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What Different Kinds of Veterinarians Are There?

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A veterinarian is essentially an animal doctor, so there are many types of veterinarians just as there are many fields of study for human doctors. There are 11 main types of vets, and this article will describe the five most common fields of veterinary medicine.


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Some veterinarians will work with all livestock, but this field can also be split into specialties in poultry, dairy, large animal, etc. In general, a livestock veterinarian will work with domesticated farm animals.

Companion Animals

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When most people think about a veterinarian, they imagine someone who works with cats and dogs. A veterinarian can specialize in these pets, which are considered companion animals.

Exotic Animals

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Exotic animal veterinarians usually work with reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as ferrets, degus, and chinchillas. These animals are usually kept in homes as pets.

Mixed Practice

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Naturally, there is quite a bit of overlap between fields of veterinary medicine. Mixed practice veterinarians generally work with both small and large animals.

Lab Animal Medicine

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A veterinarian who works in laboratory animal medicine is responsible for the health of a variety of animals that are used for the sake of science. Such a veterinarian must also ensure humane and ethical treatment of these animals.


Arlen Hershey has been writing science curriculum for informal science education organizations since 2006. She has written for Experiencia and Sea World. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois.

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