Veterinary Science

Updated On:30 Aug 2013 11:17 AM IST   By: Bharti M Borah

Fast Facts
Best Schools: Madras Veterinary College, Chennai; Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Hisar (Formerly College of Veterinary Sciences, CCS Haryana Agricultural University)
Qualification: 10+2 in Science with Physics, Chemistry and Biology for Bachelor’s degree
Our advice: Love of animals is a given, preference for a certain breed is another given Main
Employer: Government, private, non-governmental organisations, Banks and Insurance

DID you know Veterinary Science was well developed in India as early as the Vedic period? Did you know the world’s first veterinary hospital on record existed in Ashoka’s regime?

During the period of Ashoka, human and animal hospitals existed side by side. Hospitals had well-defined wards, where patients were housed and treated indoors. There was treatment for all sorts of animals. Treatment of elephants was called ‘Palkapya samhita’ and horses ‘Shalihotra samita.’ Even with such early roots in the field, the first veterinary training school came into existence only in 1862 in Pune. The first veterinary college was established in 1882 at Lahore. Others were established in Bombay (1884), in Bengal (1993), in Madras (1902) and in Bihar (1930). At the time of independence, there were nine veterinary colleges in India. Today, the number is much more.

The numbers game
With over 500 million herds, India has the largest livestock population in the world , contributing to 15 percent of the world population. Livestock industry of India contributes to 8 percent of the GDP, where as 32 percent of GDP contribution from the agricultural industry comes from livestock itself. Great growth can be expected in the field based on these numbers. Veterinary Science, the science and art of diagnosing, treating, and caring of sick animals, encompasses all types of diseases and treatments of small animals, birds, and big mammals. “Previously, there was no consciousness about animals. Today, people are more aware about the field of Veterinary Science. Farmers know about the importance of animal management at farms,” shared Dr. Girin Saikia, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, State Veterinary Dispensary, Dhemaji, Assam.  
 


Veterinary Science made simple
Practitioners are commonly called veterinary doctors or Vets. They perform surgery as well as all types of treatment. Breeding, genetic engineering as well as caring for livestock or mass produced animals for human consumption is part of the job. Commonly, Vets are thought of as doctors who treat and care for all types of pet animals with a few strays thrown in for good measure. They prescribe medicine and inform pet owners to properly care and handle their pets. Requirements to enter this field vary from country to country. Generally, all require a background in science subjects like Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

Top veterinary science schools in the United States are Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In Asia, among the top veterinary schools is Punjab Agricultural University, College of Veterinary Science in India and University of the Philippines, Los Baños, College of Veterinary Medicine. See listing of Veterinary schools in India. Several institutions and universities offer courses in Veterinary Sciences. Some of the famous ones include Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar; Bombay Veterinary Science College, Mumbai; and College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry (Anand Agricultural University), Anand.

Getting into Vet school
To practice as a veterinarian it is essential to have a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science. To be eligible for B. V. Sc & Animal Husbandry course, you should be 10+2 with science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  “It’s an allied medical science. Second best to medicine is Veterinary Science and Dentistry followed by Pharmacy and Biotechnology. Profession is growing, lots of opportunities and it’s a nice respectable profession,” shared Dr. Anil Kumar Pruthi, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences, Lala Lajpat Rai University, Hisar.

Duration of the BVSc & AH course varies from four-and-a-half-years to five years. First four years of study are devoted to theoretical and practical training. Various disciplines like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, livestock management and production, production technology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, genetics and breeding, gynaecology, surgery, medicine and animal husbandry extension are covered. It’s like going to a medical school for animals. The fifth year is devoted to hands-on training. Six months is through internship.

Most veterinary colleges give admission based on performance in the entrance examination held at state, all India and institute levels (See list of entrances in India in Box 1.) Veterinary Council of India conducts an ‘All India Common Entrance examination’ (AICEE) for admission to first year BVSc & AH degree course held in May each year. For admission to Master’s programmes, an All India Entrance Examination is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).

“Attendance is most compulsory. You study theory and gain practical learning. The field entails study of Veterinary Science and management, which is the Animal Husbandry component. Job creation depends on candidates. Government provides subsidised rates to Vets for setting up dairy farms etc. Just create your own avenues and don’t give up! Private companies and farms are always there,” shared Dr. Shinde, PhD student at RAJUVAS, Bikaner. Cost for the programme varies. Since most schoosl are in the public sector it could set you back  by about 2 lakh for the entire course. While as internationally  average tuition fee annually would be about US$15,500.

