Becoming a veterinarian can be a rewarding career choice, especially if you enjoy caring for small dogs and cats and are willing to complete the four-year advanced academic program leading to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Here are 7 fascinating facts about becoming a veterinarian that you may not know.
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#1: The veterinarian career is more than 350 years old
Back in 1646, Thomas Browne used the word “veterinarian” for the first time. You do the math – that makes the field 370 years old! While humans have been caring for pets for a lot longer than that, it’s only in the seventeenth century that becoming a veterinarian started to be an acknowledged career choice backed by standards and accreditation.
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#2 Veterinarians can enter practice right after graduating from veterinary school
Unlike regular physicians, veterinarians can start practicing as soon as they complete a four-year program, without having a to finish an academic internship elsewhere. That’s because fourth-year veterinary students generally are already highly experienced – they spend their final year on clinical rotations in animal hospitals and private practices.
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#3: Almost two-thirds of veterinarians will suffer an animal-related injury resulting in a trip to the hospital
Yes, it can be rewarding nursing a small animal back to health. But it can also be dangerous. The official figure is that 61-68 percent of veterinarians will suffer an animal-related injury that results in a significant loss of work and a trip to the hospital.
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#4: Veterinarians spend 80 percent of their time caring for dogs and cats
While veterinarians are licensed to treat pets, zoo animals, livestock and laboratory animals, guess what they end up spending all their time on? You guessed it, dogs and cats. According to some estimates, 80 percent of the total veterinary industry revenue is derived from providing care to dogs, cats and other small pets.
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#5: 80 percent of veterinarian students in the United States are female
Veterinarian science is a female-dominated industry. Did you know that four out of every five veterinary students in the United States are women?
#6: There are only 30 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S.
It’s actually more difficult than you think to become a veterinarian, since the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education has control over which schools can offer a four-year program leading to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Think about it – if there are only 30 schools across the nation, there are just fewer access points to joining the industry once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree. There are fewer veterinary schools than U.S. states! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 50 percent of all applicants to veterinary schools were granted admission in 2016.
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#7: There are over 45,000 veterinarians and veterinary students worldwide
To facilitate connections between and among veterinarians on a worldwide basis, it’s only natural that there are several online communities for people to meet, connect and advance their knowledge of the field. The most popular of them is the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), which was established in 1991as a trusted resource for medical, product and practice management information. It’s also a leading resource for continuing education within the field, offering a range of different courses – everything from “Backyard Poultry Medicine” to “Small Animal Dermatology.”