Small Animal Veterinary Schools
Check the prerequisites for applying to vet school, and get info on finding and selecting a school for your veterinary studies. Review the typical curriculum in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, including coursework focused on small animal care. Read about specializing in small animal medicine by pursuing an internship, residency and board certification in small animal practice.
Small animal veterinary classes will include coursework in anatomy, physiology, and animal care. Pre-veterinary programs are offered at the bachelor's level, while doctoral programs require four-to-five years of additional study.
Which Small Animal Veterinary School Is Right for Me?
As of 2011, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited 28 schools in the U.S. Most DVM programs are general in nature, but you can find those that provide more classes or clinical work related to small animals. If you're an undergraduate, choosing a school that offers a pre-veterinary program or one with a curriculum in veterinary science could help prepare you for doctoral studies. Additionally, while DVM programs generally provide clinical experiences with licensed veterinarians, attending a school that has a veterinary hospital or clinic on campus might offer added convenience.
What Are The Prerequisites?
Like many doctoral programs in medical fields, not all DVM programs require you to first earn a bachelor's degree. You could receive enough acceptable education to satisfy the requirements with a 3-year pre-veterinary program, which doesn't confer a degree. However, completing a bachelor's degree program is highly recommended, since the admissions process to a DVM program is often competitive. You'll usually need to complete quite a few undergraduate prerequisite courses, like organic chemistry, general biology and physics. Additional coursework could include English composition and statistics.
You'll also need to submit standardized test scores to be accepted to graduate school. Most schools expect applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), but a few require the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT).
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Pre-Veterinary Medicine?
Students getting started in the field of veterinary medicine will most likely be entering into pre-veterinary medicine degree programs. These programs can be taken as majors or some might require coursework in pre-veterinary medicine.
- West Texas A&M University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in animal science with requirements in pre-veterinary medicine.
- The University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers majors such as animal health and animal science with coursework in pre-veterinary medicine.
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a major program in pre-veterinary medicine.
Which Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees in Veterinary Medicine?
Oregon State University's DVM program offers small animal coursework in its third year of required courses. Kansas State University's DVM program has required small animal classes in the fourth year of its five-year program.
- Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program with a small animal track.
- Oregon State University offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.
- Kansas State University offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.
How Does a Typical Program Work?
In your first 2-3 years in a DVM program, you'll explore topics like animal anatomy and physiology, veterinary pathology and medical treatments. During this time, many programs include didactic classes that discuss how to care for small and large animals. You could also take courses in veterinary business management or patient communication techniques.
You'll be required to participate in multiple clinical rotations in the final year or two of your program. Through these, you can gain experience in small animal orthopedic surgery, clinical anesthesia, small animal cardiology and diagnostic imaging techniques. Some of your electives might be available online, but most classes occur in classroom or clinical settings. After graduation, you can pursue an optional 1-year small animal veterinarian internship and, if you wish to go further, a 3- or 4-year residency program that leads to board certification in a related specialty, like canine or feline practice.
What Organizations Exist That Can Enhance My School Experience?
The AVMA developed college chapters under the umbrella of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) in 1969. The student organization mirrors the objectives of the AVMA, seeking to further veterinary sciences. As a veterinary student, you can become a member of a local chapter and attend the educational events, apply for the scholarships and participate in international exchange opportunities sponsored by SAVMA. Most accredited schools in the U.S. host an SAVMA chapter, and the organization welcomes international student participation.
Veterinary medicine is a field in which small animal classes can be taken through doctoral programs. Some might choose a bachelor's degree program that will prepare students for more in-depth training at the graduate level of study.