 
Dr. Justine Walker, GP, Assistant Veterinarian, Los Angeles, California

 EXPERT SPEAK: "Animals don’t talk. You have to be able to pick up the cues and signs"

Q. What made you choose veterinary field?
A.
I was bored with what I was doing.  I felt that a higher being was telling me that I need to make a move. I was thinking of becoming a veterinary technician (similar to nurse in the human world) at first. Friends encouraged me to see if I can get into a vet school. 

Q. How did it feel going back to school?
A.
My first and toughest issue was money. It is difficult to get loans when you go to community college. Decision to quit work and do this was such a big life changing decision. It was a gamble – had no idea I’ll get in. 

Q.  Focus on a specific school?
A.
I applied to 10 and got into 7. If I got into only one, I would’ve gone. It’s not where you get your degree. It’s really about what you do with it and how you apply it to your work and experiences. 

Q. What is the process to apply?
A.
Applications are mainly done online. There’s one main website for most schools, click on schools to apply. Prerequisites differ by schools. All require basic sciences (biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry), some maths, physics, and general education classes.

Q.What are the traits required to make it as a Vet?
A.
Mmmm – love animals? No seriously, you have to be good with people. It is customer service, educator, doctor all in one. You have to make the client understand, satisfy them and help the animal. Animals don’t talk, so you have to be able to pick up cues and signs that they show us. 

Q. What was the most difficult challenge you faced in the Vet school?
A.
Sheer amount of material to be learned was quite a challenge. It is definitely not for the ill prepared, not something you can get through on a whim. It really helped that I was older and more focused than I was at 22.

Q. And, in the profession?
A.
‘Please doc, help me, don’t you love animals?’ It’s amazing what people demand or expect from a Vet. Medicine always throws anomalies at you.  Experience really takes you a long way.  Euthanasias are always difficult. I take it very seriously and with great care.  MDs cannot let people go even when nothing can be done. I can as a veterinarian. It still doesn’t make it easy and I often ask myself, “Who am I to be the one to take a life?” I have told myself that when it stops being difficult, I quit being a vet.

Q. Do you have any advice to students who really want to enter this profession?
A.
I find it a very stressful job being faced with life and death situations, making key decisions in an animal’s health sometimes with limited knowledge of what’s actually going on, many times with limited resources. It’s highly stressful and there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with this job but very satisfying too. You’ve got to be ready for it though. It’s really not for everybody and not for someone who’s going in because “they love animals.”  

 

Higher studies is ‘in’
“Trend now is to pursue Master’s and PhD. Private poultry, research, teaching, you name it. Graduates of Meat technology can expect Rs. 40-45000.  ICAR scientist starts with Rs. 50,000. Academic and research can get Rs. 50,000 with good promotion prospects. In a Vet college, apart from salary you get a non-practising allowance and other benefits,” shared Dr. Nitin Patil, Director, National Research Centre in Camel (NRCC), Bikaner about the field.

PG course in Veterinary Science (M.V.Sc) is for two years. Students can specialise in areas like medicine, surgery, anatomy, bacteriology, biochemistry, cardiology, dermatology, microbiology, molecular biology, anaesthesia, gynaecology, pathology, toxicology and virology pharmacology. “Students in India, compared to other developed countries, get exposure to all kinds of knowledge. In Denmark, focus is on production. In Canada, it is Clinical. In India, you get a complete picture of  every aspect of the field,” added Dr. Patil of NRCC.

Opportunities for Vets
“The field is diversifying and growing, especially livestock and poultry. Banks and insurance require vets for passing of loans for livestock. Entrepreneurs in poultry are growing in India. Farming of livestock, Kennel Management, Agri Business Management, Pathologist, you just name it,” emphasised Dr. Pruthi.

Number of specialisations offered is exhaustive. Agriculture sectors, government animal husbandry departments, poultry farms, veterinary hospitals and clinics all require specialists in the field. From vaccination of animals, to information on nutrition and health, to scientific breeding using methods like in-vitro fertilisation and artificial insemination, you are required everywhere. Various organisations employ veterinarians in research and development departments. Defence services keep dogs and horses that need a specialized vet. Postgraduates in the field have tremendous opportunities, though pure graduates too have a bright future.

The scope for veterinarians is bright in rural as well as urban areas. In cities, keeping pets is a fad, thus increasing the demand for private veterinary clinics and kennels. Growth in the poultry sector and animal products technology sector has also resulted in increase in demand for veterinarians in different sectors of livestock and poultry. Veterinary science students can work with medical institutions of both the private and public sectors. Aviaries, wild life sanctuaries and zoological parks also need veterinary specialists. 

