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In-Depth Jobs

Issue no 18, 30 July - 05 August 2022

Career in Veterinary Science

Nidhhi Prasaad

Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy. The livestock sector is performing well in the manner of production, value addition and export of dairy, fishery, wool, meat, poultry and other products. Apart from nutritional security, livestock sector extends its arms in terms of year round employment and income to the landless, marginal and small farmers. The achievement of livestock sector not only depends on the farmers but also on services of veterinary manpower. Veterinarians have multifaceted roles, ranging from assisted breeding in the form of artificial insemination, health care and imparting extension services. The growth of livestock population and veterinary manpower should be at par as any imbalance in the same would have crucial effect in the livestock production and thus leads to drastic consequences like nutritional insecurity, unemployment and poverty. Hence, the career scope of veterinary science is large and ever growing.

Role of Veterinary Science in National Economy

·         India is considered an agricultural country. 60% of its population still depends on agriculture & allied sectors for their livelihood.

·         Livestock play an important role in the socio-economic development of the country.

·         The agriculture sector has experienced buoyant growth in the past two years. The sector, which is the largest employer of the workforce, accounted for a sizeable 18 percent (2021-22) in Gross Value Added (GVA) of the country registering a growth of 3.6 percent in 2020-21 and 3.9 percent in 2021-22. Growth in allied sectors including livestock, dairying, and fisheries has been the major driver of overall growth of the agriculture sector.

·         Milk ranks first in terms of monetary value output among all agriculture commodities

·         Livestock are the best insurance against the vagaries of nature like drought, famine, and other natural calamities.

·         Livestock supplement the family income and generate gainful self-employment, particularly for landless laborers, small and marginal farmers, and women.

·         The livestock sector not only provides essential proteins and a nutritious human diet through milk, eggs, meat, etc. but also plays an important role in the utilization of nonedible agricultural byproducts. Livestock also provides raw materials and by-products such as manure, hides, skin, blood, bone, fat, etc.

·         Animals are natural capital, which can be easily reproduced to act as a living bank with offspring as interest, and insurance against income shocks of crop failure and natural calamities

Scope of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Science

Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, disorder, and injury in animals. Along with this, it deals with animal rearing, husbandry, breeding, research on nutrition, and products. Both veterinary science and veterinary medicine involve working with animals and coming up with solutions to animal health problems. However, careers in veterinary medicine focus more on handson animal care, while veterinary science careers tend to focus more on research and instruction. Veterinary Science deals with the treatment, and well-being of all animals. The study of veterinary science ranges from preventive care to psychological analysis and complex surgical problems. Apart from caring for animal health, a veterinarian’s job also includes scientific breeding and handling of livestock as well as birds, performing surgery, vaccinating animals and birds against diseases and controlling zoo notic diseases, and educating his/ her client i.e., animal owners about public health & hygiene, doing research on animals for the benefit of the society. A veterinarian may also work in the field of wildlife conservation. Veterinary Science has evolved to a different level with development in Animal Stem Cell Engineering, Concepts of Aquatic Biotechnology, Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Animal Cloning and Transgenic Animals, and more.

Job Roles

A veterinarian can choose to focus on a specific species or group of animals - large animals like horses, cows, and sheep, or small animals like cats and dogs. Some veterinarians work for the government to educate and encourage livestock farmers to build up the quality of their animal stock, administer vaccination and medicines or artificial insemination and handle the control and eradication of any notifiable disease. Wildlife conservation, poultry management and health care, livestock insurance, and rural development are also other areas of specialization for veterinary doctors. They also work for pharmaceutical companies to develop new medical treatments for animals, and in the holistic field, offer alternative and complementary medicine for animals.

Career Path

You first need to complete your Bachelor’s in Veterinary Science (B. VSc), which takes 5 years. To take admission to this course, you need to qualify the NEET (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test) after your class 12th, which will evaluate your knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Following this, in order to be able to practice, it is necessary for you to get registered with the State Veterinary Council. The license can be obtained only after completing your internship under the council for 6 months. To pursue a course in Master of Veterinary Science, the candidate needs to have completed their Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) from a recognized university and should have secured a minimum of 50% in their graduation. Alternative fields of study include environmental science, biotechnology, forestry and wildlife science, forensic science, microbiology, marine sciences, oceanography, and so on. If you are interested in working with animals, you could do a BSc in Zoology followed by courses in Wildlife Protection or Zoological Studies for a job with a zoological park or in wildlife protection organizations. The Project Tiger in India, the World Wildlife Fund, and other wildlife protection organizations recruit zoologists, veterinarians, and other specialists for conservation programs and to study ways and means of preserving wildlife in the country.

