Career Specialties in Veterinary Medicine

Career Specialties in Veterinary Medicine

Are you considering applying to veterinary school? Did you know that your degree can get you jobs in areas other than as a veterinarian or veterinary technologist/technician? Below are just some examples of other professions that you can enter with a degree in veterinary medicine.

Alternative Medicine | Anesthesiology | Behavior | Cardiology | Clinical Pathology | Dentistry | Dermatology | Genetics | Nutrition | Oncology | Ophthalmology | Pathology | Pharmacology

Alternative Medicine

Also known as holistic health care, this practice encompasses disciplines such as chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal therapy as well as many other related fields, such as massage therapy, Shiatsu, Reiki and other more esoteric fields.


Veterinary anesthesiologists are veterinarians who have graduated from veterinary school and have successfully completed advanced, formal training in anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists are trained in the management of animals who are rendered unconscious during diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical procedures. Their profession is concerned with pain management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and support, and care for critically ill and/or injured animals in special care units.


Understanding the behaviors of animals can be quite complex. If an animal is behaving in an unacceptable manner, it can put its owner or handler (or even itself) in danger.

Knowing how animal behavior is affected by social, genetic, or environmental factors can help with understanding the relationship between these animals and humans or other animals. Individuals interested in the practice of animal behavior can work in various establishments or as consultants in their own practice.

Credentials vary according to the type of work one chooses to do. A veterinarian can become board certified in animal behavior by the American Veterinary Medical Association while veterinary technicians can specialize in animal behavior, and animal trainers can obtain different levels of certification from various certifying bodies.


The work of a veterinary cardiologist involves the diagnosis and treatment of heart and large blood vessel disease. In addition, veterinary cardiologists also can work with diseases of the lungs and chest. Veterinary cardiologists have extensive training beyond veterinary school which includes extensive training in diagnostic imaging techniques and inverventional and medical treatments for heart and vascular diseases.

Clinical Pathology

Veterinarians who work as clinical pathologists perform laboratory work related to the diagnosis of diseases and the control of therapy of living animals.


Veterinarians who practice dentristry are focused on the prevention and remedy of dental problems in animals of all sizes and types. Like dentists for humans, animal dentists diagnose and treat oral infections and disease. They perform surgical extractions, reconstructive surgery, repair fractures, and provide treatments for other types of oral trauma as warranted.


Veterinary dermatologists have expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant disorders of the skin, mouth, hair and nails. They have extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious and non-infectious skin diseases, allergic disorders, systemic diseases, parasitic skin diseases, autoimmune diseases, various types of skin cancer, and tumors and cysts of the skin.


In the field of veterinary genetics, professionals study the genetic background of factors that increase or decrease an animal's health (i.e.: resistance to infection, genetic disorders, etc.). They use modeling techniques to study possible future scenarios and gain insight into the influence of selection on physical processes that occur in the animals across generations. Often, veterinary geneticists work with people in adjacent fields such as molecular genetics, immunology, and epidemiology.


Veterinarians who specialize in nutrition have the responsibility of maintaining optimum animal health through adequate nutrition. They deal with nutrition in relation to infection, injury, disease, and aging. They also ensure proper nutrition for breeding animals. Their work can be done in animal practices, hospitals, or in companies that produce feed items for animals of all types.


Veterinary oncologists work to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer in animals. Their job often requires that they team up with internists, pathologists, pharmacologists, radiologists, surgeons, and general practitioners to ensure proper treatments for their animal patients who have cancer.


While many eye problems found in animals are managed by general veterinarians, some situations call for the care of an eye expert - or ophthalmologist. A veterinary opthalmologist typically treats problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases, severe injuries, and cancer of the eye.


Veterinarians who specialize in pathology or pathobiology study the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development and consequences.


Veterinary pharmacologists work with other veterinarians to ensure the proper selection of drug therapies and dosages for various illnesses. They also can be found working in the pharmaceutical industry developing new therapies and analyzing proper dosages prior to a drug's market introduction.

Related Articles