Veterinarians in private clinical practice work to prevent disease and other health problems within their patients. They examine patients, perform vaccinations against diseases, prevent the transmission of diseases from animals to people, plus offer advice to owners on specific ways to maintain their pets and livestock’s health and nutrition. Veterinarians in private or clinical practice often times are forced to work long hours in noisy indoor environments. Sometimes they have to deal with emotional or demanding pet owners. Plus, when they are working with animals that are frightened or in pain, they risk being bitten, kicked, or scratched.
If an owner brings their pet into the vets office because of a health problem that has developed, the vet will diagnose the problem and then go over treatment options and treat the problem. Treatment, depending on the problem may involve procedures such as:
- Emergency life-saving measures
- Prescribing medicine
- Setting a fractured bone
- Giving birth
- Performing surgery
- Advising owner of proper or changed feeding and care of pet
In most cases, an accurate diagnosis will require the use of equipment such as radiography (x-rays), laboratory testing, and other specialized equipment. Private practice veterinarians mainly treat dogs and cats, however they are capable of diagnosing and treating problems in rabbits, ferrets, hamsters and other rodents, reptiles, fish, birds, farm animals and more.
According to the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics, 75% of all veterinarians are in private practice within the U.S. Among them, 58% take part exclusively in small animal practice, which only treats companion animals. Also, about 18% limit their care to farm animals, large animals such as horses and cattle, plus livestock and food animals. With that, another 19% engage in mixed, or general, practice which treats all types of pets, including horses and other large animals.
Private Practice Veterinarian Education
To work in a private practice setting as a veterinarian, you must obtain your DVM, or Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. To do this, you must first meet all requirements set by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) as they are the one who accredits schools, colleges and universities who have veterinary medicine programs. You must also pass national and state examinations. If you pass the exams, you will then be awarded a diploma and allowed to begin private practice.
Private Practice Veterinarian Salary
The median salary for new graduates who choose to work in private practice is $49,000 annually. This number is the average of private practice veterinarians who work in small and large facilities. Other private practice vets earn an average of $91,000 annually, however, they are more experienced, credentialed, trained and educated.
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