Veterinarian Job Description | Duties & Responsibilities

If you’re confused about a veterinarian’s job description, worry no more! This article is just for you.

Just as a human needs to check his health with the doctor regularly, it’s the same way animals need to go to their doctors – veterinary doctors or veterinarians regularly.

You need to love animals to do this job and open your mind to spending more time with animals than humans during work hours.

Vets usually deal with domestic or small animals like dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, etc. A few are large-animal vets and deal with horses, sheep, cattle, etc. Many of these large-animal vets go to ranches for the animals rather than the animals coming to them.

There are also fewer numbers of vets who deal with wild animals like tigers, elephants, etc. They work in zoos and forests.

Small or large-animal vets, you are doing a very important job because animals help our world. Domestic animals help keep us company; farm animals help put food on our table, and wild animals help in well, the way only a wild animal can. LOL.

We can’t fully discuss a veterinarian’s job description without knowing who a veterinarian is.

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Who is a Veterinarian?


A veterinarian or veterinary doctor/surgeon is a doctor who treats animals. He treats diseases, disorders, and injuries of animals.

He is mandated to protect the health of both animals and people. Why people? Because by protecting the health of an animal, he directly or indirectly protects the health of a human being. For example, if an animal has a disease or infection, it can cause sickness for an animal.

Small-animal and large-animal vets advise owners on proper care of their pets and livestock.

Types of Veterinarians

There are 5 types of veterinary doctors.

While it may be that your love for dogs and cats made you want to study veterinary medicine, it’s important to know that other types may pique your interest.

A typical job description template of a veterinarian will usually tell you the kind of vet needed.

They are:

1. Companion-Animal Veterinarians

These are the most common vets.

Statistically, more than 75% of vets are in this field.

They are like the day-to-day human doctor and the cases they handle vary daily.

They deal with dogs, cats, birds, and other pet animals.

2. Veterinary Specialists

These vets specialize in a particular field like surgery, pathology, etc.

They can also specialize in a particular species like poultry, wildlife, etc.

3. Food-Animal Veterinarians

These veterinarians usually work with farm animals.

They go to the farms and ranches to know if the animals are healthy enough to produce good food.

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4. Food safety and Inspection Veterinarians

While the food-animal vet may seem the same, it’s quite different.

These usually deal with the farm produce, not the animals.

They inspect animal products like dairy, eggs, meat, etc., to know if it meets the required standard.

If it doesn’t, they will need to trace the animal the products are from and get the food-animal veterinarian to check the animal.

Some of these veterinarians also test for the safety of animal medications and additives.

This type primarily deals with public health.

5. Research Veterinarians

This type of vet primarily concerns themselves with researching better animal care.

These usually need more specialized degrees.

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What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Veterinarian

Part of a veterinarian’s job description is knowing the duties and responsibilities. You need to know that a lot is expected of you. You hold your clients’ lives in your hands, so you need to know your responsibility toward them.

A veterinary doctor usually doesn’t have time for himself and is always needed. The way a hospital or human being clinic is never empty or free of work is the same way a veterinarian is never free of work.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of a vet include the following:

  • Examining and diagnosing animals to assess their health and medical problems
  • Treating and dressing wounds
  • Carrying out surgery on animals. The surgery could be minor or major and depends on the vet’s qualifications.
  • Prescribing medication for animals
  • Vaccinating animals against disease
  • Providing preventive care medication to livestock
  • Setting fractures
  • Training and supervising workers who work with animals
  • Operating medical equipment, such as x-ray machines, to perform imaging and ultrasound tests. Urine, blood, and feces can also be tested for correct diagnosis.
  • Counseling and recommending animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
  • Euthanizing animals
  • Maintaining patients’ medical records – both past and present.
  • Scheduling appointments.

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Qualifications and Requirements of a Veterinarian

  • A master’s degree in veterinary medicine and a Ph.D. is more preferred.
  • 2years+ work experience
  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Be accountable in handling finance and money matters
  • State license

Special Skills and Abilities Required

Every job description of a veterinarian must include the skills necessary for success.

Some sets of skills are important for every vet doctor to possess. These skills will help you be more efficient and effective.

While looking for jobs, writing these skills in your resume is also important. Some of them include the following:

1. Organizational Skills

There is so much paperwork to do as a doctor.

You need to be organized, from scheduling appointments to diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, and accepting payments.

The organization makes your work easier and faster.

It reduces clutter and makes you reach for things faster.

2. Interpersonal Skills

A good vet is good with people. A pet or farm animal means so much to the owners. So it’s important to relate with them in a way they can be able to trust you with their animals completely. Tell them appropriate stories and be nice.

3. Communication Skills

Communication skills are very important for everyone.

Listening, speaking, and writing effectively are important for your clients and their owners.

Pay attention to what animal owners say; give them your undivided attention.

Animals can’t talk, so you must listen and communicate effectively with their owners.

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4. Time Management

Time is not just money; it is everything.

Try as much as possible to work in a reasonable time.

Don’t spend too much or too little time on one patient.

Don’t keep a patient waiting for so long.  

5. Empathy

Being empathetic is usually in the job description of veterinarians.
Kindness is very important. You need to be kind to the animals and to the owners.

Animals, too, feel pain, and because of the close relationship the owners have with them, they too, can also feel pain.

Be kind when dealing with both parties.

They won’t forget you, and it will be good for business.

6. Objectivity

Since you need to deal kindly with animals, it is important to be realistic and honest about what the animals are going through and will face during the cause of their treatment.  

7. Resource Management

A good vet should know how to manage every resource effectively.

You should be able to give an account of every resource you have used.

8. Personal Hygiene

Animals are quite dirty. Always take good care of yourself after each day’s work.

What Can You Expect In A Day?

A typical day varies for every vet despite the type of vet they are.

The companion-animal vet should expect to deal with a wide range of cases daily.

The food-animal vet should expect to be on the road often and be surrounded by farms and ranches.

Your job description can also differ if you don’t have your practice and work for any firm or someone. Employers expect different things most time.

Where Can You Work?

Most veterinarians have private practices where they meet with patients and fix schedules.

Farm-animal vets can have an office for a consultation, bookkeeping, etc., while they travel long or short distances to meet with their clients.

Most researchers work with the government and other animal research firms. They hardly own their practice. They can also work in school and pharmaceuticals.

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How Much Salary Can I Earn?

Of course, you would love to know what the earning potential of a vet is. But it depends on a lot of factors. Like the type of vet, you are, the firm you work for, your location, and the abundance or availability of your specialized animal.

For example, you will earn less as a companion-animal vet if you work in Nigeria than in the UK. Or, a dog vet will possibly make more than a gerbil vet.

The median salary as of 2019 is $95,460, but many companion-animal vets make more than this by far.

Research shows that veterinarian specialists and researchers are the highest-paid veterinarians.

Regardless of what vet you are, the pay is good.

Summary of the Job Description of a Veterinarian

In conclusion, becoming a vet is more than a job; it isn’t only for animals. It is also for human beings, and it is a calling.

To be a good vet, you must be conscious and present in everything.

Let this veterinarian job description be a perfect guide for you in everything you need to know about your prospective job!

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