Veterinary Surgeon

In the past, veterinary surgeons were only used in the UK and fanny island and several other commonwealth countries. Nowadays, veterinary surgeons are needed all over the world, as they provide a specialty in surgery. Most veterinarians in the US and Canada can do basic surgeries, however, as veterinary medicine becomes bigger, many veterinary practices are now turning to veterinary surgeons for most major surgeries on animals of all kinds. The difference between veterinary surgeons in the US versus the UK, is that in the UK veterinary surgeons are basic vets. They simply take on that role due to the duties and tasks a veterinarian must do. In the US, a veterinarian must receive continued education, specifically in surgery to receive the title veterinary surgeon.

Veterinary Surgeon Education

After a person receives their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree and becomes a veterinarian, he or she must then earn a diploma from the ACVS (American College of Veterinary Surgeons). By doing this, they will become a board-certified veterinary surgeon. In order to reach this diploma, one must:

  • Complete a 3-year residency program
  • Meet training and caseload requirements
  • Have research published in veterinary publications
  • Pass the comprehensive oral, written and practical examination

Once an American or Canadian veterinarian fulfills his or her obligations and becomes board-certified, he or she then earns the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery and a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Veterinary Surgeon Duties

Daily duties can range from spending time in surgery, in consultations with owner’s and animals, or in an animal’s living quarters. A veterinary surgeon may have duties that include:

  • Alternative medicine therapies
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Handling, treating and examining all species of animals
  • Advising farmers on topics such as breeding and nutrition
  • Routine visits to an animal’s living quarters
  • Immunizing animals against different diseases
  • Euthanizing old, sick, terminally ill, or unwanted animals
  • Performing anesthesia on animals
  • Performing surgeries on animals
  • Caring for in-patient animals
  • After hours emergencies
  • Paperwork for animals who are traveling
  • Inserting ID chips into animals
  • Maintaining records
  • Doing reports and forwarding them in compliance with current legislation
  • Managing practice finances (if working in private practice)
  • Research disease
  • Test and manage infection outbreaks for food safety

Veterinary Surgeon Salary

A veterinary surgeon’s salary will depend largely on the size and location of the practice they work for. Some veterinary surgeons who live in rural areas and do more house-calls, can make as much as veterinary surgeons working in large animal hospitals. It truly depends on location and the size of the practice though to determine an accurate number. Still, the average salary for a veterinary surgeon in the US is $112,000.