The medical supplies that veterinarians use to treat animals are similar to those that doctors use on human patients. These include otoscopes and ophthalmoscopes for examining the throat, ears and eyes, and aspirators and regulators for surgical procedures. Vets use other kinds of tools depending on the patients they are treating, which might be equine, companion or food animals. Some vets specialize in a certain treatment, such as dentistry, surgery, internal medicine, microbiology or pathology, and require certain equipment to complete their work.
Veterinarians use a variety of tools to perform simple checkups, dress wounds, set bones, collect body fluids for analysis or conduct short medical procedures. They use nail trimmers or cutters, hoof grinders, speculums, ear syringes or dehorners several times throughout the course of a day. Vets who work with cats may use onychectomy clippers, which are guillotine-type clippers for declawing.
Surgical clamps, microscopes, saws, pin drivers, suction machines and catheters are frequently involved in surgeries, but vets also use equipment designed specifically for animals. For example, cattle and livestock containment chutes restrain large animals and roll to provide access to areas that are difficult to reach. Surgeries on furry animals often require veterinarians to use electric or manual razors to shave a portion of fur. Other materials include snook hooks, which are curved hooks for spaying procedures, and hemostats or tourniquets.
Vaccinations and Euthanasia
Veterinarians use needles of various sizes to vaccinate, treat or euthanize animals. The Humane Society of the United States' Euthanasia Reference Manual, for example, notes that most shelters use 25-gauge needles for euthanization. Vets may have to use animal-handling tools, such as control poles or nets, as well as identification equipment, like microchip scanners. They also keep first aid kits and eyewash stations.
Some veterinarians provide specialized services for pets, such as artificial insemination to assist in reproduction. Insemination procedures typically include the use of ultrasound machines, insemination equipment, and blood or fertility tests. More technologically advanced services include cold laser treatments for arthritis or photo-biotherapy. Vets use 15-, 25- or 30-watt surgical lasers to perform noninvasive procedures that increase blood circulation in animals, which reduce their nerve sensitivity and pain.
2016 Salary Information for Veterinarians
Veterinarians earned a median annual salary of $88,770 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, veterinarians earned a 25th percentile salary of $69,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $118,460, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 79,600 people were employed in the U.S. as veterinarians.