Veterinarians work in a range of conditions that vary according to the requirements of their specialty. As such, veterinarians can work in private veterinary practices and animal hospitals, zoos, aquariums, farms and ranches, or travel to various locations in a temporary or on-call capacity.
The differing conditions and specialties in which veterinarians can work each have their own positive and negative aspects, such as pay, working hours, stress levels, environmental conditions, and inherent or potential dangers.
In private veterinary practices and animal hospitals, veterinarians are expected to care for a range of animals commonly found in private homes, such as cats, dogs, birds, reptiles and rodents. Unless the animal patient requires emergency care, typical veterinary duties include routine check-ups, vaccinations, parasite removal, de-clawing, and neutering and spaying.
Zoos and aquariums employ veterinarians to provide medical care for the animals that call these institutions home. Depending on the individual specialty, the veterinarian routinely works with exotic animals from all over the world. These range from large mammals like the elephant, tiger, lion, bear and zebra, to aquatic animals like sharks, turtles, alligators, crocodiles and squids.
Analogous to the conditions in private veterinary practices and animal hospitals, veterinarians at zoos and aquariums perform routine check-ups and other animal care services. However, due to the size and wild nature of the animals found in zoos and aquariums, there are additional inherent safety risks.