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Veterinary medicine

Veterinary medicine is the application of medical, diagnostic, and therapeutic principles to companion, domestic, exotic, wildlife, and production animals.

Veterinary medicine is informally as old as the human/animal bond but in recent years has expanded exponentially because of the availability of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for most species. Animals nowadays often receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care including insulin injections, root canals, hip replacements, cataract extractions, and pacemakers.

Veterinarians assist in ensuring the quality, quantity, and security of food supplies by working to maintain the health of livestock and inspecting the meat itself. Veterinary scientists are very important in chemical, biological, and pharmacological research.

In many countries, equine veterinary medicine is also a specialized field. Clinical work with horses involves mainly locomotor and orthopaedic problems, digestive tract conditions (including equine colic, which is a major cause of death among domesticated horses), and respiratory tract infections and disorders.

Education in veterinary medicine

Many universities worldwide confer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in veterinary medicine. In most countries, veterinary practitioners are regulated and registered on a national or state level. While the duration and exact content of undergraduate degrees in veterinary medicine varies, they are typically from 4 to 7 years in duration. They consist of several introductory years which may include some "pre-vet" or general scientific training. These pre-clinical years provide a basis in veterinary anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, parasitology, animal breeding, botany, animal feeding and nutrition, radiology, virology, microbiology, zoology, animal physiology, physics, chemistry and other important subject areas. The final years of most veterinary medicine degrees consist of a greater proportion of practical clinical work (e.g. internal medicine, dentistry, surgery, obstetrics), in which students are guided to apply the theory they have learned in a supervised environment. When students complete their education, they are normally granted a diploma as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

While veterinary medicine is conventionally practiced distinctly from human medicine, the emerging interdisciplinary field of conservation medicine involves both, employing multidisciplinary teams that include medical doctors, veterinarians, environmental scientists, and other researchers and clinicians. In 2004, Australia's Murdoch University School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences started courses for a Master degree as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Conservation Medicine.

Veterinary informatics

Veterinary informatics is the application of information technology to healthcare.

Most vet clinics now utilize software for practice management systems to control scheduling and billing of clients, tracking of inventory and automation of lab results.

Additionally, many clinics are working towards becoming computerized for electronic patient records.