Veterinary Pathologist

A Veterinary Pathologist is essentially a medical detective who can recognize and treat diseases in animals.

He or she can piece together clues that lead to scientific discoveries. Veterinary Pathologists are highly valuable to the field of animal care because they help protect the health of livestock, pets, and zoo or wild animals. They undergo years of education and rigorous training to get to where they are. Vet Pathologists have the ability to bridge the gap between understanding diseases of terrestrial or marine animals, and how those diseases might affect humans as well.

There are two branches of Veterinary Pathology:

• Anatomical Pathology is concerned with the analysis of the organs, tissues or the whole bodies of the animals to diagnose a disease.
• Clinical Pathology deals with the examination of bodily fluids such as blood, urine, cavity effusions, or tissue aspirates to diagnose a disease.

So if you’re thinking of becoming one someday, then you’ve already taken the first step by reading this article! Read on to find out how to prepare and what to expect in pursuing this career.


What is a Veterinary Pathologist?

veterinary pathologist

Vet Pathologists play a crucial role in the field of veterinary medicine. They aid in the protection and improvement of animal health by diagnosing diseases and predict outcomes. They use their knowledge and expertise to try and look at emerging diseases of concern, or those diseases that might be expanding and affecting new areas.

As a Veterinary Pathologist, your duties and responsibilities will depend upon the specialized area in your chosen industry. Veterinary Pathologists can also work in pharmaceutical companies and government agencies that directly contribute to the health of animal and human society.

Some tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Clinical Setting: Determining the causes, symptoms, and development of a disease by analyzing animal tissue and body fluids.
• Academic Field: Contributing in the field of educating veterinary and graduate students in universities and institutions.
• Scientific Research: Conducting animal studies and developing vaccines that allow for the advancement of the understanding and prevention of diseases.


How do I become a Veterinary Pathologist?

Earning good grades early on in High School as well as achieving high scores in your SATs will give you a great start in your journey towards becoming a Veterinary Pathologist. Gaining admission to Veterinary Medicine school is tough so attaining high grades, particularly in mathematics and science, will provide you with a great academic advantage. Usually, Veterinary Medicine schools will require you to complete a bachelor’s degree in any health science course to get accepted. Some examples of such courses are biology, biochemistry, and nursing.

Once you obtain your bachelor’s degree, you can start volunteering at animal shelters and veterinarian’s offices. Not only do you get a glimpse of what it really is like working in the veterinary field, you will also acquire the necessary skills and experience needed for admission to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program later on.

Medical student doing anatomy classesAfter successful application to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at your school of choice, you can expect to spend between 3 to 6 years in training to become a Veterinarian. Additional years in school would also be required for residency training and to further specialize in Veterinary Pathology. You can apply to more than 45 universities in the United States that offer Veterinary Pathology programs. Choose a school that is American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited, as they are the body that guarantees schools to uphold to only the strictest standards and highest quality of veterinary medicine education.

Upon completion of this program, only then can you be able to sit the national Clinical Pathology and/or Anatomic Pathology certifying exams to finally be able to practice as a Veterinary Pathologist.


How much does a Veterinary Pathologist earn?

A portrait of a young beautiful woman doctor in a clinic medical labolatory with a microscopeA Veterinary Pathologist’s salary will depend upon which industry he or she works for. Analysts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a positive outlook for all veterinary fields, include Veterinary Pathology. It has the fastest growth of all listed professions at 36% from present until the year 2020. For Vet Pathologists working in the pharmaceutical trade, they can expect to earn as much as $130,000 to $140,000 a year, while Veterinary Pathologists who work in the academe can earn around $60,000 to $90,000. On the other hand, Veterinary Pathologists who work for clinics and hospitals can earn an average of $84,460.


Final Considerations

Becoming a Vet Pathologist is a big commitment and it is not for the uninspired. Realize that you can be as good as you want to be if you put your heart into it.

The years of grueling study and research will eventually pay off as the Vet Pathologist’s job is not only financially rewarding, but emotionally fulfilling as well.

There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that your work can help save the lives of animals, humans, and the environment as well.




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