What is a Large Animal Vet?
A large animal vet is a veterinary professional that works with livestock species such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs. Large animal vets can work in a clinic setting, travel to different sites, or a combination of each! And ALWAYS have their vet equipment ready to go in the truck. The tasks of a large animal vet can vary from one professional to another.
Some of the duties a large animal veterinarian can perform for farm animals are:
- Vaccinate against infections, diseases, and conditions
- Diagnosing large animals with regular or urgent medical check-ups
- Carry out routine or emergency surgeries
- Prescribe and administer medications
- Performing X-rays and ultrasounds
- Testing to control diseases
- Fertility monitoring to ensure that animals have a healthy reproductive system
- Educate farmers and owners about how to properly look after large animals
Large Animal Vet Salary
There are several different career paths to choose from in the veterinary field. Many large animal vets also work with small animals. Others specialize and only work with cattle, bovine, porcine or horses. According to a report from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) done in 2018, there are 1,286 veterinarians working only with livestock animals, 4,182 vets that specialized in both small and large animals, and 4,125 equine veterinarians (all these statics have increased in 2020). The entry salary for large animal vets is around $75.000 a year.
Maybe you have been living in a farm all your life and caring for livestock animals is what gives purpose to your life, or maybe you went to a horse riding school and felt in love with those beautiful creatures and you wanted to pursue a career in veterinary school just to work with horses. If you make the decision to enter large animal medicine, you are among some of the hardest and dedicated workers out there. Large animal medicine tests your strength, knowledge, and your passion daily.
Many people don’t know the physical and mental hard work that goes on behind the scenes in large animal medicine. Large animal vets have great communication skills to explain and interact with owners, livestock veterinarians are also adaptable and resourceful to deal with emergencies and unusual circumstances, and of course, they need to be an animal advocate and sometimes deal with hard situations.
There is nothing more rewarding for you than seeing a horse, cow or pig thrive after treatment or surgery recovery and no matter how tough it can get, you have to make sure to laugh at the hairy situations you may face from day to day! Large animal medicine brings with it some challenging, yet hilarious situations. You might be a large animal vet if you’ve ever experienced any of these scenarios!
YOU KNOW YOU’RE A LARGE ANIMAL VET WHEN:
- You’d rather float a horse’s teeth than trim a pug’s nails.
- You’ve thrown away an entire set of clothes after work.
- You wash your hands BEFORE going to the restroom.
- You have unidentified bruises everywhere.
- When you say “WHOA” to a small animal.
- When you find hay in your clothes after work.
- You have poop stains all the way up to your armpit.
- Your friends and family think you’re super strong (restraining and handling large animals it’s not an easy job).
- When you realize that you may need more than two hands to get the job done
Thank you to everyone for their participation on our Facebook post asking for your feedback about being a large animal vet! We look forward to having more posts in the future for you to contribute to your daily life as a veterinary professional.
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I’m a Licensed Vet Tech with a passion to spread awareness for animal welfare and knowledge as far and often as I can!