Vets diagnose and treat sick or injured animals.

Day-to-day tasks

In general veterinary practice you could:

  • diagnose and treat sick and injured animals
  • perform operations
  • carry out blood analyses, X-rays and scans
  • provide care for animals in veterinary hospitals
  • carry out regular health checks and give vaccinations
  • check farm animals and advise on how to stop diseases spreading
  • supervise veterinary nurses and support staff
  • keep records of treatments
  • communicate with pet owners and insurers
  • neuter animals to stop them breeding
  • put severely injured or terminally ill animals to sleep
  • follow public health and hygiene laws

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of animal medicine and dentistry
  • knowledge of biology
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Industry Qualifications

To get into this job you need to complete a veterinary degree approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Entry to courses is highly competitive. For this reason the selection process is very thorough.

You can expect to be interviewed and to take screening tests at most universities. You will  need to show that:

  • you are able to meet the academic requirements of the course
  • you understand what the role involves
  • that you are highly motivated
  • that you have gained some relevant work experience

Full-time veterinary degrees usually take 5 to 6 years. If you already have a degree in a related subject, you may be able to take a 4-year graduate entry veterinary degree course.

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