Career Profile: Veterinarians for Large...

Career Profile: Veterinarians for Large Animals

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If you have a pet, you probably take it to a veterinarian for vaccinations or to take care of injuries or illnesses. In cities, veterinarians mostly take care of animals like cats, dogs, or hamsters. In farming or ranching areas, however, they might look after large animals like cows or horses. If you like looking after animals and enjoy being outside, a career as a veterinarian for large animals might be right for you.

These days, farmers and other people who work with large animals are concerned about a lack of veterinarians to care for large animals, especially in Manitoba. People are worried that they will have no one to help if a cow has trouble giving birth to a calf or if other medical problems occur on the farm.

Part of the problem is that opportunities for studying to become a veterinarian are limited. Canada has only four veterinary colleges, and many people in the west attend the one in Saskatchewan. However, moving to a different province for studies can be expensive and difficult. Despite the issues, studying to be a veterinarian for large animals can still be worth the effort.

Large animals are normally too big to take to a veterinarian’s office, and so this career normally involves going to farms and ranches to look after the cows, horses, or other animals. Hours can be long, especially in calving season, and it can sometimes be dangerous if an animal decides to kick or bite the veterinarian. The weather can also be a problem, although sometimes the work can take place in a barn or other shelter.

Farms and ranches where large animals live are generally not very close to cities. Veterinarians for large animals usually live either in the countryside or in small towns close to where the animals are. Salaries for people in this field start at about $68,000 per year and can rise to $213,000. Working with large animals can be quite strenuous, and veterinarians might wish to move to a more supervisory role later in their careers.

Training for work as a veterinarian can take a long time. Normally, it involves an undergraduate degree in the sciences and then veterinary school. For most people, the whole process can take eight years of studying or even longer for some specialties. For people who love to work with animals, however, the long process can be worth the time and effort. Taking high school courses in biology or zoology, as well as mathematics and English, can help students prepare for the work.

After finishing the training process, veterinarians for large animals might want to start their own practice or join one that is already running. Even in a larger practice, the work can be quite solitary, but having colleagues nearby can help new veterinarians deal with the pressures of the work. Being able to consult others about difficult cases can be very helpful in this profession.

Career prospects for veterinarians working with large animals are good at the moment because of the shortage qualified people in this field, but the situation could change in the next few years. Still, farmers and ranchers will always need veterinarians who can look after large animals, and some jobs will always be available.

Working with large animals like cattle and horses is not for everyone, but it can be a good career for people who enjoy the outdoors and helping others. You might want to consider this very useful profession.



Indeed Career Guide. “How to Become a Vet in Canada (With Steps and Duties).” https://ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-vet-in-canada#

Kemp, Chelsea. “Cattle Breeder Fears Life-or-Death Calving Decisions Amid Rural Manitoba Veterinarian Shortage.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/vet-shortage-manitoba-large-animal-1.6733796.

Lewis, Roy. “How to Address the Shortage of Large-Animal Veterinarians.” https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/livestock/what-we-can-do-to-addressthe-shortage-of-large-animal-vets.

Ross University. “What is a Large Animal Veterinarian?” https://veterinary.rossu.edu/about/blog/what-is-a-large-animal-veterinarian.

St. George’s University. “How to Become a Vet in Canada: Your Ultimate Outline.” https://www.sgu.edu/blog/veterinary/how-to-become-a-vet-in-canada/

Salary Explorer. “Veterinarian Average Salary in Canada 2023.” http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=38&loctype=1&job=6235&jobtype=3#.

Leave a comment!