In this article, we will examine several veterinary topics that are relevant to both veterinarians and to zoologists. We will discuss some of the issues that are common among professionals who care for animals. In addition, we will look at some of the specialties that are available as careers for those animal care professionals. We will conclude with a discussion about options to continue to learn more about these careers here on Direct Knowledge. I hope that after reading this article you will have gained a new level or understanding about these issues. I want you to finish with an appreciation for these professionals.
Animal welfare encompasses the state of an animal and the type of treatment the animal receives. It covers terms like animal husbandry, humane treatment, and animal care. It also encompasses providing for the mental and physical needs of the animal. At a glance, it is a multifaceted veterinary topic and issue that contains ethical, cultural, religious, economic, scientific, and political dimensions. How can a professional truly care for all of an animals mental and physical needs? To provide us with that answer, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists eight integrated principles regarding animal welfare:
- The Veterinarian’s oath allows for the responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as food, companionship, fiber, work, recreation, education, exhibition, and research conducted for the benefit of both humans and animals.
- Professionals should make decisions regarding animal welfare, care, and use by balancing scientific knowledge and professional judgment with consideration of societal and ethical values.
- Provide animals with water, food, proper health care, handling, and an environment appropriate to their use and care, with thoughtful consideration for their species-typical behavior and biology.
- Professionals should care for animals in ways that minimize pain, fear, suffering, and stress.
- Animal caretakers should continuously evaluate, and when necessary, refine or replace procedures related to animal management, housing, care, and use.
- Management and conservation of animal populations should be socially responsible, humane, and scientifically prudent.
- Treat animals with respect and dignity throughout their lives and, when necessary, provide them a humane death.
- Veterinary professionals shall continually strive to improve animal welfare and health through scientific research, collaboration, education, advocacy, and the development of regulations and legislation.
Behavior examines the full scope of mannerisms and actions exhibited by individuals, systems, organisms, or artificial entities in collaboration with themselves and the environment, which involves other organisms or systems around the same inanimate environment. The manner in which a natural phenomenon or machine functions are often referred to as behavior.
For our discussion on this veterinary topic, we will limit our focus to animal behavior. To understand animal behavior, you need to understand how an animal’s physiology and anatomy integrate together. There are both internal and external factors that affect behavior in any animal. According to nature.com understanding how genes and the come together with the environment to form animal behavior is also an important part of the field. Evolutionary responses are captured in the genes of previous generations for behavior selection. Flexibility in animals’ environment gives them the chance during their lifetime to adjust to changes.
Scientists study animal behavior for a variety of reasons. Frequently, that study helps a particular animal population. However, it is also often the case that animal behavior is studied in order to better understand human beings. For example, can you draw comparisons between how a certain animal species and humans treat their young? Additionally, many times the study of animal behavior links to environmental concerns. When we truly understand animal behavior, we can better handle conservation issues. As you see, the studying of animal behavior serves numerous purposes. It is an important part of animal welfare and animal-human interaction.
Laboratory Animal Medicine
Laboratory Animal Medicine involves safety screening and biomedical research to replace animals with non-animal alternatives when practical and possible and when the alternatives are acceptable for consumption. If the use of animals is necessary, workers provide responsible and humane care for them using husbandry practices that reduce discomfort and stress.
Professionals raise laboratory animals with the intent to use them for research, teaching, or testing. In some cases, these animals have special features (anatomic, genetic, metabolic, etc.) In most cases, these are animals with a specific health and genetic status. Professionals frequently breed them for their use in research.
The veterinarian professionals, known as laboratory animal veterinarians, handle these animals. The International Association of Colleges of Laboratory Animal Medicine defines laboratory animal veterinarians as “those veterinary professionals who by virtue of interest, experience, and training have specialized in the care of laboratory animals.” Basic veterinary education teaches some of the skills needed for working with laboratory animals, but successful work in this field requires additional experience and training.
Nutrition can be defined as the intake of food concerning one’s dietary needs. It can also be referred to as the science that interprets the interaction of food and other nutrients in relation to growth, health, maintenance, reproduction, and disease of an organism. Nutrition helps to increase immunity, reduce susceptibility to disease, improve mental and physical development. Most importantly, cells and organisms require it to stay alive.
Meeting the nutritional requirements of animals is extremely important in maintaining health and performance, and is a key veterinary topic of importance. Nutritional programs for animals are very complex and need to be optimized based on the particular animal. For example, a nutrition program should have carbohydrates, fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, and even vitamins through a supplementary program.
According to the Agriculture & Life Sciences department at Texas A&M University, you can use dietary supplement programs to control gene expression and vital metabolic pathways. This improves fertility, neonatal survival and growth, pregnancy outcomes, immune health, feed efficiency, and quality of the meat. Overall, the proper balance of energy, protein, vitamins and important minerals in diets is needed to have a successful nutrition program. Successful programs will become both productive and economical. We require fundamental and applied research to meet this goal.
