provincial licensing body and regularly inspected to ensure compliance with high quality standards. Most veterinary facilities are miniature hospitals complete with SO YOU LIKE ANIMALS? That's a start. But it is only a start if you're interested in a career in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians are far more than people with a fondness for animals. A veterinarian is a doctor of animal health who has trained at a university for at least six years and is licensed to provide medical and surgical care for animals.

Large Animal Practice

Large animal practice encompasses medical and surgical services for livestock (sheep, cattle, goats, swine, and poultry) and horses. Every large animal practice is also registered with a provincial licensing body and regularly inspected to ensure compliance with high quality standards. Medical services can include diagnosis and treatment of individual animals and, diagnosis, treatment and preventive measures for livestock. Some practices offer in-hospital surgery suites in addition to on-farm surgery capability, while others refer complex surgery cases to referral institutions such as specialty practices or veterinary colleges. In addition to treating patients, large animal veterinarians offer preventive herd health management and also monitor their area for possible disease outbreaks.Today, it is not unusual for large animal practices to limit their practice to poultry, beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, equine, or small ruminant (sheep and goat) medicine and surgery, though some practices treat all species. Emphasis of the practice is often placed on herd health including environmental, nutritional, and reproductive medicine. Equine practitioners may focus on racehorses, breeding farm management, pleasure horse practice, or a combination of the three.

Mixed Animal Practice
The mixed animal practice differs only from the above descriptions in that they encompass both large animal and companion animal species in one facility.

Aquaculture and Fish Medicine;

Graduate of Veterinary Medicine are provided with the necessary skills and knowledge required for setting up and managing profitable fish farms, carrying out epizotiological investigation, management of health, diseases and other conditions in the aquaculture industry. Veterinarians could set up their own fish farm, serve as consultant to government and private organisation which may which to venture into aquaculture production. They could take up career with the government as monitoring officer or as inspector of seafood that are sold locally and those that are to be exported outside the country.

Career in Wildlife

Wildlife Medicine Veterinarians may work with zoologists and conservation medicine practitioners. Veterinarians may take up jobs as Zoo Vet. by providing consultancy service to government and private zoological gardens and parks. They could also be involved in provision of health care for primates and other wildlife used in research facilities across the country

Government


Government veterinarians have an important responsibility in maintaining the health of humans through the health of food-producing animals.
Veterinarians in government contribute significantly to human health through meat inspection and control of contagious diseases. They are also involved in testing animals for import and export, the approval of veterinary biologics, research, and diagnostic testing of animal diseases. Typical "field veterinarians" cover an animal health district. They inspect animals and collect necessary laboratory samples to qualify these animals for export to other countries. They investigate reportable diseases such as rabies or tuberculosis, and forward the samples to laboratories. Some government veterinarians are in managerial positions. They help manage and deliver animal health programs and provide input on government policy. To become employed as a government veterinarian, it is helpful to take optional courses offered by veterinary colleges relating to government work. It is also strongly recommended to have some experience in private practice

Teaching and Research


Veterinarians who teach may be employed by one of the eight Nigerian veterinary colleges, training and mentoring future veterinarians. Others teach in veterinary technician programs at colleges and universities across Nigeria.
To be employed as a professor of veterinary medicine at a veterinary college, generally a minimum masters degree plus board certification in a clinical specialty is needed. In some cases, a PhD will be required. Professors can teach clinical veterinary medicine, basic science courses, or a combination of both. Professors also mentor students, sit on committees and attend meetings, lectures, and professional development events. Veterinarians working in research look for preventions and cures for diseases. At veterinary colleges, professors conduct their own research projects, developing new therapies and medicines.

Industry


Veterinarians working in industry may work in management, as sales representatives, or in technical research. Management veterinarians develop relationships with veterinary practice owners, clinic staff and animal health organizations. They must have planning, marketing and strong communication skills as well as product knowledge. Sales representatives develop and maintain relationships with veterinary practice owners and clinic staff. They are frequently on the road, visiting their clients and attending trade shows or meetings.

The single largest employment group in veterinary medicine is private practice.This includes small, large and mixed animal practices, as well as specialization in one type of species or discipline such as equine practice or surgery.Veterinarians in private practice will:

n

examine animals

n

diagnose and treat diseases

n

use specialized diagnostic techniques such as radiography, ultrasound,

urine tests and laboratory tests of blood or other tissues

n

perform surgery

n

perform dentistry

n

vaccinate to prevent the spread of diseases

n

advise their clients on the hygiene, feeding, breeding and care of animals

n

manage their own business

Veterinarians ensure health maintenance and disease prevention among

companion and food producing animals. This means that veterinarians need to

be well-informed about emerging diseases in animals, maintain a thoroughknowledge of available products used to treat animals, use the latest diagnos-tic and treatment techniques, and educate clients about zoonoses —animal diseases that can be shared between animals and humans.