Becoming a Horse Vet

David Sanderson Horse Techniques & Careers

There may be some of you who have considered a career involving horse care. Equine veterinarians are doctors who provide medical care for horses.

The educational path is long but if you dream about caring for horses at a very high level, then the work will be all worth it in the end. Let’s briefly go through the steps to become a horse doctor:

Start in Secondary School

This can begin as early as middle school. A strong understanding of science is important. In high school, students may prepare for a career in equine medicine by performing well in math and science courses, specifically in biology.

In College

No specific major is necessary for pre-veterinary degrees, but it is helpful to have coursework in the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, genetics, zoology and nutrition. Veterinary schools each have specific requirements so it’s important to know exactly what courses you need but, most equine veterinarians hold bachelor’s degrees before entering veterinary school.

Vet School

Admission to veterinary school has become increasing competitive in the past few decades as the number of applicants has outgrown the number of colleges. Those with bachelor’s degrees have the best chances for admission. All applicants must sit for a standardized test, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) or VCAT (Veterinary College Admission Test). Veterinary school generally lasts four years and results in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree.

Complete an Internship

Some veterinary school graduates choose to enter clinical practice directly after earning a D.V.M. or V.M.D and obtaining state licensure. Equine veterinarians who complete an internship program before entering the practice usually have greater employment opportunities and higher pay later in their careers. Internships are usually for one year and offer paid, practical experience in equine medicine.

Consider a Specialty

Some equine veterinarians want advanced training in a specialty, such as internal medicine, surgery, neurology, dentistry or preventive medicine. To become a specialist in any of these areas, veterinarians must complete 3-4 years of residency training in an area of expertise approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Equine veterinarians are then also eligible to apply for board certification in their specialties.