The word veterinary comes from the Latin “veterinae” which means “working animals”. “Veterinarian was first used in print by Thomas Browne in 1646.
Facts about veterinarians 2: Term
The term veterinarian is used in North
America and other countries using predominantly American English,
whereas in the United Kingdom, and countries which are formerly part of
the British Empire or are part of the Commonwealth of Nations tend to
use the term veterinary surgeon.
Facts about veterinarians 3: Responsibilities
Vets are primarily required to treat disease, disorder or injury in
animals, which includes diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. The scope of
practice, specialty and experience of the individual vets will dictate exactly what interventions they perform, but most will perform surgery.
Facts about veterinarians 4: Euthanasia
Unlike in most human medicine, vets will often consider the
appropriateness of euthanasia (“putting to sleep”) if a condition is
likely to leave the animal in pain or with a poor quality of life.
Facts about veterinarians 5: American Vets
The majority of vets are employed in private
practice treating animals. About 75% of the employers are in the United
States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Facts about veterinarians 6: Other Employers
Other employers include charities treating animals, colleges of veterinary medicine, research laboratories, animal food companies,
and pharmaceutical companies. In many countries, the government may
also be a major employer of vets, such as the United States Department
of Agriculture of the State Veterinary Service in the United
Kingdom. State and local governments also employ veterinarians.
Facts about veterinarians 7: Focuses of Practice
Vets and their practices may be specialized in certain areas of veterinary medicine. Areas of focus include
nine different focuses: exotic animal veterinarian, conservation
medicine, small animal practice, laboratory animal practice, large
animal practice, equine medicine, food animal medicine, food animal medicine, food safety practice and wildlife medicine.
Facts about veterinarians 8: Salary
The mean salary for new graduates in the United States during 2010 was about US$48,674 including nearly 50% going on to advanced study
programs. Those not continuing their studies made US$ 67,359 at first,
whereas vets in the United Kingdom earned slightly less with new
graduate wages at an average of £25,000.
Facts about veterinarians 9: Licensing
Following academic education, most countries require a vet to be
registered with the relevant governing body, and to maintain this
license to practice.
Facts about veterinarians 10: In Popular Culture
Well-known depictions of a veterinarian at work are in James Herriot’s
“All Creatures Great and Small”, made into a BBC series. There is also
“Doctor Dolittle” which is a series of children’s books, one of which
was turned a 1967 movie. The movie was remade in 1998 with Eddie Murphy
as Dr. Dolittle.