The Role of Veterinarians in Society

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The Role of Veterinarians in Society
Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist in the 1800’s, began his study of rabies when two dogs infected with rabies were brought to his laboratory. One of the dogs suffered from the dumb form of the disease: his jaw hung low, he foamed at the mouth, and he had a vacant look in his eyes. The other dog suffered from the viscous form of the disease: he let out terrifying howls, he snapped, and he bit at any object that came close to him. Through his research Pasteur learned that the rabies germ/organism in saliva could pass to other animals and people through an infected bite. Using this information, Pasteur grew rabies germs/organisms from infected animals and then weakened it, by drying it out, to develop the first vaccine for rabies. (Pasteur) Back then, Pasteur was considered a chemist and microbiologiest, today he would be considered a research veterinarian. Veterinarians ensure that animals are healthy and treated ethically when receiving care, that they cannot transmit potentially fatal diseases to people, and that the food supply is healthy for consumption.

As with all science discoveries, veterinary medicine had to start somewhere. For centuries societies have needed animals for food, farming, and transportation. No surprising people needed to find ways to keep their livestock healthy. The first veterinarians learned their skills by working directly with animals. Early veterinarian’s developed surgical procedures that caused considerable torture to the animal, as a result they were rarely successful, but a new invention in the mid-nineteenth century called anesthetics made veterinary surgery comfortable and reliable. After that animals became the subjects of new surgical techniques being developed or tested. In the late-nineteenth century veterinarians began ensuring the quality of the food supply by controlling the diseases that affect the livestock’s health and inspecting the food itself. (The Veterinary History Society) In 1930 veterinarians helped create the Bureau of Animal Industry who’s responsible for “improving the well-being of the animal industry through development of animal policies and parallel sectors such as marketing, feed quality, livestock production, and research.” (Bureau of Animal Industry)

Today veterinarians are still employeed in many different areas. The most common career for a veterinarian is clinical or private practice. This category is divided into two divisions: companion animal veterinarians and mixed animal veterinarians. Companion animal veterinarians take care of pets includes dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and reptiles. Mixed animal veterinarians take care of farm animals including horses, pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle; they also take care of wild animals in zoos including lions, tigers, bears, and giraffes. Clinical or private practice veterinarians diagnose health problems, vaccinate against diseases, prescribe medication for animals suffering from infections or illnesses, treat wounds, set fractures and broke bones, and perform surgery. Clinical and private practice veterinarians also inform and advise animal owners about feeding, behavior, and breeding. Companion animal veterinarians work in clinical or private medical practices while mixed animal veterinarians spend their working time between farms, ranches and their office. Both categories use medical equipment such as stethoscopes, diagnostic equipment, and surgical instruments. They work long hours including evenings and weekends; and respond to emergencies any time of the day and night. Veterinarians maintain a professional behavior while dealing with emotional pet owners, and when treating frightened animals that kick, scratch, and bite. (American Veterinary Medical Association)

Another common veterinarian career is research and public medical health. This category of veterinarians contribute to animal health as well as human medical...
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