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One of the main uses of math in the job of a veterinarian is figuring dosages. Medication dosages are determined by an animal's weight. For instance, the following indication may be on a medication: Administer 2 cc's (cubic centimeters) per 5 lbs. of body weight. Therefore, the veterinarian would have to perform the following equation in order to determine the correct dosage for a dog weighing 40 lbs.: 40/5 = 8; 8 x 2 = 16. The dog would receive 16 cc's of the medication.
Another part of dosages that involves math is conversions. A veterinarian must be able to convert between measurements if necessary. For instance, a medication may read as follows: Administer 5 cc's daily for each 10 lbs. of body weight. The veterinarian would know a 30-lb. dog would need 15 cc's of medication each day. However, the pet's owner may not have a device that measures in cubic centimeters. Therefore, the veterinarian must be able to convey to the owner that 5 cc's equal 1 tsp., and 15 cc's equal 1 tbsp. By using more common measurements, the veterinarian can instruct the pet owner to give 3 tsp. or 1 tbsp. of medication daily.
Some veterinarians go into business for themselves rather than working in a joint practice. This is especially common in small towns and rural areas. These veterinarians must use a host of math skills in the business procedures of their practice. For instance, the veterinarian must be able to figure a budget and inventory for supplies, overhead, taxes, personal salary and deductions and employees' salary and deductions. Some veterinarians hire an accountant to perform some or all of these responsibilities; however, the veterinarian can save a considerable amount of money by performing these business computations himself or herself.
Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.