Veterinarians receive training that resembles the training given to both clinicians and epidemiologists. Similar to physicians, they become experts in the diagnosis of disease in individual animals, and similar to epidemiologists, they become experts in the recognition and characterization of outbreaks in populations of animals. Undergraduate training is in the basic sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and histology. This allows progression into subjects such as pathology, microbiology, medicine, surgery, and epidemiology. Training in animal husbandry, nutrition, pasture agronomy, and economics allows veterinarians to help service the needs of commercial farming.
The teaching material covers all of the major species, but the increasing complexity of veterinary science within individual species exerts increasing pressure on faculties to offer course electives—these may allow students to graduate with extra skills in a given species (and therefore fewer skills in others).
There are a large number of veterinarians with expertise in the care of zoo animals, laboratory animals, or specialization training in fields such as reproduction. Many universities offer postgraduate courses in these areas. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is the professional body for veterinarians and produces peer-reviewed journals and offers educational resources for members. The veterinarian's oath is "Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence'' (http://www.avma.org/). Veterinarians, therefore, commit to ongoing education and to the protection of human and animal health.
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