Many veterinarians work in clinical practice, treating traditional and exotic pets (including birds, small mammals, reptiles, and fish). Others focus on the production medicine or the protection of our nation’s food supply from farm to fork.
Animal care specialists observe their animals daily and are trained to recognize subtle changes in physiology or behavior, regardless of species. They report any abnormalities to the program’s attending veterinarian.
Veterinary Services and laboratory services encompass all aspects of clinical pathology, microbiology, hematology, bacteriology, endocrinology, immunohistochemistry, parasitology, molecular diagnostics and genetic testing. The veterinary care program should be designed to meet the needs of the species and use of animals housed at the institution and provide access to medical and animal health records (Field et al 2007; Suckow and Doerning, 2007).
A mechanism should exist for communicating any concerns about animal well-being, behavior or welfare to the responsible veterinarian in an efficient manner. It is the responsibility of all personnel involved in the animal care and use program to report such concerns. Ideally, this should include an objective assessment by the veterinarian or his/her designee to ensure that animals most in need receive immediate attention. This may involve an isolation program, vaccination or euthanasia.
Veterinary surgeons are trained to manage a variety of surgical issues and injuries in animals. They are often referred to by primary care veterinarians or emergency room doctors to perform advanced procedures that require specialized skill and expertise not available at the local veterinary practice.
Surgical procedures can be classified as major or minor, and in the laboratory setting can be further subdivided into survival and nonsurvival surgery. Survival surgery penetrates and exposes a body cavity, produces substantial impairment of physical or physiologic functions (such as an abdominal incision during an ovariohysterectomy or spay), involves extensive tissue dissection and/or transection, or uses multiple instruments to access an area of the body.
Animals maintained for biomedical research should be subjected to surgery with techniques and facilities consistent with those used in clinical veterinary practice and in commercial agricultural settings, and under the direction of a veterinarian who is an active participant in presurgical planning. Observation and intervention during recovery from anesthesia, monitoring of basic biologic functions and behavior, and assessment of pain and other physiologic responses are important aspects of postsurgical protocols.
When your pet is sick or injured after hours, you may be faced with a difficult decision. General veterinary practices don’t usually offer late hours, so you might be unsure where to turn for emergency care.
Emergency veterinarians are trained to treat life-threatening injuries and illnesses. They often work in tandem with specialists, referring patients to them when they require specialized equipment or expertise.
Laboratory services, such as bloodwork and X-rays, are important tools that help emergency vets diagnose and treat pets. X-rays can be used to see bone fractures, internal organ abnormalities and foreign objects in the body.
A veterinary diagnostic lab is an essential part of any hospital, providing timely and accurate results. Antech Diagnostics and Sound, part of Mars Veterinary Health, drive advancements in animal health with innovative diagnostic and imaging solutions including same day/next day reference laboratory services and the world’s leading cloud-PACS. They also provide double-boarded veterinary pathologists with support from a global network of experts for best-in-class diagnosis services.
Veterinarians in clinical practice and governmental agencies need management skills to run their businesses, as well as manage employees. Many of these veterinarians are also trained in veterinary hospital management, which requires extensive knowledge of the business aspects of animal care.
In addition to managing hospital staff, a veterinary manager is responsible for facility maintenance and record keeping, developing departmental strategies and coordinating finances and budgets. A hospital manager needs a strong business background, computer skills and an ability to work with people.
Veterinary managers have a difficult job balancing the demands of employed veterinarians with those of clients and the financial health of the clinic. For example, an employed doctor may object to a manager’s decision to change the length of office call appointments from 15 to 10 minutes. Yet this is one area in which a veterinary manager can make significant changes that can affect a physician’s livelihood. Veterinary hospitals must also comply with federal regulations regarding animal welfare and drug use.