Are you a compassionate person who loves farm animals?

Do you enjoy living and/or working on a farm?

A woman petting a cow and kissing its face.

If so, you might be an aspiring livestock veterinarian!

What does a livestock veterinarian do?

A livestock veterinarian specializes in treating animals typically found on farms and ranches, such as horses, cows, sheep, goats, and pigs.

a pink baby pig next to its mother Photo by Stefanie Poepken on Unsplash

What does a typical day look like for a livestock veterinarian?

On any given day, a livestock veterinarian might:

  • diagnose and treat the illnesses of animals and care for their wounds

  • prescribe medications, perform surgeries, and attend to births

  • perform health and wellness exams

  • provide information and advice to animal owners

a man wearing a black shirt and blue pants, petting a black cow

How do I become a livestock veterinarian?

graduation cap with a diploma

  1. Earn a Bachelor's degree in a related field such as animal science, biology, or pre-veterinary medicine.

  2. Attend veterinary school to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DMV) degree. This is typically a four-year program that includes hands-on experience through internships and residency.

Where might I work as a livestock veterinarian?

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Private or Group Practice

Travel to farms and ranches to treat large animals.

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Work in veterinary pharmaceutical research to develop, test, and supervise drug production.

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Work as a researcher for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or related agencies.

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Become a researcher and professor at a university's school of veterinary medicine. Serve in classrooms, clinics, and laboratories.

What is the salary of a livestock veterinarian?

Flaticon Icon The average annual salary in the U.S. is $114,099 (USD).

Flaticon Icon The average annual salary in Canada is $103,687 (CAD).

Is a career as a livestock veterinarian for me?

Flaticon Icon You'll love it if you...

  • have a passion for working with and improving the lives of animals

  • are a compassionate effective listener and communicator

  • are willing to travel to farms and work in various weather conditions

Flaticon Icon You might not if you...

  • are afraid of working with large and sick animals

  • don't want to go through at least 4 years of vet school after undergraduate studies

  • don't like working long hours on nights and weekends

Pick the future livestock veterinarian

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  • enjoys animals of all sizes

  • volunteers at animal shelters and farms

  • likes traveling and being "on the go"

  • willing to be "on call" and treat animals during emergencies

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  • enjoys small animals, afraid of big ones

  • no volunteer experience

  • prefers to work remotely

  • plans to work a set schedule: Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm


Who would be the best fit for this career?

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A livestock veterinarian holding a baby goat in a barn.

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