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Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians treat the injuries and illnesses of pets and other animals with a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and X-ray and ultrasound machines. They provide treatment for animals similar to the services a physician provides to humans. 

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) vs. Veterinary Technician

Upon graduation from a veterinary college, you will obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Veterinary technicians, on the other hand, must complete a minimum of an associate of applied science degree program (usually two years in duration).

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians work closely together to ensure the medical health of animals in veterinary clinics across the United States, but there are important distinctions between them. Veterinarians require far more schooling and assume much more responsibility than veterinary technicians.

The following are examples of types of veterinarians:

Companion animal veterinarians treat pets and generally work in private clinics and hospitals. They most often care for cats and dogs but treat other pets, such as birds, ferrets, and rabbits. These veterinarians diagnose and provide preventive healthcare as well as carry out medical and surgical procedures, such as vaccinations, dental work, and setting fractures.

Food animal veterinarians work with farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, which are raised as food sources. They spend their time visiting farms and ranches to treat ill and injured animals and to test for and vaccinate against the disease. 

Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect and test livestock and animal products for major animal diseases. They also provide vaccines to treat animals, enhance animal welfare, conduct research to improve animal health and enforce government food safety regulations.

Veterinary Specialties 

Small animal veterinarian: These vets usually specialize in one group of animals, such as mammals, birds, fish, or reptiles. Mammals include cats, dogs, hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs.

Large animal veterinarian: This category includes livestock, cattle, and horses, llamas. Large animal vets may also work with pigs and exotic farm animals, such as ostriches and kangaroos.

Mixed practice veterinarian: Mixed practice veterinarians generalize in both large and small animals.

Zoo veterinarian: These vets handle wildlife in zoos, reserves, and preservations. They may work with a variety of species, such as insects, fish, large birds, bears, and other exotic animals.

Equine veterinarian: A veterinary career in equine medicine revolves solely around horses. Equine vets perform various duties for working, racing, and show horses.

Research veterinarian: Vets can also work with universities or corporations to observe animals, run tests, research the effects of different types of medicine and make recommendations based on their findings. Research vets could also maintain the safety of food supplies and prevent animal-to-human diseases. They typically obtain a doctorate in veterinary science vs. medicine.

Veterinary Prerequisites

NOTE: Specific prerequisite courses can vary by school--always double-check the website of each dentistry school you are applying to for specific requirements. Please review the CSUSB Catalog as a guide to completing the prerequisites.

Common Prerequisite Courses


One year or two semesters of General Chemistry with lab.

One year or two semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab.

One semester of Biochemistry (no lab required).


CHEM 2100, 2100L & CHEM 2200, 2200L

CHEM 2400, 2400L & CHEM 2500, 2500L

CHEM 4100


One year or two semesters of General Biology with lab.


BIO 2010 and BIO 2020


One year or two semesters of Calculus


MATH 1401 (a prerequisite to Calculus I.)

MATH 2210 (Calculus I.)

MATH 2220 Calculus II. (co-requisites for Physics 2500)


One year or two semesters of Physics with lab.


PHYS 2000 OR 2500 and PHYS 2010 OR 2510


One semester of Statistics.


MATH 1201

NOTE: Some programs require General Physics and will not accept Intro to Physics. If you do plan to take General Physics, be prepared to double-check the website of each veterinary school, you plan to apply to for specific requirements.

Articulation Agreements

VMCAS Veterinary Medical College Application Service

  • VMCAS Application Instructions
  • NOTE: There are no entrance exam requirements for UC Davis or Western University of Health Sciences DVM programs. However, a few other programs in the United States may still require the GRE, so be sure to check individual requirements.