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The Veterinarian’s Role

Veterinarians are highly educated individuals who are experts in the health of animals. The profession is regulated by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), requiring veterinary students to pass a certification exam in order to practice veterinary medicine. The AVMA recognizes 38 veterinary specialties and their 21 affiliated organizations, which promote various aspects of pet care, including:

  • Alternative medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • Animal behavior
  • Animal welfare
  • Canine
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical pathology
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic imaging  
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Exotics
  • Feline
  • Internal medicine
  • Laboratory animal medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Neurology
  • Nutrition
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Parasitology
  • Pathology
  • Preventative medicine
  • Radiology
  • State veterinary medicine
  • Sports medicine
  • Surgery
  • Theriogenology
  • Toxicology


After passing regulatory exams, a veterinarian takes The Veterinarian’s Oath, vowing to use their education and training “for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”

What does a veterinarian do?

The purpose of veterinary medicine is to treat ailing animals, prevent disease transmission from animal to human, contain animal disease, and educate the public about proper pet and animal care. Throughout the extent of your pet’s life, there may be numerous times where you seek veterinary care, during which the doctor can prescribe medicine, perform surgery, vaccinate a pet, and offer advice about helping nurse your pet back to health.

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