Animal care is so crucial to all pet owners. When there is a problem we cannot deal with, we go to the vet for their expertise. London is particularly well off for vets, with a large number of Veterinary Practices, but although they may be near we often suffer from transporting our pets to the veterinary clinic.
Of all the professions, veterinary practise must be one of the most respected, whether for the vet or for the veterinary nurses. In the UK, the veterinary undergraduate course is the hardest of all to get into, demanding exceptional academic results as well as related work experience and of course passion.
In the UK, vet studens do a degree as Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) which is a five year programme and this allows them to be registered as a veterinary surgeon. However, to practise as a vet they need to be registered as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. It is a well recognised degree, even by the American Veterinary Medical Association, unlike our human doctor course.
The undergraduate course generally starts with two years of pre-clinical work on animal health and handling with a mixture of practicals and lectures. Years three and four are about practising clinical science and practical skills. There is normally a research project carried out in the fourth year. Year five is normally lecture free and covers the veterinary practical skills. To meet the degree requirements, prospective vets need to do 26 weeks approved veterinary work experience in a mix of veterinary hospitals, clinics and research locations during their last three years.
Some Universities allow a BSc combined veterinary degree for those interested in careers in research although this increases the course length to six years.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is based in London, Belgravia House in Westminster. It was formed in 1844 by Royal Charter, but various acts and updated charters have followed since. In 1922 the first woman became a member was Aleen Cust. Today’s practice is based on the 1948 Veterinary Surgeons Act which included the awarding of University degrees in Veterinary Science. In 1952, on Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne, she became patron of the RCVS.
The role of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is:
• To safeguard the health and welfare of animals committed to veterinary care through the regulation of the educational, ethical and clinical standards of the veterinary profession, thereby protecting the interests of those dependent on animals and assuring public health.
• To act as an impartial source of informed opinion on animal health and welfare issues and their interaction with human health.
The veterinary nurses go through a four year BSc (Hons) course that has a very high practical content as well as lectures and a research project.
Whilst we list and have some links from the veterinary clinics and veterinary hospitals that we have had dealings with, the veterinary profession is one that you can choose from safely, location being probably your key decision maker. You will find this link useful to finding the vets near to you.
There are veterinary experts in specific types of care or specialising in specific pets or animal hospitals or a few specialising in cost effective routine veterinary services such as vaccinations, but the majority of vets will look after all types of animal.
The safety and professionalism of the veterinary business is reflected in their insurance premiums which are relatively low as, even in today’s litigation culture, there are not many claims.
Some Vets We Know