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Animal Healthcare

Position Overview

There are many different positions you can have when it comes to a career in animal healthcare. To work in this field, you should have a genuine care for animals and their wellbeing. Some careers under animal healthcare are veterinarians, animal nurses, pet health technicians, animal care technicians, veterinarian assistants, crew farm labour, barn attendant, animal nutritionists. These animal health care professionals provide support to animals by administering medication, determining health problems, develop nutritional meal plans, feeding, performing surgery, grooming, and more. Working in the animal healthcare field can mean that you must work throughout the year, including holidays such as Christmas and New Year's.

Animal Healthcare Professional Duties

  • Develop and schedule meal plans for animals
  • Determine cause of illnesses and provide medication to animals
  • Administer vaccinations
  • Exercising, feeding and grooming animals
  • Performing animal surgeries
  • Preparing animals for surgery
  • Research and developing new animal food
  • Taking animal x-rays
  • Aid in lab testing
  • Caretaking for hospitalised animals
  • Perform medical examinations on animals
  • Keep animal health records
  • Research and develop new medication for animal illnesses/diseases

Typical Employers

  • Livestock farms
  • Veterinarian clinics
  • Animal hospitals
  • Research labs
  • Universities
  • Feed production facilities
  • Zoos

Required Education and Training

There are a variety of positions within animal healthcare. Depending on the position you are looking for, the education requirements vary. Below are the education requirements for a few positions in animal healthcare.

Veterinarian

Vets are required to be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), while also to obtain a degree in veterinary science / medicine. Some universities which provide these programs in the United Kingdom include, University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, University of Glasgow, University of Bristol. To get into one of these universities, there is a minimum grade level required for biology, chemistry, physics / maths of two A's and one B, while other universities expect three A's. Some universities require applicants to take the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) prior to acceptance.

Animal Technician

A degree is not required to become an animal technician, however a degree in biology, toxicology, animal behaviour or management can prove to be useful. Employers are more interested in candidates who have a sincere interest for animals. However, receiving a degree while proving your interest in animal wellbeing can increase your chances compared to other candidates.

Animal Nutritionist

To become an animal nutritionist, you need a degree related to a field of science. Some relevant degrees are biochemistry, biosciences, health sciences, agriculture, food and sports science, etc. It may be required to do some postgraduate specialisation or get a PhD depending on the position.

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Be gentle and approachable when dealing with animals
  • Know how to calm animals
  • Ability to be calm and in control while administrating medication and vaccinations
  • Dedication to animal welfare
  • Organisational skills
  • Communication skills to speak to pet / livestock owners, specifically in emotional situations
  • Research and analysis skills

Average Salary

Veterinarian

  • An entry level veterinarian can earn roughly £31,150
  • Vets with some experience and training can earn £41,148 at small animal practices, while earning £44,142 at large animal practices
  • Veterinarians with 20 or more years of experience can make around £69,021

Animal Technician

  • Technicians in training can earn a salary between £12,000 - £15,000
  • Animal technicians that are fully trained can receive a salary ranging from £15,000 - £20,000
  • Senior level technicians can earn from £20,000 - £28,000

Animal Nutritionist

  • Entry level animal nutritionists can earn between £18,000 - £22,000
  • Salaries for animal nutritionists with their PhD can range from £23,000 - £32,000
  • Experienced animal nutritionists can earn from £35,000 - £50,000