Home Articles Veterinary medicine Articles 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,
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
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 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.