Skills Required

In order to be successful, veterinarians need to possess a wide range of physical and mental skills from practical skills such as performing surgery on animals, to interpersonal skills such as showing empathy to clients

·         Analytical skills

·         Scientific aptitude

·         Manual dexterity

·         Interpersonal skills

·         Organisational skills

·         Problem-solving skills

·         Academic Competencies- All veterinarians need an outstanding understanding of math, science, language, and research and a lifelong commitment to work. They need to be well aware of new scientific developments. They must be willing to take continuing education classes and attend conferences in their areas of specialization.

·         They must be aware of new drugs and techniques and should be in touch with representatives who provide new types of medical equipment and supplies for the clinic.

Opportunities for Veterinary Doctors : You can either work at established clinics under senior doctors or set up your own private practice. You can also get into research, education, or work with diagnostic laboratories. Various NGOs also employ veterinarians for consultation. Broadly career opportunities for veterinarians can be grouped as per employment agencies

·         State government

·         Centralized sectors

·         Local bodies/municipalities/ panchayats

·         Private sector and

·         Self-employment in private practice

Animal Husbandry Departments of State Governments: Various state governments recruit veterinary graduates to the post of veterinary officers/ veterinary surgeons. These recruitments are made through the respective State Public Service Commissions and the basic qualification required for the posts is a graduate degree in veterinary sciences. The veterinarians in the state departments may have to look after animal health cover, animal reproduction, veterinary and animal husbandry extension, meat inspection and cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, and poultry production, breeding farms, etc. Some of the veterinary graduates are engaged in the disease diagnostic laboratories of the State Government, while a few are recruited in the biological production units. The various developmental programs of government agencies are also taken care of by these veterinary officers.

Pradeshik Co-Operative Dairy Federation (PCDF):

PCDFs work through cooperative societies and are involved in the production/procurement of milk and milk products and the upliftment of dairy animals. It provides animal health care, veterinary extension, and animal reproduction facilities to livestock farmers. It employs a large number of veterinary graduates. The job is quite challenging and entails hard work.

Entrepreneurship: The establishment of one’s own veterinary clinic is the best bet for an aspiring, forwardlooking, and competent, confident, and hard-working young veterinarian. He is his own master in this venture. Private clinics have been established in large numbers in metropolitan cities and towns. In cities, veterinarians are confined to small animal practice but in towns, they are engaged in mixed practice. Canine breeding is also practiced by some of these practitioners, which is quite rewarding since there is a great demand for pedigreed pups.

Bank and Insurance Companies: Most of the nationalized banks and insurance companies also recruit veterinary graduates to supervise and monitor sanctioning/ awarding of funds for the purchase of milch animals under various loan schemes, preparation, and screening of various project proposals, etc. Before choosing this career, one has to keep in mind that the veterinarians engaged in these organizations do not get the opportunity of rendering professional services in the area of treatment and control of diseases in animals

Pharmaceutical Companies: A large number of Indian and multinational pharmaceutical companies have entered into the production of veterinary drugs and pharmaceuticals. They employ veterinary graduates for the production, quality control, and marketing of drugs and vaccines. The job is quite challenging, demanding, and involves professionalism.

Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC): RVC of the Indian Army offers a very rewarding career to an aspiring and dedicated veterinary graduate who is interested in a disciplined and active life. Veterinary graduates are selected for short service commissions or for permanent commissions and recruitment is done through the Services Selection Board. The job requires breeding, feeding, management, disease control, and treatment of animals maintained by the army, managing breeding centers, remount depots, slaughter houses, military dairy farms, etc.

Paramilitary Forces: A limited number of veterinary graduates are recruited by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force (BSF), and other paramilitary forces to manage dog and equine breeding centers and provide animal health cover and surveillance

Diagnostic Laboratories: There are a number of disease investigation centres that provide quick diagnostic facilities. Such laboratories also recruit veterinarians to undertake disease diagnostic work.

Zoo and National Parks: Though the zoo and national parks get veterinary assistance through respective animal husbandry departments, some of them recruit their own veterinary officers to provide health care to their animals. The job is quite challenging and rewarding

Teaching and Research Organizations: The veterinary graduates who have acquired higher qualifications, viz. M.VSC, Ph.D., etc. are engaged by various academic and research institutes of different state universities/colleges, UPSC, ICAR, etc. They undertake teaching, research, and extension work.

Colleges/Institutes for Veterinary Science: Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly; Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Aizawl; the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Hisar, etc are among the top institutes that regularly recruit Veterinarians for teaching positions.

Research and Development Wings: Most pharmaceutical and other organizations have research and development wings for carrying out trials or developing protocols for clinical trials. They also recruit a few veterinary graduates. However, they prefer the Master/Ph.D. degree holders in their respective specializations to undertake the challenging task.

Top Recruiters in Veterinary Science:

·         The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI)

·         Terzetto Pharma Metrics

·         PETA India

·         CRPF paramedical department

·         Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

·         The Indian Veterinary Association

·         Vixilanciaa

 (The author is counseling Psychologist & Career Consultant. She can be reached at nidhiprasadcs@gmail.com). Image courtesy: Twitter: @ITBP_official