Profession general veterinarian

General veterinarians are professionals with a comprehensive scientific education. They have the authority to carry out, in an independent, ethical and personally responsible capacity, all aspects of veterinary medicine, in the interest of the health and welfare of animals and public health in accordance with national and international legislation.

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Personality Type

  • Investigative / Realistic


  • Conduct ante-mortem veterinary health inspection

    Perform clinical assessment and certification of the health status of food animals prior to slaughter.

  • Signs of animal illness

    Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.

  • Anatomy of animals

    The study of animal body parts, their structure and dynamic relationships, on a level as demanded by the specific occupation.

  • Animal behaviour

    The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.

  • Environmental enrichment for animals

    Types, methods and use of enrichment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, including the provision of environmental stimuli, feeding activities, puzzles, items for manipulation, social and training activities.

  • Animal production science

    Animal nutrition, agronomy, rural economics, animal husbandry, hygiene and bio-security, ethology, protection and herd health management.

  • Animal welfare legislation

    The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.

  • Zoonotic diseases

    Zoonoses are infectious diseases of animals that can naturally be transmitted to humans. They consist of a wide range of diseases and range from endemic zoonoses such as brucellosis, anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, parasitic diseases (hydatid disease, echinococcosis, trichinellosis) and rabies to emerging zoonoses, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, Nipah/Hendra disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

  • Safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and working environment.

  • Animal welfare

    Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are: need for a suitable environment need for a suitable diet need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

  • Fundamental veterinary sciences

    Veterinary anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, pharmacology, pharmacy, toxicology, microbiology, immunology, epidemiology and professional ethics.

  • Animal food products

    The principles of traceability, hygiene and processes involved in the production, manufacture, storage and putting into circulation of animal feedstuffs, or foodstuffs of animal origin intended for human and/or animal consumption.

  • Biosecurity related to animals

    Awareness of hygiene and bio-security measures when working with animals, including causes, transmission and prevention of diseases and use of policies, materials and equipment.

  • Physiology of animals

    The study of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biochemical functioning of animals, their organs and their cells.

  • Veterinary clinical sciences

    Aetiology, pathogenesis, clinical signs, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases and disorders. This includes veterinary areas such as propaedeutics, clinical and anatomic pathology, microbiology, parasitology, clinical medicine and surgery (including anaesthetics), preventive medicine, diagnostic imaging, animal reproduction and reproductive disorders, veterinary state medicine and public health, veterinary legislation and forensic medicine, and therapeutics.


  • Manage the use of vaccines

    Prescribe, administer and manage the use of vaccines, immune stimulants and suppressors and anti-sera.

  • Manage animal hygiene

    Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.

  • Advise on livestock disease control

    Advise livestock owners of economic aspects of disease eradication. Advise consumers of public health implications of diseases transmissible from animals to humans.

  • Control animal movement

    Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal's, or a group of animals', movement.

  • Perform laboratory testing on samples of animals

    Conduct and interprete simple procedures in a veterinary practice laboratory on samples of an animal intended to detect, identify, or quantify disease agents, evaluate organ functions, or determine the nature of a disease.

  • Practise veterinary professional codes of conduct

    Adhere to veterinary professional codes of practice and legislation.

  • Supervise animal handling for veterinary activities

    Supervise the handling and restraint of animals in connection with veterinary examination or other procedures.

  • Provide first aid to animals

    Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Conduct veterinary client consultation

    Conduct structured and empathetic communication with clients in order to ascertain or provide relevant clinical information concerning health status, treatment options or other ongoing care of the veterinary patient.

  • Manage licensed animal medications

    Prescribe and/or administer all kinds of medications, including fluid replacement therapy by all routes. This includes assessment of the safety and efficacy of a single medicine, and of combinations of medicines, for use in the animal, while ensuring neither compromising the owner, nor public health.

  • Manage pain for veterinary patients

    Select, administer and monitor analgesics in animals.

  • Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and work environments.

  • Provide sedation to animals

    Select, administer and monitor sedatives dispensed to animals for a medical intervention.

  • Maintain veterinary clinical records

    Create and maintain clinical records for animals according to national regulatory requirements.

