Veterinary Services are a broad range of activities that support animal health and welfare. Veterinarians work in clinical practice, teaching and research, public health programs, food safety, and uniformed services.
Veterinary services also provide workshops on topics such as communication, compassion fatigue, and setting boundaries. Some aspects of a veterinary care program may be conducted by persons other than the veterinarian; however, a mechanism for direct and frequent communication should be established.
Veterinary services protect human health through monitoring and controlling zoonotic diseases (those that can be transferred from animals to humans), food safety, and animal welfare. Veterinary scientists are also developing new treatments for human disorders, such as permanent artificial limbs and vaccines against influenza and botulism.
EFSA is committed to producing reliable data for decision-making in the field of animal health and welfare. The Agency delivers scientific advice on request to the European Commission, contributes to the development of global strategies, and fosters cooperation with other institutions and stakeholders in the area of animal health and welfare.
Laboratory animal vivaria need to be continually monitored for infectious agents. Vaccination programs, pelt examinations and bacteriological testing are just a few examples of the preventive measures used to maintain the health and well-being of research animals.
Many veterinarians serve as epidemiologists in city, county and state health and natural science departments to help protect human health through monitoring and control of zoonotic disease (infections transmitted from animals to humans), food safety, and pesticide and industrial pollutants. Others work at federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Procedures should be in place for animal care and research staff to report unusual signs or behavior, unexpected deaths, or other deviations from normal that may indicate illness or distress. A veterinarian or the veterinarian’s designee should be available to quickly assess these situations, provide treatment, and advise on euthanasia.
In the field, capture and restraint methods should be carefully designed to minimize animal distress. In laboratory settings, implementing clear and appropriate experimental endpoints combined with close observation during invasive periods of experimentation should reduce the suffering caused by some procedures. For example, after surgery, monitoring should include observing and recording behavioral signs of pain and discomfort as well as checking for skin incisions that dehisce (UFAW 1989).
Today’s veterinarians are the only doctors trained to protect the health of both people and animals. They work hard to address the health and welfare needs of animals in clinical practice, teaching and research, regulatory medicine and public health, and the uniformed services.
Veterinarians in governmental agencies investigate disease outbreaks in humans, livestock and other animals. They establish programs to prevent disease from entering and spreading in the United States and around the world. They also develop and test new vaccines, medical products and pet foods at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health and veterinary colleges.
Veterinary researchers use animal models to find ways to diagnose and treat diseases in human beings and other animals. Their discoveries help control malaria, yellow fever and botulism, produce an anticoagulant used to treat some blood disorders, and provide permanent artificial limbs. They also make contributions to the quality of life in our society through such innovations as pet food with added vitamins and minerals.
Veterinarians care for animals of all kinds—house pets, farm livestock and zoo animals. They treat illnesses; carry out research on animal diseases that can affect humans; and ensure the safety of our food supply.
Some veterinarians focus on the health of aquatic and exotic animals. Others specialize in a number of fields such as radiology, pharmacology, virology and bacteriology. They are in demand in industries that provide pet foods and pharmaceuticals, as well as in veterinary diagnostic laboratories, agribusinesses and the military uniformed services.
Many veterinarians work as epidemiologists in city, county and state health departments, investigating disease outbreaks that threaten people or their pets. They also work at federal agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, studying the effects of pesticides, industrial pollutants and pet and human medications on animals and humans. They also study the emergence of new diseases and work to prevent them from spreading. They also euthanize ill animals.