Another critical aspect of nutrition is water intake. So frequently, many people only consider diets when discussing nutrition. But water intake is equally crucial. In fact, many professionals will argue that you need to water intake even more important than consuming food. First, place a focus on having the animals drink enough safe, clean water. Otherwise, the intake of vital nutrients through the diet will decrease.
Poultry veterinarians are special types of animal practitioners that specialize in poultry management and medicine. These licensed professionals have specialized training in the management and care of poultry animals like turkeys, ducks, and chickens. It is also the job of a Poultry Veterinarian to ensure the well-being and care of all the Poultry animals. He or she must be able to diagnose and treat disease in these feathered animals.
According to Doctorly.org a poultry veterinarian is a specialist in the heath and care for poultry, usually focused on domestic birds like ducks, turkeys, and chickens. These specialists are different from avian veterinarians because those veterinarians typically focus on all types of birds. Poultry veterinarians work in animal breeding and husbandry, vaccinations, diseases, and medicine. They handle all aspects of poultry care.
As with any type of veterinarian, a poultry veterinarian should have a deep sense of respect and love for animals. They should be willing to interact with animals that are not capable of verbally expressing their needs. The need for these specific veterinarians continues to increase. Individuals now raise poultry not only in the rural countryside but also as part of the growing urban farm movement.
According to the Theriogenology Foundation, “Theriogenology encompasses all aspects of veterinary reproductive medicine and surgery.” This field includes the basics sciences of physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and anatomy. It also contains elements of clinical practice that relates female and male animal production, neonatology, and obstetrics. Theriogenology gathers male and female mammals, their reproduction, physiology, and pathology.
Veterinary Theriogenologists specialize in this field of Theriogenology. Typical work duties for these veterinary specialists include performing pregnancy checks and breeding soundness exams. They are also usually responsible for pre-surgical exams, diagnostic tests, and can even conduct surgical procedures to correct reproductive issues they find. In a larger practice, they may also oversee staff such as veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. In total, they manage personnel responsible for several reproductive veterinary topics.
Veterinarians can achieve board certification in the field of Theriogenology. Inside this large field, practitioners can choose to specialize in a specific animal or choose a large sub-group of animals, such as equine or bovine. These Theriogenologists have many career options ranging from working as lecturers or researchers to being clinical practitioners.
Toxicology, as a veterinary topic, is a branch of science that entails and deals with the effect of chemicals on living organisms. The process involves reporting and observing systems, treatment, and detection of toxic substances, and mechanism of chemicals concerning living organisms. The discipline of toxicology overlaps with chemistry, pharmacology, medicine, and biology. The field of science helps in understanding how chemical substances affect humans, animals, and the environment.
More specifically, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “Veterinary toxicology involves the evaluation of toxicosis and deficiencies, identification and characterization of toxins and determination of their fate in the body, and treatment of toxicosis.”
Interest in toxicology continues to grow with the public due to a combination of increased exposure on television shows and recent cases of contamination in animals. Unfortunately, people used the affected animals as a food source leading to illness and death. Veterinary toxicology is a challenging field because there are not a large number of cases to handle. The infrequency makes it difficult to have toxicology be ones primary area of specialty, at least at a smaller level for a private practice. However, when a toxicosis does finally occur, it usually affects a large number of animals. These cases frequently wind up involving local or national press and even litigation. Due to the limited cases and the chance for a high level of legal risk, limited numbers of veterinarians specialize in this field.
Veterinary Practitioners are types of doctors that diagnose and treat injuries, diseases, and sicknesses in all kinds of animals. They also help to advise on preventative measures for the animals. This field has different specialties, and they range from dentistry to animal welfare, and much more. Professionals obtain ABVP certification and license to operate on animals, as well as to provide advice on the best ways to treat animals.
In essence, the term veterinary practitioners encompasses all professionals that work in any sort of veterinarian role. These include specialists above, such as theriogenelogists, and general practice cat and dog family pet veterinarians. Remember that the options available to these professionals are numerous. After obtaining their degree and license, they can begin to practice. However, they have options to continue their education and delve into one or more specialties. Specializing in a specific veterinarian field can dramatically increase the earning potential for a practitioner, especially if individuals with those qualifications are in short supply. As with all careers, it is important to continue to learn and gain new areas of expertise. This creates a more diverse and interesting future. Veterinary topics of interest range far and wide. Do not limit yourself.
Continuing Education for Veterinarians and Zoologists
Continuing education for veterinary practitioners is critical. Professionals can continue their education through additional coursework at a college or university, by attending conferences, or through online webinars. In addition, professionals can use materials, such as e-books, articles and courses, from here on Direct Knowledge. You can find articles on veterinary topics written by professionals, online courses offering value at a fraction of the price of other sites, and e-books written and self-published by those with expertise and the proper qualifications. If you have not yet, please join the Direct Knowledge community and become part of the continuing conversation. We are your go-to source about important topics affecting veterinarians and zoologists.