Becoming a Vet

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” 

Working as a Vet in Scotland

A rewarding career in animal care

With its picturesque landscapes and rich biodiversity, Scotland offers an incredible setting for vets seeking a fulfilling career. It provides unique opportunities to make a positive impact on animal health and welfare while enjoying the beauty of this magnificent country. Let’s explore what it’s like to be a vet in Scotland…

1. Vet Surgeon

Vet surgeons are qualified to treat sick or injured animals.  Some vets choose to specialise in surgery whilst others specialise in medicine. Being a veterinary surgeon can include:
a.  the diagnosis of diseases in, and injuries to, animals including tests performed for diagnostic purposes; 

b.  giving advice based on the diagnosis;

c.  medical treatment of animals; and
d.  performing surgical operations on animals.

 There are lots of different types of vet surgeons.

2. Small animal vet

Small animal vets work primarily with pets such as dogs, cats and small mammals.  They diagnose and treat illnesses, perform surgeries, provide preventive care, and offer advice to pet owners.  Small animal vets often work in private vet practices, animal hospitals, or clinics.

3. Large animal vet

Large animal vets focus on the health and well-being of farm animals including horses, cows, pigs, sheep and poultry.  They may provide routine medical care, perform surgeries, offer reproductive services, and assist with herd health management.  Large animal vets can work in private practices, farms, or government agencies.

4. Equine vet

Equine vets specialise in the health and medical care of horses.  They handle a range of responsibilities, including dental care, lameness evaluations, vaccinations, and reproductive services.  Equine vets may work in equine clinics, horse racing facilities, or provide ambulatory services to clients.

5. Animal welfare focus

Vets play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of animals across the country. The Scottish government has implemented robust regulations and legislation to safeguard animal welfare, providing vets with a supportive framework to carry out their work. 

As a vet in Scotland, you can actively contribute to promoting and protecting animal welfare, both in clinical practice and in collaboration with animal welfare organisations.

6. Collaboration and networking

Scotland has a close-knit veterinary community that encourages collaboration and networking. Vets in Scotland have the opportunity to connect with peers, participate in professional development events, and share knowledge and experiences. 

Collaboration between veterinary professionals is fostered through various associations, conferences, and research institutes, enabling continuous learning and advancement within the field.

7. Veterinary education and research

Scotland is home to renowned veterinary schools and research institutes, such as the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow school of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine and SRUC School of Veterinary Medicine. 

These institutions provide excellent opportunities for vets to further their education, pursue specialisation, and engage in cutting-edge research. Working in Scotland allows vets to be part of a vibrant academic community and contribute to the advancement of veterinary science.

8. Rural mixed practice

For vets who appreciate the charm of rural life, Scotland offers abundant opportunities for rural practice. With its extensive agricultural sector and diverse livestock population, vets can work closely with farmers to support herd health, perform reproductive services, and provide medical care for farm animals. 

Rural practice in Scotland allows vets to experience the breathtaking landscapes and close-knit communities while making a significant impact on animal health in rural areas.

9. Wildlife conservation

Scotland’s natural landscapes are home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Vets with a passion for wildlife conservation can collaborate with conservation organisations and national parks to protect and rehabilitate wild animals. 

This work may involve providing medical care to injured or orphaned wildlife, conducting research on endemic species, and contributing to conservation strategies that ensure the preservation of Scotland’s unique biodiversity.

10. Work-life balance

Scotland’s emphasis on work-life balance makes it a great place for vets seeking a fulfilling professional and personal life. The country offers a multitude of outdoor recreational activities, from hiking and mountain biking to sailing and wildlife watching. This allows vets to enjoy their leisure time in the stunning natural landscapes that Scotland has to offer.


11. Diverse work environment

From bustling cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow to rural areas with vast farmlands and highlands, vets can choose from a range of settings to practice their profession. Whether you prefer working with small companion animals, large farm animals, or even wildlife, Scotland offers a variety of options to suit your interests and expertise.

Working as a vet in Scotland presents an enriching and fulfilling career in animal care. With its diverse work environments, strong animal welfare focus, collaborative community, and opportunities for education and research, Scotland provides a supportive and inspiring environment for vets to thrive. 

Whether you’re interested in urban veterinary practice, rural veterinary medicine, or wildlife conservation, Scotland offers a range of pathways to pursue your passion and make a meaningful impact on the well-being of animals.

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To help any young person who dreams of being a vet in Scotland to become one.

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