  • Certify the performance of veterinary procedures

    Produce accurate descriptive certification of procedures carried out by a veterinarian.

  • Apply veterinary epidemiology

    Analyse animal and zoonotic disease morbidity and mortality in a given population and relate findings to the norm. This includes collection and analysis of data and information for use in individual animals, groups or more widely as part of a network of disease surveillance. Implement intervention and control measures.

  • Perform veterinary diagnosis

    Identify and determine the physiological status of animals and the nature and cause of diseases in animals through evaluation of patient history, clinical examination, and the selection, taking and reviewing of confirmatory imaging, laboratory and other ancillary test data.

  • Manage animal biosecurity

    Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.

  • Provide animal training

    Provide training in basic handling, habituation, and obedience to enable the completion of day-to-day tasks while minimising the risks to the animal, the handler, and others.'

  • Implant microchips in animals

    Implant microchips under the skin of animals.'

  • Perform surgical procedures on animals

    Apply operative manual and instrument specific techniques on an animal with the intention of modifying physiological status, and/or restoring normal organ or tissue function or structure.

  • Manage animal welfare

    Plan, manage and evaluate the application of the five universally recognised animal welfare needs as appropriate to species, situation and own occupation.

  • Advise on animal welfare

    Prepare and provide information to individuals or groups of people on how to promote the health and well-being of animals, and how risks to animal health and welfare may be reduced. Provide recommendations for corrective actions.

  • Inspect animal welfare management

    Monitor animal health and welfare management and husbandry, and analyse risk factors in relation to animal health, disease and welfare status.

  • Safely interact with animals

    Ensure a safe and humane interaction with the animal avoiding factors that will negatively affect their behaviours. This includes the use of humane training aids/equipment, as well as explaining their use to owners/keepers, to ensure they are used appropriately and the welfare of the animal is protected.

  • Monitor the welfare of animals

    Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals' accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.

  • Handle veterinary emergencies

    Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.

  • Evaluate information in the field of veterinary nursing

    Be able to read, understand and utilise the most current research available to justify decisions based on best practice.

  • Perform euthanasia on animals

    Kill painlessly an animal suffering from an incurable and painful disease.

  • Perform gross post mortem examination on animals

    Perform gross examination of the animal corpse for the purpose of diagnosing the aetiology and pathophysiology of disease or death of animals and for the safety and quality of animal products entering the food chain.

  • Provide anaesthetics to animals

    Select, administer, and monitor anaesthetics in animals in preparation for surgery.'

  • Issue certificates for animal products

    Issue certificates related to animal health and welfare or to animal products, based on the necessary examination or testing, in accordance with the principles of certification agreed at European level.

  • Collect samples from animals for diagnostic purposes

    Obtain specimens of an animal's body fluids, secretions, excretion or other tissues, in order to facilitate the diagnosis of health and disease.

  • Prescribe physical therapy to animals

    Prescribe physical methods for therapy in animals, such as modification of exercise, massage, heat treatment, electrical and other wave based treatments.

  • Develop an animal handling strategy

    Develop plans and strategies to deal with the animal in order to achieve established goals and optimal results.'

  • Assess animal nutrition

    Assess the nutrition status of animals, diagnose dietary imbalances and prescribe correction.

  • Carry out veterinary professional communication to the public

    Provide veterinary information and insight, in cooperation with public health officials, with regard to zoonotic and infectious diseases, as well as to general animal care and welfare.

  • Assess animal behaviour

    Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.'

  • Continue learning

    Participate in field-related educational programmes to keep up with the latest trends or issues that appear in related fields.

Optional knowledge and skills

maintain relationship with customers apply numeracy skills follow work schedule manage personal professional development interview animal owners on animals' conditions calculate rates per hours implement veterinary clinical governance administer appointments supervise nursing staff make decisions regarding the animal's welfare check the health of livestock maintain administrative records in the veterinary office take advantage of learning opportunities in veterinary science plan schedule collaborate with animal related professionals cope with challenging circumstances in the veterinary sector manage a small-to-medium business provide mentorship deal with challenging people understand the animal's situation maintain relationships with animal welfare establishments

Common job titles

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