Equine Veterinarians provide health care to horses, ranging from small ponies to large workhorses. They diagnose, treat, and research on diseases and other medical conditions of all types of horses including racehorses. Their key responsibilities includes performing basic exams, administering routine vaccinations, drawing blood, dressing wounds, setting fractures, prescribing medications, performing surgeries, and providing post-surgical exams. Their other duties may include performing pre-purchase exams, monitoring the reproductive health of breeding stallions and broodmares, assisting with foaling, and taking x-rays or ultrasounds. They also advise horse- owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments.
Equine Veterinarians usually own their own private practices or work in group practices. These professional can work at government hospitals, clinics, laboratories, ranches, racetracks, farms etc. They work with horse breeders, ranchers, competitive horse owners and others to treat and protect the welfare of horses. They need to travel to farms to see horse patients. Their work may occur outdoors in varying temperatures and weather conditions. They may need to be available in nights, weekends and on-call for emergencies.
To become an Equine Veterinarian, the aspiring candidates have to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M) degree, which generally takes 4 years to complete. The coursework includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components in various topics such as pharmacology, anesthesiology, infectious diseases, parasitology, neurobiology, imaging etc.
Since the Equine Veterinarians must be licensed in the U.S., the prospective candidates must have to pass the standardized North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) organizes a major convention each year with over 100 hours of lectures and demonstrations for the Equine Veterinarians.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for the Equine Veterinarian may rise 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of an Equine Veterinarian was $88,490 in May 2015.