Veterinarian  What They Do

Just the Facts


Veterinarians Career Video



Diagnoses, treats, or researches diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Examines animals to detect and determine the nature of diseases or injuries.
  • Treats sick or injured animals by prescribing medication, setting bones, dressing wounds, or performing surgery.
  • Collects body tissue, feces, blood, urine, or other body fluids for examination and analysis.
  • Inoculates animals against various diseases such as rabies or distemper.
  • Counsels clients about the deaths of their pets or about euthanasia decisions for their pets.
  • Operates diagnostic equipment, such as radiographic or ultrasound equipment, and interprets the resulting images.
  • Advises animal owners regarding sanitary measures, feeding, general care, medical conditions, or treatment options.
  • Educates the public about diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.
  • Attends lectures, conferences, or continuing education courses.
  • Establishes or conducts quarantine or testing procedures that prevent the spread of diseases to other animals or to humans and that comply with applicable government regulations.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Exposed to radiation more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Animal Chiropractor -- Adjusts vertebrae in an animal's spine so that they are in alignment.
  • Large Animal Veterinarian -- Specializes in health management of livestock species such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs.
  • Small Animal Veterinarian -- Specializes in health management of pets such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.
  • Veterinary Anesthesiologist -- Provides safe, optimal anesthesia during surgery to allow the surgeon to complete the desired tasks, and to make the hospital stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
  • Veterinary Bacteriologist -- Develops protocols & implements bacteriological testing in order to identify animal pathogens.
  • Veterinary Dentist -- Provides veterinary dental care for your pet.
  • Veterinary Epidemiologist -- Studies factors influencing existence and spread of diseases among humans and animals, particularly those diseases transmissible from animals to humans.
  • Veterinary Pathologist -- Examines animal tissue and fluid samples to diagnose diseases.
  • Veterinary Surgeon -- Specializes on surgery on animals.