Question & Answers: Veterinary Careers
I am interested in being a vet. Can you please help me out to find the best vet colleges in India? Do guide me regarding the further specialization courses also.
NB: Request to keep my name withheld.
When someone mentions vet, the first image that springs to mind is that of a doctor for your pet. While this may be true, studying to become a vet involves learning the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of various types of diseases in birds and animals, and can also include scientific breeding and handling of livestock.
If you wish to pursue the course in India, you will typically do a Bachelors in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (BVSc and AH) course which is for 5 years, including a 6-12 month internship. The eligibility requirements are completion of 12th grade with Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The Veterinary Council of India conducts an All India Common Entrance examination called All India Pre-Veterinary Test (AIPVT) as a part of the admissions process to this course.
Most graduates also go on to do a Masters program (MVSc), a 2-year course that allows them to specialize in a wide spectrum of subjects. For admissions, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) conducts an All India Entrance Examination.
Currently, there are about 45 veterinary colleges in India. When choosing a college, ensure that the college is recognized by the Veterinary Council of India. Some of the options you can pursue are IVRI, Bombay Veterinary College and CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar. Also, the Maharastra Animal and Fishery Sciences University (MAFSU) offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate courses in this field. You might also want to consider Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, the first veterinary college in the country to be affiliated to a university and the fourth such institution to be established in India.
Apart from the academic requirements and love for animals, you will need to possess good communication skills, able to work with others (as you may have to work in a team), effectively manage time and stress, and of course, empathy for animals. Do remember that working with large animals requires physical stamina and good reflexes.
The job outlook is improving as pet owning households are on the rise and there is also a growing awareness of pet care facilities available, increasing the demand for small animal practice veterinarians. Also, with over 500 million herds, India currently has the largest livestock population in the world and therefore, a greater demand for livestock care and management is expected in the coming years.
Veterinarians can work in a variety of settings including veterinary hospitals, animal welfare societies, research companies, academic institutions, wildlife sanctuaries, dairy farms, race clubs, aviaries etc. A PhD is usually preferred for a career in research and teaching. In the West, a veterinary degree also provides a good background for those who wish to pursue a career in biomedical research, including both veterinary and human medicine.
Specializations in Veterinary Medicine can loosely be classified as species-specific or area-specific. Species specific specializations include Equine studies, avian practice, Canine/Feline practice, Dairy practice etc. Area specializations include nutrition, surgery, dentistry, pharmacology etc. You will have to choose a subject depending on the field that best matches your interest and career goals. It may be good idea to start volunteering at hospitals and animal care facilities. This will help you understand the profession and appreciate what are the challenges. It is also very important to diversify this experience in terms of species you work with and the nature of activities so that it broadens your knowledge of the profession, enabling you to choose what interests you the most.
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