Today's veterinarians are in the unique position of being the only doctors educated to protect the health of both animals and people. They are not only educated to meet the health needs of every species of animal but they play an important role in environmental protection, food safety, and public health.
In taking The Veterinarian's Oath, a doctor solemnly swears to use his or her scientific knowledge and skills "for the benefit of society, through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, and the advancement of medical knowledge."
Today nearly 70,000 veterinarians are professionally active in the United States. They provide a wide variety of services in private clinical practice, teaching, research, government service, public health, military service, private industry, and other areas.
The Veterinarian's Oath (Adopted by the AVMA):
Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.
I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.
What We Do
Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Surgeons are medical professionals whose primary responsibility is protecting the health and welfare of animals and people. The term "Veterinarian" comes from veterinae, which means "working animals." Every veterinarian has gone through extensive medical training for animals and has received a license to practice veterinary medicine.
Veterinarians diagnose and control animal diseases, treat sick and injured animals, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to people, and advise owners on proper care of pets and livestock. They ensure a safe food supply by maintaining the health of food animals. Veterinarians are also involved in wildlife preservation and conservation and public health of the human population.
You are probably most familiar with veterinarians who specialize in pet medicine in a clinical setting such as an animal hospital or veterinary clinic. During each visit, this type of veterinarian will be able to guide you in all aspects of pet maintenance, including food requirements, daily care, and any special needs. They will also be able to provide vaccinations, complete surgery, and even prescribe medicines as needed.