Veterinarian Job Description

Veterinarian Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a veterinarian. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a veterinarian.


Who is a Veterinarian? 

Veterinarians are trained medical personnel that specializes in the treatment and prevention of diseases in animals. They work in veterinary practices, veterinary clinics, public veterinary services, or animal laboratories and look after domestic, farm, and wild animals. Depending on the area of ​​activity, the main tasks of veterinarians can be different.

They diagnose illnesses, treat injured animals, perform surgical interventions or accompany the pregnancy of animals and help with childbirth. Veterinarians are also involved in animal welfare, for example in the food industry, where animal products are processed. They also deal with disease control issues and are flexible to be ready for emergencies on weekends or at any given time.


Treatments & therapies used by veterinarians

Veterinarians are primarily charged with looking after animals so that their health is preserved and possible diseases are treated properly.

The tasks carried out by them in detail depend, among other things, on whether a specialization has taken place and the animal species that are under examination. A country veterinarian deals with vaccinations, clipping of claws, and treatment of common diseases that occur in farm animals. The subject of species and appropriate husbandry, to which the veterinarian has to pay attention, also plays a very important role here.

Vets in small animal practices have very similar tasks: They look after small pets such as cats, dogs, rodents, and birds and are responsible for grooming their fur and claws, castration or sterilization, or the treatment of diseases and complaints specific to the species.

In the small animal practice, the emotional bond between the animal owner and the patient must also be taken into account. If veterinarians are employed in research or, for example, in the food industry, special attention is paid to the scientific aspect of veterinary medicine.


Diagnosis & examination methods used by veterinarians

Veterinarians use very different diagnostic and examination methods, depending on their area of ​​application and task.

These meanwhile hardly differ from those used in human medicine. In addition to an apparent examination of the animal and a detailed discussion with the animal owner, a blood or urine test can take place, depending on symptoms and suspicions. Imaging methods such as ultrasound or X-ray examinations or computer tomographies are also used nowadays in veterinary medicine to detect broken bones, internal injuries or inflammations, and tumors

If surgery is necessary, the veterinarian will use appropriate anesthesia, depending on the species and size, to numb the animal. The surgical instruments used in a surgical procedure also differ at most in size from the devices known from human medicine.

Since animals do not always stand still during examinations in veterinary practice, it is more often necessary in veterinary medicine to administer anesthetics (albeit in small doses) to be able to make an exact diagnosis or to be able to carry out certain interventions.


Areas of activity for veterinarians

Small animal practice

Small animal medicine follows the advancement in human medicine particularly. This applies to devices such as x-rays, ultrasound, or computed tomography as well as surgical methods, laboratory diagnostics, or drug therapy. While the number of pets kept no longer shows any significant growth, the number of visits to the vet by dog ​​and cat owners with their animals continues to rise. The intensity of care by veterinarians is increasing. Specialists are more and more in demand, be it in areas such as cardiology, dermatology, oncology, geriatrics, naturopathic or behavioral therapy, or for special animal groups such as ornamental birds, fish, reptiles, or small mammals.

Equine practice

Equine medicine has made technical advances similar to those in small animal medicine. As in small animal medicine, the owners have demands on high-tech apparatus. The majority of horse practice consists of driving practice as in farm animal medicine because most horses are looked after by a local veterinarian and are only referred to a horse clinic for special examinations.

Farm animal practice

The intensification of agriculture and the increasing demands on the performance of livestock have not remained without consequences for the area of ​​activity in large animal practice. The future lies in the comprehensive veterinary care of the herd. In theory, the livestock sector has the same medical development potential as a small animal or equine medicine but is much more dependent than these on external framework conditions.

First and foremost is the fact that it is about food-producing animals and therefore always also about consumer health protection. The livestock practitioner is an expert in animal health, animal welfare, and food safety.



Veterinarian Job Description

Veterinarians’ roles vary by workplace, but generally, they diagnose diseases in animals and develop a treatment plan. In veterinary practices, they mainly treat small and domestic animals, carry out sterilization, castration, and vaccinations, and sometimes have to euthanize sick and old animals. Veterinarians who specialize in the treatment of large and farm animals work in veterinary clinics and higher health facilities.

In the field of public veterinary services, veterinarians are used to monitoring and controlling the keeping of farm animals. Veterinarians are also active in the pharmaceutical industry and research, where they focus in particular on laboratory work.

Their daily responsibilities include surgical procedures on injured animals, wound treatments, sterilizing, neutering animals, and prescribing medication.

They are the contact persons for the animal owners, regardless of whether it is about the treatment of illnesses and injuries or advice on animal nutrition or general husbandry.