Did you know Veterinary Science was well developed in India as early as the Vedic period? Did you know the world’s first veterinary hospital on record existed in Ashoka’s regime? During the period of Ashoka, human and animal hospitals existed side by side. Hospitals had well-defined wards, where patients were housed and treated indoors. There was treatment for all sorts of animals. Treatment of elephants was called ‘Palkapya samhita’ and horses ‘Shalihotra samita.’ Even with such early roots in the field, the first veterinary training school came into existence only in 1862 in Pune. The first veterinary college was established in 1882 at Lahore. Others were established in Bombay (1884), in Bengal (1993), in Madras (1902) and in Bihar (1930). At the time of independence, there were nine veterinary colleges in India. Today, the number is much more.

The numbers game
With over 500 million herds, India has the largest livestock population in the world , contributing to 15 percent of the world population. Livestock industry of India contributes to 8 percent of the GDP, where as 32 percent of GDP contribution from the agricultural industry comes from livestock itself. Great growth can be expected in the field based on these numbers.

Veterinary Science, the science and art of diagnosing, treating, and caring of sick animals, encompasses all types of diseases and treatments of small animals, birds, and big mammals. “Previously, there was no consciousness about animals. Today, people are more aware about the field of Veterinary Science. Farmers know about the importance of animal management at farms,” shared Dr. Girin Saikia, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, State Veterinary Dispensary, Dhemaji, Assam.  

Army recruits veterinary specialists for treatment and care of their mounted regiments. Options for students are also available in consultation, research and teaching. Private practice earnings are unlimited. “Earnings for a fresh graduate range between Rs. 20,000 to 4 lakhs depending on where you work. Graduates can apply for a gazetted Class I vacancy for Veterinary Surgeon and earn Rs. 45,000 as salary,” added Dr. Pruthi (See Box 2 on Job opportunities in Veterinary field).

Teaching is another option as experienced professionals are recruited in various institutions. Vets can also take up research work, on their own or in association with the government agnecies such as ICAR (Indian council for Agricultural Research).
Pharmaceutical industries appoint veterinary scientists in their research and development divisions for drugs, chemicals and bio-products, particularly antibiotics and vaccines for human and animal use. They can also work in technical sales, agri-business, marketing, pet food manufacturing industries and in management of industries dealing with animal feed, animal products, milk and meat products processing industries etc.

There are also a number of opportunities in Non-government Organisations/Societies working for the welfare of the animals and livestock owners like BAIF (Bharti Agro Industrial Federation), Help-in-Suffering, LPP (League of Pastoral People), PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animal) and such other organisations.

Veterinary Science made simple
Practitioners are commonly called veterinary doctors or Vets. They perform surgery as well as all types of treatment. Breeding, genetic engineering as well as caring for livestock or mass produced animals for human consumption is part of the job. Commonly, Vets are thought of as doctors who treat and care for all types of pet animals with a few strays thrown in for good measure. They prescribe medicine and inform pet owners to properly care and handle their pets. Requirements to enter this field vary from country to country. Generally, all require a background in science subjects like Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

Top veterinary science schools in the United States are Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In Asia, among the top veterinary schools is Punjab Agricultural University College of Veterinary Science in India and University of the Philippines, Los Baños, College of Veterinary Medicine. See listing of Veterinary schools in India (Table 1).

Several institutions and universities offer courses in Veterinary Sciences. Some of the famous ones include Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar; Bombay Veterinary Science College, Mumbai; and College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry (Anand Agricultural University), Anand.

 

Veterinary Science Entrance Exams
  • All India Common Entrance Examination
  • JNU Combined Biotechnology Entrance Exam.
  • Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Science University Entrance Exam
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research Entrance Examination
  • Kerala Engineering Agricultural and Medical Entrance Test
  • All India Pre Veterinary Test
  • Engineering, Agriculture & Medical Common Entrance Test
  • Kerala Agricultural University Entrance Exam
  • College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Entrance Exam 

 

Getting into Vet school
To practice as a veterinarian it is essential to have a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science. To be eligible for B. V. Sc & Animal Husbandry course, you should be 10+2 with science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  “It’s an allied medical science. Second best to medicine is Veterinary Science and Dentistry followed by Pharmacy and Biotechnology. Profession is growing, lots of opportunities and it’s a nice respectable profession,” shared Dr. Anil Kumar Pruthi, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences, Lala Lajpat Rai University, Hisar.

Duration of the BVSc & AH course varies from four-and-a-half-years to five years. First four years of study are devoted to theoretical and practical training. Various disciplines like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, livestock management and production, production technology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, genetics and breeding, gynaecology, surgery, medicine and animal husbandry extension are covered. It’s like going to a medical school for animals. The fifth year is devoted to hands-on training. Six months is through internship.

