A Closer Look at a Career as a Veterinarian
When the coronavirus struck, provinces across Canada implemented physical distancing restrictions and temporarily closed non-essential services, it’s a given why pet care services remained available. According to a previous report from CanadianVeterinarians.net, at least 35% of households have a pet dog, while 38% have a pet cat. Add to this the growing list of organizations across the country that are centred on animal advocacy and activism, the need for veterinarians is ever-increasing. Pet health and wellness is sought after these days as much as those for humans.
Even during this health crisis, veterinarians across Canada, amounting to 12,000 according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians’ doors are open to anyone who needs treatment and care for animals in need, making them essential workers.
If this career is something you’re considering, let’s take a deep dive on what exactly this involves.
Veterinarian– What You Need to Know
While cats and dogs make up a large portion of veterinarians’ clients, they are not the only clients. This means that the love for fur babies doesn’t necessarily mean you are suited for the career. Apart from domestic pets that everyone love, veterinarians also deal with animals in every shape and form, which means that if you choose to be a vet, you have to prepare to deal with livestock animals like cows, goats, and pigs and those from the reptilian species like snakes and lizards, and a whole slew of others. You have to have an all-inclusive mindset and not merely focus on the animals that you fill up Instagram pages.
By definition, a veterinarian is a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM), a professional in animal health care. Vets may opt to practice in various fields, including private practice, government, industry, or teaching and research.
The most common services performed by vets include check-ups, vaccinations, administering medicine, spaying and neutering, and other surgeries. For vets who work in private practice, they also communicate with owners on how to best provide care and the need for surgery or medication in some cases. Services like vaccinations, deworming, and parasite control are also performed as needed. Vets also make recommendations on how to best maintain pet health and wellness through proper nutrition and adequate exercise. Some issues that vets watch out for in pet owners are overfeeding/too much food, giving too many treats, making food available at all times, giving poor quality food, and giving human food/table scraps.
According to PayScale.com, a veterinarian can earn as much as $78,277 per year with potential for bonus and commission.
To kick things off to become a veterinarian in Canada, you would need to enroll in a college of agriculture or a college of arts and sciences as pre-veterinary education. After that, you would need to apply to a school of veterinary medicine where you would need to complete a variety of courses, including organic chemistry, physics, biology, genetics, microbiology, math, biochemistry, and others.
It is an advantage to acquire a degree in the natural sciences, such as a degree in biology, zoology, or chemistry, but it is not required as long as you take some prerequisite course. Take note that vocational schools don’t arm you with pre-veterinary training and education and thus may affect your chances for admission in a university of your choice later on.
Once you have completed your Bachelor degree, you will be then required to finish your training at a veterinary school. For this, you have plenty of options including the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Calgary, and the University of Guelph.
The next step is to obtain your license through the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association or CVMA. This involves completing a 3-part veterinary licensing examination process, administered by the National Examining Board (NEB). After the exams, you become eligible to apply for license from any of the provincial veterinary licensing bodies.
To be highly efficient in this profession, veterinarians must possess a solid knowledge of conditions and diseases that afflict animals. A true passion for animals is a big plus, as well as people skills since veterinarians must apply strong customer service skills to achieve client satisfaction and loyalty.
Pros and Cons
A career as a veterinarian is a fulfilling one as you help animals as well as the pet owners or clients deal with the animals’ health challenges while at the same time contributing to uphold animal rights and values.
The challenge is dealing with animals which may turn in unpredictable behavior as it is expected with some animals under high stress. These encounters sometimes involve risk and danger. Veterinarians must always know how to maintain calmness and efficiency in crisis situations.