Q: What is veterinary medicine? Is it right for me?

Veterinary medicine is the study and practice of medicine on animals. 

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a veterinarian you should have an interest in science, animals and solving challenging problems. Academics are also a large part of veterinary medicine, as the program is intense and involves a rigorous academic schedule.  Excellent communication and inter-personal skills are also vital.

A student who wishes to become a veterinarian must be willing to work hard at school as well as be active in both animal and non-animal extra-curriculars. 

Q: What courses should I take in high school? 

You should take courses that will prepare and admit you to a university degree program. Most students who wish to apply to veterinary medicine take all the major science subjects such as: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Advanced Functions or Calculus. 

Q: Is veterinary experience and animal care experience important? 

Yes, it is very important!! 

For you to understand the role of veterinarians and animals in the community, as well as understand the job of veterinarians, you must spend some time with them as well as gain exposure to a variety of animals. You should start working or volunteering for a: veterinarian, animal shelter, stable or farm during your high school and university years. You should also keep track of the hours and experiences you have gained at these places and be prepared to elaborate on them when you apply. 

Q: How do I get veterinary experience? 

A useful site is the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO). A list of clinics in your area can be found at this site. If you own a pet start with your own veterinarian. Also be prepared to make plenty of phone calls to local stables, animal shelters, zoos and food animal producers to see if they offer volunteer/work positions as well. 

Q: What undergraduate university should I attend? 

Choosing a university is one of the most important choices you make in your academic career. Take the time to research your options and find one that suits your needs and personality. Choosing a university that is right for you will likely result in academic success. 

To apply to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), Cnadians must have established 12 months of residency in Ontario by December 31st of the year prior to your applicaton. It's also important to note that the OVC admissions committee does not give preference to University of Guelph students for admission into the Veterinary Medicine program. 

Q: What should I study in university? 

Any program/majors are acceptable as long as a full course load (5 courses, 2.5 credits, or 15 credit hours) is taken and the required prerequisites are met at an acceptable course level. More information about requirements can be found here. Most students who apply to veterinary medicine are usually in a science related program. It is not necessary to take a 'pre-veterinary' program.

Q: How long is the veterinary medicine program? 

The veterinary medicine program is a 4-year program, and is obtained on campus at the University of Guelph. You cannot take the degree part-time, with distance education or on-line. 

Q: After completing veterinary school, what kind of jobs can I get? 

Most veterinary graduates go into private practice focusing on either small animal (dog and cat) or large animal (horse, cattle, etc.). Other opportunities come from working in 'public' practice, which includes: public health, food safety and animal disease control. A number of veterinarians enter the world of research. 

There is also the option to work in private industry for companies involved in pharmaceuticals or animal nutrition. Other possible career areas include wildlife conservation, zoo animal care, research, food animal management and aquatic management. There are an endless number of career opportunities for those that decide to become a veterinarian.

Q: Can I visit the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)? 

Absolutely! We offer opportunities to tour the campus throughout the year. Please See http://www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/recruitment/en/experienceovc/mapdirections.asp for further information. Please note that visitors to the OVC must be on a guided tour with a trained guide. The facilities house a teaching hospital with patients so visitors are not allowed to enter restricted areas.