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Pet care

education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 16:38 IST

The lowdown
A veterinarian – or vet – is a physician/surgeon for animals. Most vets look after dogs or other domesticated animals, while some treat wild animals like the big cats and other animals in a zoo/reserved forest area. When treating a pet, experience and love for animals works far better than hi-tech machinery and medical tests. A vet first checks with the owner about the pet’s temperament and then proceeds to touch it. Even then, an aggressive animal may have to be muzzled and leashed before treatment. In a zoo or a large dairy, big animals are driven into a small enclosure which enables the vet to inspect them closely and not get injured by them in the process. The dairy industry or government health care centres require veterinarians to take care of their livestock

9am: Open clinic
9.30am: Examine pets, prepare progress reports, conduct check-ups and prescribe medicines
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Read medical journals, if time permits
4pm: Resume clinic work. If an animal is critically ill or needs monitoring, it is referred to the emergency clinic
7pm: Wind up

The payoff
In the private sector, starting salaries are around R20,000-R25,000 a month, which goes up with experience, designation and performance. After about 10 years in the profession, you can earn R1 lakh a month. In private practice, your income depends entirely on your clientele

* You have to love animals. It is only this that can make the animal feel comfortable. Patience is another quality that will help.
* Be ready to work in rural settings, too. This could be necessary if you want to do research or work in a government set-up
* Sharp observation skills are a must as your patients will not be able to communicate their problems to you. problems
* Convincing people to get their animals treated is also an art. Some might not even want to part with money for treatment

Getting there
You will have to finish BVSc & AH (bachelor of veterinary science and animal husbandry), a five-year programme, from a university recognised by the Veterinary Council of India. For specialisation, go for MVSc in one of these areas — medicine, surgery, biochemistry, genetics and breeding, poultry science, biotechnology, pharmacology, physiology, immunology, etc. After MVSc, you can work in research or academics at centres of repute such as the Indian Veterinary Research Institute or a state university

Institutes and URLs
* Bombay Veterinary Science College
* College of Veterinary Sciences, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar
* Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur
* College of Veterinary and Animal Science, Udgir, Maharashtra
* Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Science University, Ludhiana

For more details, visit

Pros and cons
* You have many avenues before you, besides private practice — government job, sales, NGO or research
* The money is reasonably good from the start
* You become a qualified doctor but may not get as much as recognition as a doctor who treats human beings
* A lot of the job options are in rural areas
* People might not want to spend too much money on pet care and neglected pets can break your heart

Sensitivity and patience are must-haves while treating animals. From private practice, government hospital job to research work, options are aplenty
RT Sharma, president, Pet Animal Welfare Society, New Delhi