Becoming a Veterinarian

What does it take to become a veterinarian?

Veterinarians are pretty unique individuals.

Competition for acceptance to veterinary college in Canada is fierce. For instance, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, where most Manitobans will receive training, accepts 15 Manitobans annually. These 15 people are selected out of 350 applications received from students in Western Canada. Your veterinarian beat the odds to pursue this profession!

It's much more than good marks!
While good marks are taken into consideration, there are a number of other factors on which your veterinarian was evaluated before he or she gained entrance to the profession. These include motivation, maturity, experience with animals, leadership qualities, social awareness, communication skills and presentation, and understanding and knowledge of the veterinary profession. You veterinarian would have been given extra consideration if he or she found opportunities to work with animals prior to applying to veterinary college.  After all, all veterinarians need to enjoy working with animals. To excel in all of these areas, it's obvious that your veterinarian is no ordinary person. Veterinarians have proven their capacity to excel personally and professionally.

At least six years in university plus expenses
A vet college candidate will have completed at least two years of pre-veterinary university courses including biology, chemistry, physics,  mathematics and English. Candidates who are accepted to veterinary college will have at least another four years before they secure their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Currently, veterinary tuition is about $7,000 annually. Additional expenses for books, equipment will run approximately $1,500. Accommodations, food and other living expenses are estimated at $14,500 annually. With these estimates, by the time a veterinarian graduates, he or she will have invested about $50,000 in education. Some students choose to pursue more advanced veterinary degrees that require additional training.

Training
While in school, your veterinarian would have selected an area of specialization. Most veterinarians seen by the public are either large animal practitioners who address livestock needs or small animal practitioners who attend primarily to pets. Many vets working in rural Manitoba are mixed practitioners who take care of livestock and pet health care needs.

Advanced training
There veterinarians who choose to invest additional time in education and training to secure advanced degrees in areas of specialty. These are individuals who provide expertise primarily to government and private industries. Other veterinarians pursue a board certified specialty. This means they have advanced training in a specialty and have passed the American College of Veterinarians' Board Certification Examination in that specialty. These individuals earn the right to be called a diplomate.

Currently, Manitoba has nine practicing diplomates in the areas of veterinary internal medicine, surgery, dentistry, reproduction and obstetrics, pathology, microbiology and poultry veterinary medicine.

United in a commitment to animal health care and welfare
Our profession is as diverse as the animal world itself, however, you can be assured that the veterinarians working in Manitoba have successfully met the personal and professional qualifications to be accepted into the profession and practice in Manitoba. These individusals are united in their lifelong passion to provide animal health care and ensure animal welfare.

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