A veterinarian is defined as someone qualified and authorized to practice veterinary medicine. They are medical doctors for animals, and have been trained to diagnose and treat disease and injuries in animals. Veterinarians care for companion animals (dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc.), horses, production animals (pigs, cattle, sheep, etc.), aquatic animals, and even zoo animals.
Veterinarians must hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, or DVM, to practice as a veterinarian. This is equivalent to a PhD or MD degree, and requires at least four years of graduate school after four initial years of undergraduate coursework. After completing their schooling, veterinarians must obtain a license to practice, which requires passing of certain tests and certifications. Different veterinarians may specialize in one area or another. For instance, one veterinarian may be an expert on bird health, while another may specialize in canines. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian if they have a specific expertise. Feel free to ask your veterinarian about his or her education … they’ll be happy to tell you all about it!