What roles do veterinarians play in society and what are their duties on the job?

Veterinarians are at the forefront of protecting the public’s health and welfare as they play a major role in the health of our society by caring for animals. They also use their expertise and education to protect and improve human health. It’s likely that you are most familiar with veterinarians who care for our companion animals, but there are many other opportunities for veterinarians. Veterinarians also help keep the nation’s food supply safe, work to control the spread of diseases, and conduct research that aid both animals and humans.  There is a growing need for vets with postgraduate education in particular specialties, such as molecular biology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, immunology, diagnostic pathology or environmental medicine. The veterinary profession is becoming more involved in aquaculture, comparative medical research, food production and international disease control. 

Veterinarians who work directly with animals use a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and x-ray and ultrasound machines. They provide treatment for animals that is similar to the services a physician provides to treat humans. Veterinarian duties include:  

-Examine animals to diagnose their health problems  
-Treat and dress wounds  Perform surgery on animals  
-Test for and vaccinate against diseases  
-Operate medical equipment, such as x-ray machines  
-Advise animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments  
-Prescribe medication  
-Euthanize animals  

Adapted from https://hpa.princeton.edu/sites/hpa/files/veterinarymedicine-2018.pdf, https://hpa.princeton.edu/explore-careers/veterinary-medicine