Veterinarian (rural) | Youthcentral

Matt, 27

Matt grew up on a farm and wanted a career that would allow him to work in the fresh air. He was also interested in science and especially medicine, so he decided to become a rural vet. Find out more:

Fact file

Job description: Makes 'house-calls' to farms; treats sick cows; advises farmers about ways to prevent disease in their herds; also treats horses, other farm animals and wildlife.

Subjects studied: English, Chemistry, Maths (2 units) and Physics.

Further training: Matt completed his Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne (5 years).


Matt grew up on a dairy farm and was used to outdoor living. He knew that whatever his career, it would have to be one that would let him work in the fresh air. He was also interested in science and particularly medicine so he chose to become a veterinarian specialising in on-farm treatment.

Matt now works with a group of vets who service the dairy farms in their local area. They travel from farm to farm, treating sick cows and other animals, and advising farmers about the best ways to prevent disease in their stock.

Matt is proud to be contributing to the wellbeing of all Australians. "The community wants milk and cheese, and they also want animals to be looked after. The dairy industry is a crucial part of Australia's economy, producing goods at world competitive prices, employing many people, and forming the basis of many rural communities."

It's hard work being a vet: But Matt warns it takes more than a love of animals to make a vet. "You've got to be sure that it's the right career for you," he says. "Studying to become a vet is mentally challenging and the work itself can be physically challenging. It's not something you'd take on if you weren't 100 percent sure it's what you want.

"Get experience in the area before you choose it as your university course. Do as much work experience on farms as you can. Speak to as many vets as you can."

Job specs

Veterinarians diagnose and treat sickness, disease and injury in all types of animals. They advise on measures to prevent the occurrence or spread of diseases and on ways to improve the health and productivity of animals, and supervise safety standards on food supplies.


Veterinarians may perform the following tasks:

  • examine sick and injured animals and perform diagnostic tests
  • examine tissues and samples from sick animals to identify the cause of disease
  • treat animals by using drugs, surgical procedures and nursing care
  • vaccinate animals to prevent disease
  • certify soundness for breeding and performance
  • give advice to owners and breeders on animal health and care
  • humanely kill animals to end pain and suffering or to prevent the spread of disease
  • advise on feeding and breeding strategies to achieve maximum production
  • notify authorities of outbreaks of animal diseases and certify animals for exportation
  • attend horse and greyhound tracks, sporting events and dog and cat shows to monitor and/or advise on the condition of the animals
  • assist in public education programs in the promotion and maintenance of the welfare of animals.

Personal requirements:

  • interested in the health and welfare of animals
  • observant
  • good at analysis and problem solving
  • good communication skills
  • aptitude for science
  • an enquiring mind
  • organisational and supervisory skills.

Getting started

Find out more about a career as a veterinarian:

Australian Veterinary Association (VIC)
272 Brunswick Rd Brunswick, VIC 3056
Tel: (03) 9387 3706

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