Veterinary Science is the science of diagnosing, treating and curing the diverse types of diseases in birds and animals. The subject broadly covers the study of animal physiology, treatment and prevention of diseases among animals. The basic principles of this specialized branch of study are quite similar to that of human medical sciences. But the job profile of a veterinary doctor or a vet is much more than that of a general physician or a surgeon. It involves not only taking care of animal health but also includes scientific breeding and handling of livestock.
Besides giving treatment, Vets perform surgery, prevent spreading of diseases in animals by administering timely vaccination and medicines and give advice on care of pets and farm animals. Their activities may also include Animal husbandry- animal breed improvement by 'selection breeding' and artificial insemination, animal research in order to control spread of diseases transmitted through animals; thus protecting the public from exposure to diseases carried by animals, wildlife conservation, poultry management and health care, livestock insurance and rural development. Broadly a veterinary doctor has a major role in the conservation of livestock and domestic animal wealth.
Veterinary doctors deal with the treatment, care and handling of domestic pets, livestock, animals in the zoo, laboratory, sporting animals or animals with the government's animal husbandry departments. They take up practice exclusively of either large animals such as cattle including horses, pigs, sheep; poultry etc or small animals mainly household pets including dogs, cats, birds etc. or both. The approach in treatment vary according to different animals. The vets must be familiar with the many breeds of pets or livestock and the characteristics of each so that they can recommend diets, exercise regiments and treatment, specific to the breed.
The scope for veterinarians in the future is bright. As keeping pets is becoming a fad now, the demand for private veterinary clinics is on the rise in metropolitan cities. And similarly, there has been an unprecedented growth in the poultry sector and animal products’ technology sector, resulting.
To practice as a veterinarian it is essential to have a Bachelor's degree in Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.). To be eligible for the Bachelor's in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (B.V.Sc & AH) course, a candidate should have passed the class 12 examination with science subjects such as Physics, Che mistry and Biology.
Selection : Admission to most veterinary colleges is on the basis of results obtained in the entrance examination conducted by the concerned universities. Veterinary Council of India conducts an 'All India Common Entrance examination' (AICEE) for admission to first year Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) & Animal Husbandry (AH) degree course for filling up 15% of the total number of seats of each veterinary college of all states; about 36 colleges where Indian Veterinary council Act, 1984 extends. This Entrance exam is usually held in the month of May each year. For admission to masters degree programme, an All India Entrance Examination is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The duration of the BVSc & AH varies from four and a half years to five years, including the period of internship. The first four years of the training programme are devoted to imparting skills through theoretical and practical training in various disciplines, like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, livestock management and production, production technology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, genetics and breeding, gynaecology, surgery, medicine and animal husbandry extension, among others and the fifth year is devoted to hands-on training, of which six months is through internship. The internship includes three months’ training at the Teaching Veterinary Clinical Service Complex (TVCSC) under the supervision of a senior clinician and in field veterinary hospitals on a rotation basis. Veterinary students undergo a one-month practical training in livestock production and management at animal farms, then one-month training in poultry production and management and another one-month training in livestock products’ technology and other services. Apart from learning to treat animals, training is also provided in dairying and poultry sciences.
Generally after doing B.VSc, most candidates go on to do a post graduation, namely a Master in Veterinary Science. The Postgraduate course in Veterinary Science (M.V.Sc.) is a 2 year course and the candidate has the option to specialize in areas like medicine, surgery, anatomy, bacteriology, biochemistry, cardiology, dermatology, microbiology, molecular biology, anaesthesia, gynaecology, pathology, toxicology, virology pharmacology, etc. For jobs in the research and teaching areas, a post-graduate degree in veterinary science and animal husbandry is a minimum qualification, while a Ph.D. is preferred.
Personal Skills : The first and foremost attribute required for a good veterinarian is genuine love and compassion for animals. A good vet must read the signs from the animal's behavior and diagnose the ailment. As the animals cannot describe the problem, vets have to diagnose it skillfully. Vets must also be able to handle emergencies and work in physically disagreeable conditions, or in rural areas where working hours may be long and irregular, and working conditions uncomfortable. Working with large animals requires physical stamina and quick body reflexes to tackle the animal's moody behavior and should be able to instinctively gauge the animal's condition. A vet should have the ability to put the animals at ease, to do teamwork, have powers of observation and self reliance, adaptability, indifference to the occasionally disagreeable conditions of work. He needs to be extra sensitive and patient.
Veterinary science offers a large number of avenues of work and the demand for Veterinary doctors has increased tremendously. Veterinarians can choose to work with the government animal husbandry departments, poultry farms, dairy farms, sheep and rabbit farms, race clubs, stud farms, private and government veterinary hospitals and clinics. Wildlife sanctuaries and zoological parks as well as aviaries need veterinarians. The Army and the Border Security Forces also employ veterinarians for the care and treatment of their mounted regiments which have horses, mules, camels and dogs. Private practice is another option they can consider. Teaching is another option as experienced professionals are recruited in various institutions to train the new entrants to the field.
Besides regular practice, vets can also take up research work, either on their own or in association with the government such as ICAR (Indian council for Agricultural Research). Pharmaceutical industries appoint veterinary scientists in their research and development divisions for the research and development of drugs, chemicals and bio-products particularly antibiotics and vaccines both for human and animal use. They can also work in technical sales, agribusiness, marketing, pet food manufacturing industries and in management of industries dealing with animal feed, animal products, milk and meat products processing industries etc.
The amount of remuneration of a veterinarian depends upon the kind of practice and the animals that are treated. An average vet can earn between Rs.5, 000 to Rs.50, 000 per month. A private practitioner may get lucrative monetary returns depending on his popularity and the number of years of experience. He may be able to earn Rs. 40 - Rs. 500 per patient, depending on the type of medical treatment the animal needs. As an Assistant Professor, a vet can earn a salary over Rs 4,000. The government also has job openings in this field, as livestock development officers, and the pay is Rs. 8,000 depending on position and experience.