Becoming a veterinarian is not easy. Read on to learn a few things you probably never knew about your local veterinarian. 


The competition to get into veterinarian school is fierce because there are very few available spots to fill each year. Not only do applicants need a high grade point average, but they also need multiple letters of recommendation, experience working with animals, and high scores on entrance exams, like the GRE (graduate record examination). Some applicants even take the MCAT, which is the entrance exam for medical school. 

After all the hard work as an undergrad, most applicants are disappointed. In fact, only about 11.7 percent of applicants are accepted to veterinary school. Some schools are more lenient in their admissions process for students who want to study food animals, however, as there is a growing need for vet services in that field. 

Animal Focus

Once in veterinary school, students can choose to focus on one animal group, including:

  • Companion animals. This is the veterinarian that most people picture when you mention vet services. The vet that takes care of your pets, from cats and dogs to rabbits and ferrets, sometimes called small animal care. Over 75 percent of veterinarians work with companion animals.  
  • Food animals. Veterinarians are in high demand to care for animals that are used as food. This includes both dairy and beef cows, pigs, and chickens. Keeping the animals healthy ensures a high quality of life for the animal and ensures that humans consume milk or meat that is safe.
  • Equine practice. Horses require their own sub-category of veterinary science. Whether they are used as a workhorse or a racehorse, their skeletal and muscle structure requires expert care.

Some schools also offer opportunities to study for work in zoology, amphibian practice, and exotics.  


Like medical doctors, veterinarians often choose a specialty during their last years of school. They can perform in-depth research on a variety of subjects, including:

  • Dentistry. Animals can't brush and floss every day like humans. While there may be some over-the-counter chewies that try to help remove tartar, eventually animals need to head to the dentist. Veterinary dentists can clean teeth, repair broken teeth, and even perform root canals. 
  • Sports medicine. Like humans, animals get injured and need physical therapy to recover fully. The field of veterinary sports medicine focuses on helping your animal heal after an illness, surgery, or injury through physical therapy, aqua therapy, and other methods. 
  • Veterinary oncology. Cancer affects everyone, even our pets. When you are willing to fight it with your pet, there are vets trained to help.   

The above is just a sampling of the specialties that veterinary students can focus on. From aviary behavior to x-rays, the choices are almost limitless. 

Valley Fever

If you have lived in the Valley for any length of time, you know that Valley Fever is an illness that can affect many people, often with disastrous consequences. Valley Fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is a fungal infection in the lungs caused by spores that live in the soil. People in some areas can unknowingly breathe the spores that cause this difficult disease. While most are not affected at all, some get very sick, including pets.

Veterinarians do not know why some pets are affected by Valley Fever and others are not, but they do have the tools to fight it. From drugs to topical treatments, your pet does not need to suffer from Valley Fever needlessly. 

Your veterinarian worked hard to get where they are. With proper communication, you can work together to help the animal that you both care about. To learn more, contact local vet services.