Veterinary graduates have a wide range of career options.
Most graduates are employed in general practice. Practitioners act as anaesthetists, radiologists,
physicians and surgeons. The provision of a 24-hour service is mandatory.
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Some practitioners work with
a wide range of species whereas others are more specialised.
Practitioners specialising in companion animals are likely to find that individual animals are their
patients, although they will also find scope for preventive medicine and advisory work.
Treatment is often highly sophisticated and there are a number of private veterinary hospitals. There are also referral hospitals where more specialised treatments are available.
Practitioners specialising in farm animals are as much concerned with preventive medicine in flocks and
herds as with the treatment of individual animals. They are knowledgeable in breeding and nutritional
problems and the spread and control of disease. They also advise on the production of safe, wholesome
food and the associated animal welfare issues.
Veterinarians in farm animal practice must be familiar with computerised records on health and production and be able to interpret them in the formulation and appraisal of disease control programmes.
Graduates can also choose a career in research and/or teaching, usually after postgraduate training in
one of the basic biological sciences or in a clinical speciality. Veterinary scientists are employed in natural
science laboratories, in veterinary and medical schools, in medical research institutes and in those
institutions which deal expressly with animal health and disease.
Many opportunities exist in either government services or related 'Agency' services: for example in the
Veterinary Field Service (VFS), the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), the Meat Hygiene Service
(MHS) and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) which consists of regional veterinary investigation
centres, and the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL).
The Scottish equivalent is part of the Scottish Agricultural Colleges and for Northern Ireland the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture Veterinary Service. The VFS is involved in controlling and eradicating major epidemic diseases of farm animals, controlling the import and export of animals and animal products, operating animal health
schemes and matters relating to animal welfare.