Equine Veterinarian Schools and Colleges in the United States
Those who want to pursue a medical career working with horses must enroll in a veterinary school and earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). Once enrolled in the program, students can specialize in equine medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits 28 schools D.V.M. programs in the U.S. (www.avma.org).
How to Choose Equine Veterinarian Schools
- Admission requirements
- Residency in equine medicine
- Large horse population
- Student-faculty ratio; success of students
Veterinarian schools require extensive prerequisites for those seeking entrance. Students should judge each school's admissions policy and requirements. Some schools require an undergraduate degree, while others allow in students with suitable undergraduate coursework and/or work experience in the field.
Required courses for veterinarian candidates include animal nutrition, biochemistry, biology, calculus, chemistry, organic chemistry, English, genetics, social science, microbiology, physics and statistics. Minimum grades and grade point averages in all of these areas are maintained and can cumulatively range from 2.5 to 3.5 depending on the school.
Residency in Equine Medicine
Students who wish to specialize in horses should look for a school with residency options in equine medicine, equine surgery and equine theriogenology.
Large Horse Population
Schools in areas with a large horse population may be more attractive to those pursuing an equine specialization in veterinary medicine. A tour of the school's facilities is an important indicator of its commitment to veterinary science.
Student-Faculty Ratio; Success of Students
The student to teacher ratio can be considered in school comparisons, and students can inquire as to the school's pass and job placement rates.
As there is no 'pre-vet' bachelor's degree, many undergraduate schools offer a two- to three-year track that fulfills the prerequisites for admission to a veterinary medicine school. Tracks like these don't award a degree in 'pre-veterinary science', but can be incorporated into another major such as biology, chemistry, zoology, animal science or biochemistry. Required coursework includes:
- Organic chemistry
- General chemistry
Master's Degree Programs
Students can expect course work, research and possibly a thesis paper in an equine science master's degree program. This 2-year program focuses on the particular specialization chosen, such as equine physiology, industry management or equine education. Courses in programs like these can include:
- Genetics of domestic livestock
- Advanced equine nutrition
- Equine industry issues
- Equine reproductive physiology
- Equine facility management
D.V.M. and D.V.M.-Ph.D. Programs
Veterinarians will need to complete their D.V.M. in order to practice medicine on animals. D.V.M. programs typically include two to three years of lectures, labs and research, and then residencies diagnosing and treating animals alongside instructors. Total time required is approximately four years.
A combined degree of D.V.M.-Ph.D. includes the requirements for passing the veterinary board exams in addition to biomedical research skills, which students use to conduct research for a doctoral dissertation. Degrees chosen relate to the desired career paths of veterinary doctors and scientists. Curriculum for the D.V.M. includes:
- Veterinary bacteriology and mycology
- Veterinary cell biology
- Veterinary ethics and jurisprudence
- Physical diagnosis
- Veterinary anatomy and embryology
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