In Summary - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
The Work - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
The Veterinary Surgeon's work is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals including farm animals, horses and domestic pets.
Members of the profession are also concerned with food hygiene and inspection, the control of contagious and infectious diseases, and the promotion of healthy flocks and herds. Animals are carefully examined while alive and also after slaughter to ensure that the meat supply to the general public is wholesome and free of disease and that a high standard of hygienic handling is maintained.
Most Veterinary Surgeons engage in private practice, but large numbers are employed in the government service and by local authorities. They also work in teaching and research in Universities and in the scientific field and small numbers are employed in the pharmaceuticals industry.
All vets perform surgical operations and may undertake post-mortems to find out the cause of an animal's death.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Examine animals to detect and determine the nature of diseases or injuries.
- Treat sick or injured animals by prescribing medication, setting bones, dressing wounds, or performing surgery.
- Collect body tissue, feces, blood, urine, or other body fluids for examination and analysis.
- Inoculate animals against various diseases such as rabies or distemper.
- Counsel clients about the deaths of their pets or about euthanasia decisions for their pets.
- Operate diagnostic equipment, such as radiographic or ultrasound equipment, and interpret the resulting images.
- Advise animal owners regarding sanitary measures, feeding, general care, medical conditions, or treatment options.
- Educate the public about diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.
- Attend lectures, conferences, or continuing education courses.
- Establish or conduct quarantine or testing procedures that prevent the spread of diseases to other animals or to humans and that comply with applicable government regulations.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Interests - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
As a veterinary surgeon you must have a real concern for the welfare of animals and the capacity to deal effectively with people. You must not be squeamish, as you will have to work in the presence of blood and excrement. You must also have an objective attitude to animal welfare - sometimes you might have to put down an animal to prevent suffering.
You also need good communication skills and the ability to be sympathetic and understanding when dealing with pet owners. This can be a very demanding profession so physical fitness and stamina are important.
Entry Requirements - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
A degree in Veterinary Medicine is required to register with the Veterinary Council. Only registered persons so are entitled to practice as Veterinary Practitioners/Surgeons in the Republic of Ireland and other EU Member States.
UCD is the only college in Ireland offering the required degree programme - See DN300 - A 5 Year Level 8 honours degree programme. There are only 80 places available so entry is competitive.
There were 2,408 registered Veterinary Practitioners in the State at the close of 2014. A total of 145 new Veterinary Practitioners joined the register for the first time in 2014 - 81 of these were new graduates.
Of the 81 New graduates, 49 qualified in Ireland, 6 qualified in the UK and 26 qualified in other EU countries. Of the 26 EU graduate Veterinary Practitioners who joined the register, over 16 (60%) qualified in Hungary.
See also Study Abroad
Last Updated: January, 2016
Pay & Salary - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 15k - 63k
Veterinary Surgeon: 27 - 59
Veterinarian: 29 - 63
Veterinary Nurse: 15 - 31
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon
This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.
National Skills Bulletin 2018