Veterinary medicine is the branch of science that deals with
the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and
injury in animals. The scope of veterinary medicine is wide,
covering all animal species, both domesticated and wild, with a
wide range of conditions which can affect different species.
Veterinary medicine is widely practiced, both with and without
Professional care is most often led by a veterinary physician
(also known as a vet, veterinary surgeon or veterinarian), but
also by paraveterinary workers such as veterinary nurses or
technicians. This can be augmented by other paraprofessionals
with specific specialisms such as animal physiotherapy or
dentistry, and species relevant roles such as farriers.
Veterinary science helps human health through the monitoring and
control of zoonotic disease (infectious disease transmitted from
non-human animals to humans) and veterinary scientists often
collaborate with epidemiologists.
Paraveterinary workers, including veterinary nurses, technicians
and assistants, either assist vets in their work, or may work
within their own scope of practice, depending on skills and
qualifications, including in some cases, performing minor
The role of paraveterinary workers is less homogeneous globally
than that of a vet, and qualification levels, and the associated
skill mix, vary widely