For a horse veterinarian to practice medicine, they must hold a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine and pass an examination for licensure. These veterinarians who are referred to as an Equine Veterinarian work to provide medical treatment to horses and protect horses’ welfare by working with owners of competitive horses, ranchers and breeders among others.
Job Profile of a Horse Veterinarian
Horse veterinarians perform surgical operations on horses, apart from being engage in the general treatment of ailments after diagnosing them, and in the provision of vaccinations; equine veterinarians usually visit ranches and farms to treat horses and do not insist on the ailing horses brought to their clinics. Usually, a horse veterinarian would spend most of their lives working with the equine beasts. Horse owners usually consult horse veterinarians on matters such as breeding, performance improvement, stabling and diet, among other topics.
A prospective horse veterinarian must complete a bachelor degree program whose coursework includes statistics, calculus, zoology, biochemistry, biology, physics, and chemistry. Students aspiring to become horse veterinarians can vie for admission to a doctoral program in veterinary medicine by taking the Medical College Medicine Admission Test (MCAT), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submitting the scores. These degree programs are usually 4-year courses, once they complete their graduate degree, a potential horse veterinarian must complete a board certification exam for licensure, then completing a one-year internship program.
Pre-requisite Career Skills of a Horse Veterinarian
Horse veterinarians are required to protect horses’ welfare and uphold ethical practices, particularly in the case of competitive horses (source: The American Association of Equine Practitioners – www.aaep.org). A potential horse veterinarian must have business and marketing skills to become successful in running and promoting a private practice.
Career and Wage Potential for Horse Veterinary Medicine
The demands for veterinarians, including horse veterinarians, are projected to remain strong in the decade ahead (source: The U.S. Department of Labor – www.bls.gov). There are a limited number of students who complete graduate programs in veterinary medicine every year. The low numbers of graduates effectively guarantees jobs for all of them. In 2008, veterinarians, including equine veterinarians, earned an annual average salary of $89,450.