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veterinarian with a kitten and a puppy A doctor of veterinary medicine treats sick and injured animals and advises owners on the care of pets and livestock.  Some veterinarians work in wildlife preservation or perform research for pharmaceutical companies, while others work with large farm animals or domestic animals such as dogs, cats, and birds.  Veterinarians may be employed by zoos, aquariums, ranches, feed lots, animals shelters, or in private practice.

Veterinarians in private practice diagnose and treat animal health problems, and perform yearly checkups to keep track of weight, behavior, and vaccination status.  Private practice veterinarians also perform spaying or neutering procedures and dental cleanings.  They may also have to euthanize animals that are beyond medical help with the consent of the owner.

Veterinary colleges are extremely competitive, and only about one third of applicants are admitted. Candidates should first obtain a bachelor's degree or at least 45-90 hours of undergraduate study before applying to an accredited college of veterinary medicine.  Applicants must usually have at least a "B" average, and must take the Veterinary Aptitude Test, the Veterinary College Admission Test, the Medical College Admission Test, or the Graduate Record Examination.  Veterinarians seeking specialty board certification in one of twenty specialty fields must also complete a two to five year residency program and pass an additional examination.  All veterinarians must pass a state and national examination to obtain a license to practice.

Veterinarians should have a keen interest in animals and the biological sciences, as well as good communication skills and manual dexterity.  Employment opportunities for veterinarians are expected to grow much faster than the average through 2016.  For more information on educational and career opportunities, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Veterinarians in each State and Washington, DC

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About Veterinarians