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Small Animal Veterinarian


A small animal veterinarian is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of sickness, disease and injury in companion animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, caged birds, and other small pets.



What responsibilities will I have?

  • Provide clinical and surgical care and disease surveillance to small animals
  • Prescribe and administer medications and set fractures
  • Administer vaccinations and draw blood for testing
  • Humanely euthanize terminally ill or fatally wounded animals
  • Perform reproductive surgeries like spay or neuter procedures
  • Give technical advice on products for small animals or pets
  • Operate medical equipment like x-ray machines and ultrasound technology
  • Advise on measures to prevent the occurrence or spread of diseases
  • Adhere to standard safety protocols and maintain a clean, sterile environment
  • Communicate and educate pet owners about disease, preventative, breeding and behavior
  • Perform site visits as needed


What education and training is required?

A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is required to become a small animal veterinarian. You may also consider receiving special certifications for therapy, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, neurology, or critical care.


To pursue a career as a Small Animal Veterinarian:

The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education, animal science, biology, chemistry, computer courses, and mathematics.


Where can I work?

Small animal veterinarians may be self-employed or work for clinics, animal hospitals, laboratories, or animal health companies.


Future Job Market / Outlook

The future outlook for a small animal veterinarian will be good over the next five years. 


Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • North American Veterinary Technician Association
  • American Association of Feline Veterinarians
  • World Small Animal Veterinary Association 
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