In honor of World Veterinary Day, I thought it might be fun to evaluate the impressive and mighty DVM.
A veterinarian is a:
- Pharmacist (four-year degree): Every veterinarian prescribes, constitutes, and even sometimes compounds a multitude of drugs each day for multiple species. Drugs range from antibiotics (which have their own set of rules and regulations in the food animal side of medicine), topicals, ICU concoctions, and chemotherapeutic agents.
- Family Practitioner (four-year degree, plus residency): Even this is a loose term. The average general practitioner will perform soft tissue surgery in the form of spay, have a pediatric appointment, a geriatric/hospice appointment, an internal medicine work-up, and everything in between. Often all before lunch!
- Optometrist (four-year degree): Horses, cows, llamas, dogs, and cats are each graced with their own set of eye pathology. Veterinarians treat them all.
- Infectious Disease Expert (three-year internal medicine residency, two-year infectious disease residency): Not only advocating for their four-legged friends, many diseases animals are exposed to can be transmitted to your family members. Luckily, your veterinarian is well-versed in how to avoid these.
- Surgeon (five-year residency): A general practitioner performs abdominal surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, endoscopy, and minimally-invasive procedures. This is so cool! If trained on the human side, this would be approximately 500 years of residencies.
- Nutritionist (four-year degree): Our treated species don’t all have the same digestive anatomy and physiology, so thankfully your veterinarian is well-versed in them all.
- Physical Therapist (three-year doctorate degree): Horses, dogs, and cats are recent benefits of the somewhat new and rapidly-advancing world of sports medicine. From post-operative protocol to weight loss management and preventing pain from age, PT is another hate adorned by the DVM.
- Dentist (four-year doctorate degree): Again, different species, different teeth. And, animals are not regular brushers compared to human patients, making for some very satisfying cleanings.
And this is just the beginning of the list! Veterinarians are incredible problem solvers, often having to think on their feet to meet the needs of patients, small and large. I know I will continue to be amazed and inspired by the remarkable individuals of this profession. Perhaps a more appropriate suffix is Dr. Whomever DVM, MD, OD, PharmD, DDS, D-PT…
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