2001-Thu May 25 20:02:40 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. Like many if not most of my veterinary colleagues, I love the stories of Dr. James Herriot, whose real name, by the way, was Alf Wight. You can bet when I had the chance, I beat feet for the place where he practiced in the small town of Thirsk, Yorkshire. Being able to visit such an important place for so many animal lovers will always be one of the highlights of the world travel my wife and I adore.
Though there are still veterinarians who have rural practices where they offer care for farm animals and pets, the level of knowledge and skill required today leads most of us to focus on either companion animal or large animal practice. Some of us are even more specialized, with veterinarians board certified to offer specialty care to birds, reptiles or, most recently, “exotics,” including ferrets, rabbits and so-called “pocket pets.” And that doesn’t take into consideration those veterinarians who specialize in internal medicine, such as cardiology or oncology, or in surgery.
As in so many areas, changes in veterinary care tracked closely the changes in human medicine. Though the doctors who cared for us used to be of the “town doc” generalist variety, children have long been cared for by pediatricians, while many other specialties, from allergists to urologists, offer detailed care for particular health problems.
It’s really just a matter of working to be the best at what you’re good at, I think.
I will say, however, that the shortage of large animal veterinarians is a problem that very much concerns us all, and there are efforts to bring more “James Herriots” into practice. You may think that if you don’t have a horse or cow if doesn’t matter that most veterinary students want to care for pets when they graduate. It does matter, however, because large-animal veterinarians are a critical part of disease prevention and keeping our food supply safe.
Though the days of James Herriot are, for the most part, behind us, the challenge of providing veterinary care to large animals will continue to grow more critical going forward. I don't know about you, but it makes me respect Mr. Wight even more than I already did, if that's at all possible.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.