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What is the difference between a Pet Veterinarian and a Wildlife Veterinarian?

September 24, 2021

Many of us love animals so much that we even consider having a full-time career to helping these little creatures. Being a veterinarian means that you get the responsibility to save several animals and ensure they’re in the pink of health. If you’re thinking of becoming a vet, you might want to know more about this profession. Let’s find out what types of vets there are available!

Types of Veterinarians:

As a vet, you can take a few potential paths to take care of animals. Some of those paths are mentioned below:

Companion-Animal Veterinarian

They are the most common types of vets. Companion animal veterinarians specialize in taking care of small animals, including dogs, cats, and pocket pets. They are considered equivalent to family doctors for humans. Companion-Animal vets can also provide surgical services, treatments, and diagnostics.

Veterinary Specialist

Just as companion-animal vets are similar to general practitioners of human doctors, veterinary specialists can be similar to oncologists and orthopedics. There are more than 20 recognized fields such as dentistry, cardiology, anesthesiology, etc that you can be a part of. However, you would be required to attend advanced training for being certified in such specialties.

Exotic Animal Veterinarians:

Exotic animal vets are specially trained to treat exotic animals like pocket pets, amphibians, and reptiles. They don't necessarily treat pets only. Exotic vets sometimes also treat animals living in zoos or animal rescue organisations. These vets can also become exotic animal specialists after advanced training.

Livestock and Large Animal Veterinarians:

Livestock vets are known for taking care of large animals and livestock like cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs. Some large animal vets work at veterinary hospitals for large animals. This field of veterinarians is less commonly found in Singapore, due to the limited demand.

Laboratory Veterinarians:

They might not be much visible to the public, but laboratory veterinarians are pretty essential for the well-being of all animals. Their focus of study pans across a wide range of animal related conditions, ranging from fields like pathology and disease diagnosis to pharmacology research.

Who is a Pet Vet?

Pet veterinarians are different kinds of vets compared to wildlife vets. They are known for diagnosing health problems in animals, vaccinating them against diseases, treating them from illnesses or infections, and ensuring their healthy lifestyle.  Pet vets, otherwise known as companion animal vet, usually work in private offices or pet hospitals. Their usual patients are cats and dogs. Although they also treat small animals every now and then.  Companion animal veterinarians are quite popular in Singapore due to the higher population of cats and dogs as pets.

Who is a Wildlife Vet?

Wildlife vets are licensed professionals who specialize in the treatment of different types of wildlife. These animal health professionals can treat different groups of animals like reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. They can work in veterinary offices as well as out in the fields.

Here are some organizations in Singapore where wildlife vets can be found:

   • Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority

   • Singapore Zoological Gardens

   • Nparks (nature reserves)

   • Wildlife rescue organizations like Acres

Differences Between Pet Vet and Wildlife Vets

Now that we’ve gone through the job scopes of pet vets and wildlife vets, let’s find out how different they are.

Field of Study

Companion animal vets mostly work with small animals, including cats and dogs. However, to be a wildlife pet, one would have to treat a wide range of different wildlife animals. In a sense, their focus differs although wildlife vets have a wider range of animals to focus on as compared to pet vets.  

Availability of Patient information

As wildlife vets deal with more variety of animals, they have more novel information.  Since there is less information available for some wildlife animals, this field has less textbook information as compared to pet vets. There’s much more to be discovered for wild animals. This can also be due to the broader range of animals this field of veterinary studies accounts for. On the other hand, pet veterinarians are exposed to a smaller group of animal and have more exposure and information dealing with common conditions.

Involvement in Decision Making

Compared to pet veterinarians, wildlife vets have more decision-making power. They can decide the best treatment for animals according to their judgments. On the other hand, pet vets often require owners' approval for performing any procedure. They can advise the best procedure, but they have to take the owners' opinion into consideration as well.

Customer Base

Companion animal vets often work at animal hospitals and clinics. They have to deal with pet owners as their customers. Whereas wildlife vets work for zoos, wildlife organizations, rescuers, government, and rehabilitators.

Similarities between Pet Vets and Wildlife Vets:

No matter how different their work is, both types of vets love animals. Both groups have the best interests of the animals in mind.  Their primary interest lies in ensuring a healthy life for animals and understand the importance of putting animals' welfare first.

Conclusion

We hope that you learned some interesting information about different types of vets and how pet vets and wildlife vets are different. Even though they are different, their main goal is to heal the suffering animals and give them the best possible care. If you love the animals unconditionally and want to provide them with maximum care, being a vet would be a great choice.

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