Equine Veterinarian

Job Description:

An equine veterinarian diagnoses and treats medical conditions, provides preventive care, performs surgeries, and offers general healthcare services to horses to ensure their well-being and performance.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

As an equine veterinarian, you will be:

  • Diagnosing and treating various health conditions and injuries in horses, which can involve prescribing medications, performing surgeries, and providing
  • Implementing vaccination schedules, conducting health check-ups, and advising on nutrition, exercise, and other preventive measures to maintain the health of horses
  • Responding to urgent situations like colic, injuries, and other medical emergencies to provide immediate medical attention to horses
  • Performing dental procedures such as floating teeth to ensure proper dental health and function in horses
  • Providing reproductive services such as artificial insemination, pregnancy diagnosis, and managing breeding programs
  • Identifying and addressing lameness issues through thorough examinations, diagnostic imaging, and treatment plans
  • Assisting in optimising the health and performance of horses involved in various activities like racing, show jumping, and other equine sports
  • Educating horse owners on proper care, nutrition, disease prevention, and management of their horses.
  • Performing surgical procedures, both routine (castrations, wound repairs) and more complex (orthopedic surgeries), to address various health issues
  • Using techniques like X-rays, ultrasounds, and endoscopy to visualise internal structures and diagnose conditions
  • Contributing to equine research, staying updated with medical advancements, and applying new knowledge and techniques to practice
  • Collaborating with farriers, trainers, and other equine professionals to provide comprehensive care to horses
  • Providing health certificates for horses traveling interstate or internationally, as required
  • Making difficult decisions regarding end-of-life care and euthanasia when necessary, and providing support to owners during these challenging times
  • Ensuring compliance with animal welfare regulations and standards in veterinary practice
  • Maintaining accurate medical records of horses’ health histories and treatments


You will need:

  • knowledge in veterinary medicine basics, pharmacology and dentistry
  • knowledge of medical conditions, surgery, diagnostics, nutrition and reproductive health
  • knowledge in equine anatomy
  • knowledge in emergency care

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an equine veterinarian, it’s important to have a strong academic foundation. While specific requirements can vary, the following GCSE subjects are generally beneficial:

  1. Science Subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics): Equine medicine involves understanding biological processes, medications, and potential treatments.
  2. Mathematics: Math skills are essential for tasks such as calculating medication dosages and interpreting diagnostic results.
  3. English: Effective communication, both written and verbal, is crucial for interactions with clients and colleagues.
  4. Additional Science or Animal-Related Subjects: If available, subjects like Additional Science, Zoology, or Agriculture can provide additional insight into animal biology and health.
  5. Physical Education (PE): Physical fitness and a basic understanding of exercise science can be advantageous when working with active animals.

While these subjects provide a solid foundation, keep in mind that becoming an equine veterinarian requires higher education in veterinary medicine (DVM) after completing secondary education. Admission to veterinary schools often considers not only GCSE subjects but also A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) and relevant experiences. It’s advisable to research the specific requirements of the veterinary schools you’re interested in and seek guidance from academic advisors or career counsellors to tailor your educational path accordingly.

To become an equine veterinarian, you need the following qualifications and requirements:

Bachelor’s Degree: Start by completing a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a science-related field such as biology, animal science, or pre-veterinary studies. While not always mandatory, this education provides a strong foundation for veterinary school.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Degree

Obtain a DVM degree from an accredited veterinary school. This typically involves about four years of specialised education focused on animal health and medicine.


After completing your DVM, you need to obtain a veterinary license in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice. Licensing requirements often include passing certain examinations such as the  North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) in the USA or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK.

Clinical Experience

Gain hands-on clinical experience during veterinary school through internships, externships, and rotations. Specialised equine internships can provide valuable exposure to equine medicine.

Specialisation (Optional)

If desired, you can pursue board certification in equine specialties such as equine surgery, internal medicine, or sports medicine. This involves additional education, training, and passing specialty exams.


Building experience is crucial. Entry-level positions or internships in equine practices help you apply your knowledge in real-world settings and learn from experienced equine veterinarians.

Working Hours and Environment:

Equine veterinarians have irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, due to emergencies and client needs. They work outdoors in various settings such as stables and competition venues, often independently but also collaborating with clients and colleagues, and need to be prepared for physically demanding situations and urgent calls.

Career Path & Progression:

The typical career path of an equine veterinarian involves getting a DVM degree, gaining experience in entry-level roles, developing skills, possibly specializing, advancing to more complex cases or leadership positions, and potentially pursuing roles in academia, research, industry, or practice ownership. Continuous learning, networking, and adapting to opportunities are key aspects of this path.