Most veterinary colleges give admission based on performance in the entrance examination held at state, all India and institute levels (See list of entrances in India in Box 1.) Veterinary Council of India conducts an ‘All India Common Entrance examination’ (AICEE) for admission to first year BVSc & AH degree course held in May each year. For admission to Master’s programmes, an All India Entrance Examination is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).

“Attendance is most compulsory. You study theory and gain practical learning. The field entails study of Veterinary Science and management, which is the Animal Husbandry component. Job creation depends on candidates. Government provides subsidised rates to Vets for setting up dairy farms etc. Just create your own avenues and don’t give up! Private companies and farms are always there,” shared Dr. Shinde, PhD student at RAJUVAS, Bikaner. Cost for the programme varies. Since most schoosl are in the public sector it could set you back  by about 2 lakh for the entire course. While as internationally  average tuition fee annually would be about US$15,500. 

Being a good Vet
You need to feel genuine compassion for animals. Since animals don’t speak, you need to read the signs from their behaviour, owner feedback and diagnose the ailment correctly. Ability to handle emergencies and working in physically disagreeable conditions is required. If you work with large animals, you need physical stamina and quick body reflexes to tackle their behaviour. Back kicks by an animal in pain should be expected.

A vet needs to have and develop the ability to put all animals at ease, be observant, sensitive and patient. You don’t know who the next patient is going to be. “Private practice is lucrative. The sky is the limit in Veterinary,” adds Dr. Patil laughingly.   

 Veterinary Colleges in India recognised by Veterinary Council of India 
 College Location  State
N.T. Rama Rao College of Veterinary ScienceGannavaramAndhra Pradesh
School of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry, PasighatEast Siang DistrictArunachal Pradesh
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural UniversityGuwahatiAssam
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Agri. UniversityPusa SamastipurBihar
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Birsa Agricultural UniversityRanchiJharkhand
Bihar Veterinary CollegePatnaBihar
College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, IGKVDurgChattisgarh
College of Veterinary sciences, GAUAnandGujarat
Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, (College of Veterinary Sciences, CCS Haryana Agricultural University)HisarHaryana
College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi VishvavidyalayaPalampurHimachal Pradesh
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, SK University of Agri. Sci. & TechSrinagarJammu & Kashmir
Veterinary College, Veterinary, Animal and Fishery Sciences UniversityBangaloreKarnataka
College of Veterinary Science, GadvasuLudhianaPunjab
College of Veterinary Sciences, KAUTrichurKerala
College of Veterinary and Animal ScienceBikanerRajasthan
College of Veterinary SciencesJabalpurMadhya Pradesh
Bombay Veterinary CollegeParel, MumbaiMaharashtra
Madras Veterinary College, TANUVASUChennaiTamil Nadu
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Central Agricultural UniversityImphalManipur
Orissa Veterinary CollegeBhubaneswarOrissa
Rajiv Gandhi College of Veterinary & Animal SciencesKurumbapetPondicherry

 

Job Opportunities for Veterinarians
Academic/Research/ExtensionPrivate Sector
Faculty in State Agricultural Universities, State Veterinary Universities, or Universities having courses in Veterinary Science Pharmaceuticals 
Teaching/Research/Extension in Veterinary College/Institutes/UniversitiesCommercial dairy farms
Para Veterinary Staff Training Schools
 
Commercial poultry farms
Experimental & germ-free animal facilities attached to Veterinary & Medical Institutions, Drug research institutionsCommercial breeding farms/ hatchery 
Experimental Animal UnitsRace club, stud farms
Clinical, diagnostic & investigation centres attached to veterinary colleges and research institutesVeterinary instruments/equipment industry
Local Bodies/Municipalities/PanchayatsBiological products and vaccine product plants
Slaughter houses/Cattle Pounds/Public health LaboratoriesInsurance companies, banks
Zoos & Wildlife centresCorporate bodies like National Dairy Development Board, Milk Board and Milk Unions

Animal resource development under Panchayati Raj

Feed processing industry
 
Centralised SectorsState Government
Army (Remount Veterinary Corps)Veterinary Hospitals/Primary Veterinary Centres
BSF/Policetate Livestock Farms 
ICAR – Coordination and funding of animal-based research.Semen Banks/Sperm Stations
Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture Poultry Farms
Quarantine UnitsMeat/Milk Processing Plants
Central FarmsPolyclinics
 Disease Investigation Centres
 Biological Products or Vaccine Institutions
 Disease Eradication Schemes/Vaccination Camps
 Public Health Labs
 

Self Employment

Private Practice/Consultancy
Practitioner
Partner/Assistant to a
Entrepreneur in L.S. or Poultry Farm
Diagnostic labs - X-ray, Ultra-sound facilities


 

 

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