Other important tasks include:

  • Examine animals and check their health status
  • Diagnose diseases and determine the best treatment
  • Perform operations on animals
  • Control of animal food production facilities
  • Ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act
  • Prescribe and administer medication
  • Provide care for animals after accidents
  • Veterinary practice management
  • Clean and dress wounds of injured animals
  • Perform dental, eye, and orthopedic operations
  • Vaccinate animals to prevent disease
  • Sterilize and neuter cats and dogs if necessary
  • Prescribe medication
  • Make occasional house calls for emergencies
  • Update client records




  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Dr. med. Vet.)
  • Professional experience as a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or specialist in deep medicine
  • Experience performing a variety of surgical procedures, vaccinations, and health exams on animals
  • Knowledge of medical devices (e.g. X-ray machines) and anesthetic procedures
  • Ability to explain medical terms and ailments in simple terms
  • Availability for emergency services in the evenings or weekends
  • Patience and love for animals




  • Inclined to science and deep love for animals.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team.
  • Reasoning ability in training activities such as scientific research and practical exercise.
  • Interest in solving problems related to health and animal production.
  • Interest in the prevention of harmful diseases to man and other animals.
  • Ability to interact with the research areas of biomedicine.
  • Skills for oral and written expression.


How to become a veterinarian

Preparation for veterinary school begins in high school when students choose colleges. There are few accredited schools of veterinary medicine and admission to these schools is very competitive. Prospective vets can get a head start with high grades in science courses.

Students spend the first half of their program completing courses in topics such as anatomy, physiology, human-animal relations, feeding, reproduction, immunology, pathology, parasitology, toxicology, and pharmacology. Students also learn about the history and practice of veterinary medicine, including ethics, imaging, and performing surgeries. Many programs also emphasize research, and students in these programs learn to interpret and conduct veterinary research.

The final part involves completing several clinical rotations. Students must complete a specified number of required rotations which may be animal medicine and surgery, radiology and imaging, dermatology, emergency care, wildlife medicine, and cardiology. Students are also expected to complete elective rotations and choose a specialty such as small animals, equines, exotics, or zoos and wildlife.

After graduation, a lot of veterinarians go for internships to get additional training before beginning their careers.


Where to work

The veterinarian can work independently or in partnership with a properly established company, having to fulfill different tasks depending on the specific area where the veterinarian works.


When we think of any branch of medicine, we automatically think of the clinical area, which refers to the practices of internal medicine, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases respectively. The veterinarian is trained to perform these tasks independently in a veterinary clinic.



The shelters daily bring new sick animals or animals that need health control, with the veterinarian in charge.



Many animals are taken to other countries on flights and, it is the veterinarian’s task to ensure that the conditions in which the animal will be transferred are optimal, in addition, it is essential to verify if the animal has the health requirements to travel outside the country.


Agricultural sector

The zootechnician and the veterinary technician or assistant generally act here, performing various tasks of administration, treatment, or even animal production.


Livestock productions

Livestock production deals with big and small pets, which need a professional to keep the health record up to date. This includes vaccination and deworming.

In addition to health control, the veterinarian can work as coordinator and supervisor of management practices in the establishment. It is common for him to employ recording and management techniques to improve farm production.



In the careers of the agricultural sector, a veterinarian will commonly be needed to teach general anatomy, nutrition in animals, or infectious diseases common in livestock production. This is one of the quietest places where a veterinarian can work.


Agricultural sales companies

In the agricultural companies and stores, food and medicines for animals will be sold, and having a veterinarian is essential since he will be the professional who gives the correct amounts and gives advice to customers.

There are different cases in which these same companies have an office where the veterinarian can make brief consultations and, thus, increase the sales of local drugs.


Armed forces

The areas in which veterinarians are deployed in the armed forces are predominantly the medical commandos or central institutes of the medical service. They monitor the handling of food of animal origin, examine and assess food and consumer goods from a microbiological point of view and are active in animal disease prophylaxis and animal welfare.


Other fields


Horseracing takes place on the racetracks where the equine species of horses have great physical effort in training and preparation. The presence of a veterinarian to oversee and recommend the best practice in this area is imperative.



In zoos, various animals need different types of care. In this particular situation, it is only a veterinarian who specializes in wild species of animals that would know the best action to take. This is one of the rare places where a veterinarian works.

Also, the use of veterinarians in zoological gardens and wildlife parks is very limited. Most veterinarians who work in this area look after a zoo or wildlife park part-time. There are only very few full-time positions in this area, so training to become a specialist veterinarian is correspondingly difficult.


Veterinarian salary scale

The salary of veterinarians varies depending on whether the person is employed in a clinic, or works in a research institute. The training in veterinary medicine takes place at the university, so, the veterinarian will only earn money after graduating.

If the veterinarian chooses to go for a doctorate, there will be a doctoral position waiting for him/her after their studies. This can take place in a clinic. Here, wages are still relatively low. If the workload is high, remuneration of fewer than 1,000 euros can be expected in some cases.

The payment of assistant veterinarians is significantly better, and if employed, the veterinarian can look forward to gross earnings of around 2,000 to 2,500 euros. Veterinarians with their practice for farm animals sometimes earn salaries of up to 2,800 euros a month.

With a small animal practice, they can earn up to 2,300 euros, as the competition here is sometimes significantly greater than in other areas.


Working conditions and work-life balance

Working hours are very different in all industries. It is important to be well informed and to negotiate clearly defined working conditions, including night and weekend shifts for comfortability.

It is not easy to balance up work and family in this profession. Various areas in livestock and small animal practice, for example, might not be easy to combine with family life. But that depends on the type of practice. For instance, multi-person practices are generally better compatible with family planning, as services can be split up.

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