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Veterinary Careers

Equine Veterinarian (Vet)

An equine vet specialises in the wellbeing and care of horses. Depending on the type of practice they work form, they may also treat and work with other animals, which they will have trained to do during their degree. Although demanding, this is an extremely rewarding career.

Responsibilities include:
• Diagnostics and treatment
• Emergency and out-of-hours visits
• Performing operations
• Inspections and vettings.

Necessary qualifications/experience

To pursue a career as an equine vet, you'll need to complete a general veterinary degree (BVetMed degree) at an approved Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) university. Depending on the university, this is a five or six-year course. You may then specialise in equine medicine once qualified. 

A-levels, SCE Highers or equivalent in both chemistry and biology with maths as a possible third subject are required to apply for this degree; you'll also benefit from appropriate work experience in a veterinary practice. 'A' grades are expected. Contact the university you are interested in for specific entry information.

Personal specification

To become an equine vet, you'll to be able to demonstrate determination and drive with a strong emphasis on hands-on work experience with animals. Anyone thinking of a career in the veterinary industry should also have a deep passion for the love and care of animals; liking them is not enough. The ability to demonstrate emotional strength is also very important when faced with some very tough decisions. You must have excellent communication skills, and be able to think and make decisions quickly and calmly in the face of an emergency. 

Equine Veterinary Nurse

Veterinary nurses work alongside veterinary surgeons to provide a high standard of care for sick animals. They're involved in a wide range of care and treatment and usually work in a vet practice or hospital.They're also involved in educating owners about horse health.

Responsibilities include:
• Care of sick animals
• Emergency and out of hours work
• Assisting with surgery
• Carrying out diagnostic tests
• Medical treatment
• Aftercare and rehabilitation.

Necessary qualifications/experience

There are two pathways available to become a veterinary nurse; a vocational qualification or a higher education qualification. You must complete one of these pathways and be a general veterinary nurse before being able to specialise in equine nursing.

Vocational Pathway
This is perfect if you want hands-on experience and training n the job. The Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is a vocational qualification designed to prepare veterinary nurses for professional registration on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Register of Veterinary Nurses. It's available on either a full-time basis or apprenticeship-style alongside a job in a vet practice.

Higher Education Pathway
A degree course will take a little longer than a vocational qualification and is more academic, but you'll be required to undertake work experience. A degree in veterinary nursing can lead to additional career opportunities, such as research, the pharmaceutical industry and teaching, in addition to work in clinical veterinary practice.
A number of institutions offer full-time integrated higher education courses leading to a Foundation or Honours Degree in veterinary nursing. The RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Nursing is also awarded to all graduates of courses approved by the RCVS.

To specialise in equine nursing, BHS Stage 3 Horse Knowledge and Care will be extremely advantageous for your application.

Personal specification

You must dedicated to the health and welfare of animals and be highly committed – weekend and out-of-hours work is often required. You must have excellent communication skills and the ability to follow orders and work independently.

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