What is the Job Description of a Veterinarian?

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

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

You need to absolutely love animals to do this job and also open your mind to spending much time with more animals than with 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 they 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 vet, 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 the job description of a veterinarian without knowing who a veterinarian is.

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 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 advice 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 that made you want to study veterinary medicine, it’s important to know that there are other types that may pique your interest.

In fact, 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 cases they handle are varying in a day.

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

2. Veterinary Specialists

These are the vets who 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 out to the farms and ranches to know if the animals are healthy enough to produce good and quality food.

4. Food-safety and Inspection Veterinarians

While it may seem the same as the food-animal vet, 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 this type of veterinarians also test for the safety of animal medications and additives.

In fact, 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.

Read also;

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Veterinarian

Part of the job description of a veterinarian is knowing the duties and responsibilities. You need to know that a lot is expected of you. You literally hold the lives of your clients in your hands and therefore 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 clinics never empty or free of work, is the same way a veterinary is never free of work.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of a vet include:

  • 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 it depends on the qualification of the vet.
  • 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 faeces can also be tested for correct diagnosis.
  • Counselling and recommending animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
  • Euthanizing animals
  • Maintaining patients’ medical record – both past and present
  • Scheduling appointments.

Qualifications and Requirements of a Veterinarian

  • A master’s degree in veterinary medicine, a PhD 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 skills necessary for the success of the job.

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

While looking for jobs, it is also important to write these skills in your resume. Some of them include:

1. Organizational skills

There is so much paperwork to do as a doctor.

From scheduling appointments to diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication and accepting payments, you need to be organized.

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 is important for both your clients and their owners.

Always pay attention to what animal owners are saying, give them your undivided attention.

Animals can’t talk so it’s imperative that you listen and communicate effectively with their owners.

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 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

Inasmuch as you need to deal kindly with animals, it is important to be realistic and be 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.

In fact, you should be able to give an account of every resource you have used.

8. Personal Hygiene

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

What Can You Expect In A Day?

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

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

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

If you don’t have your own practice and are working for any firm or for someone, your job description can also differ. Employers expect different things most times.

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 consultation, book-keeping, etc. while they travel long or short distances to meet with their clients.

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

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 the animal you’re specialized in.

For example, you will earn less as a companion-animal vet if you worked 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.

In fact, research has it 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 and it isn’t only for animals. It is also for human beings and it is a calling.

You need to be conscious and present in everything to be a good vet.

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

See other job description guide like this one;


Please Share this to Family and Friends
You May Also Like