Public Health

Also known as epidemiologists, public health vets can work for city, county, state and/or federal agencies. They help control and prevent animal and human diseases, as well as investigate animal and human disease outbreaks such as:

  • Influenza
  • West Nile Virus
  • Rabies
  • Food Borne Illnesses

They also help to ensure the safety of food processing plants, water supplies and restaurants, since many public health veterinarians are employed by agencies such as:

  • EPA, Environmental Protection Agency
  • FDA, Food and Drug Administration
  • USDA, United States Department of Agriculture
  • FWS, Fish and Wildlife Service
  • NIH, National Institute of Health and its National Library of Medicine
  • USPHSCC, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Public Health Veterinarian Duties

While working in these agencies, epidemiologists study the effects of pesticides, industrial pollutants, and other contaminants on animals and people. They also evaluate the safety and efficacy of medicines, medical products, pet foods and food additives. Other veterinarians are employed by the CDC, or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These vets protect the public and public health by investigating diseases that animals can transmit to humans such as Ebola, and other diseases that affect the health of animals and humans. Plus, they are involved in investigating disease outbreaks throughout the entire world, as well as help in developing programs to prevent the spread of specific diseases like malaria and the avian influenza.

When it comes to communities rebuilding after manmade or natural disasters, veterinarians play an extremely crucial role in the recover efforts since there are significant risks after these disasters aimed at animals and humans. The DHS, or Department of Homeland Security has also being employing veterinarians to help protect the health and safety of animals and people through their work in developing disease surveillance and antiterrorism procedures and protocols. So as you can see, when it comes to protecting not only the health of animals, public health veterinarians play a major role in maintaining the health of humans too and the government stops at nothing to make sure veterinarians are doing just that.

Public health vets also consult regularly with physicians, emergency rooms, legislators, local officials, schools, health departments and the general public on preventing exposures to and controlling diseases that humans can get from animals and animal products.

Public Health Veterinarian Salary

The average median salary for public health veterinarians from 2007-2009 was approximately $100,000 annually. Although other types of veterinarians make more (Private Industry Veterinarians) annually, being a public health veterinarian can rely on the benefits as well as the paycheck.  Working for local, state and federal agencies can provide a steady, secure income, as well as multiple bonuses and benefits that can include vacation time, sick leave, maternity leave, etc.