Livestock Veterinary Degree Program Information

Students interested in becoming a livestock veterinarian should earn a traditional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine to gain the knowledge necessary for licensure in the field. See common courses, job information and licensure requirements.

Essential Information

There are no specific degree options available for students who are interested in specializing in livestock veterinary medicine. Those who are interested in providing vaccines and medical care to cows, sheep, pigs and other livestock should enroll in a regular Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at an accredited 4-year university. DVM programs include foundational courses as well as advanced clinical rotations. Graduates will be prepared to take the necessary exams needed to gain licensure in the field. Applicants to these programs will need a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

The first two years of a DVM program feature foundational courses related to the animal body, animal health, animal diseases, animal vaccinations, cell biology and genetics. The second two years provide more clinical and laboratory courses; those most relevant to livestock care would be found in large animal medicine. Some examples of coursework include:

  • Veterinary anatomy and physiology
  • Veterinary husbandry
  • Veterinary immunology
  • Diseases of poultry
  • Veterinary neurobiology
  • Veterinary pharmacology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report data specific to the livestock veterinarian profession, it did report that veterinarians in general numbered around 65,650 individuals as of 2015. The median annual salary for the field in general was $88,490 in 2015.

Certification and Continuing Education

All veterinarians, including livestock veterinarians, are required to gain licensure. Each state regulates its own licensure procedures, but all require individuals to first acquire their DVM. Some states also require aspiring veterinarians to pass the North American Veterinarian Licensing Examination (NAVLE).

Students who pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine can take courses in large animal medicine to study procedures used to care for livestock. Graduates will need to obtain state licensure to practice as veterinarians.

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