The common response that most people have when they hear the words “Army or military veterinarian” is “why in the world do we ever need them?” This article aims to provide a detailed description of the unique job that the army veterinarian perform and how it can become a fulfilling career.
So let us start by stating that the military needs veterinarian the same it needs doctor, nurses and lawyers. It is not difficult at all to comprehend. Just imagine a cavalry using mighty horses or the smart explosive detection dogs that are saving lives of millions every day. Not very hard, was it?
Thus it is the primary job description of an army veterinarian to provide top-quality care both medical and surgical to a variety of military operating animals. In order to maintain proficiency, military veterinarians extend their services to military family pets as well which also make them more prepared to deal with injured or sick animal in a combat environment. Along with saving lives of military animals, army veterinarians also play a significant role in supporting the public health missions for the society.
They actively work with physicians, doctors and preventive medicine experts in developing zoonotic disease prevention strategies. For example special attention is given to rabies in areas where that is still a serious concern. Other than that, military veterinarians also supervise food inspection team and make sure that all the food sent to the military services members and their families come from safe sources and eventually prepared in a proper manner.
An army veterinarian also gets to travel the world in his job tenure when he is sent to perform audits on different food and beverages manufacturing firms and to make sure that proper food safety standards are followed by those manufacturers. Most of the new veterinarian graduates spend around 5 or 6 years in the army performing a combination of missions just described above.
There are also many unique opportunities available for early career veterinarian that they can easily volunteer for. For example, Special Forces vets have to be airborne qualified and they often go behind the enemy lines to work with the local population on different animal health related projects which might also help in creating goodwill and pacifying the dangerous situations. There are also many humanitarian missions that are in need of good army veterinarian that can provide veterinary aid to poor countries around the world.
There are also flexible options available to those army veterinarians who wish to pursue a twenty year career in this field. The army will pay for such vets to go back to school for their MPH or PhD or any other research related residency program.
An army veterinarian has a limited choice, it is true. But the job provides so many incentives and benefits, both monetary and non monetary that completely overshadow the fact that they might not have a complete control over the choices regarding their career and job placements.