Veterinary surgeons perform surgeries on animals. Many of them specialize in certain types of animals. For example, there are veterinary surgeons who perform operations on small domestic animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and other types of animals that people typically keep as pets. There are also veterinary surgeons who specialize in equine medicine, which means that they perform surgery on horses. Livestock veterinary surgeons perform surgery on cattle, sheep and other farm animals. Some surgeons are specialists in caring for wildlife.
Veterinary surgeons work in clinics, animal hospitals, private practices and in academic research centers. Their work is both mental and physical. They are required to know how to perform surgeries for a wide range of issues that can arise in the animals they specialize in. They often work indoors in sterile environments, such as at large animal hospitals.
Veterinary surgeons require advanced degrees and training. Getting into a veterinary school is difficult, and good grades are required. Veterinary surgeons must take advanced courses in biology, chemistry and anatomy. They also must train under a certified veterinary surgeon before they are allowed to graduate and enter into practice.
Veterinary surgeons' hours are generally full-time with long hours. When they work in emergency hospitals, they will often work rotating shifts so that the hospital is always covered. When they are not at work, they are often on-call and will be contacted if an animal that needs immediate surgery is brought into the hospital or clinic they are affiliated with.
Some veterinary surgeons go into private practice, while others prefer to work for large universities and hospitals. They sometimes go into research, as well, or become teachers at veterinary schools.
Veterinary Surgeon Tasks
- Specialize in advanced surgical procedures such as joint replacement, oncological surgery and complicated wound management.
- May also perform research and / or teach courses at a veterinary school.
- Perform surgery on small domestic animals or pets and/or farm animals.