A veterinarian is a doctor specialising in pet and animal medicine. A veterinary surgeon or physician, colloquially called a vet, is a professional who treats disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals. Veterinary surgeons have to learn how to treat many species: dogs, cats, cows, pigs, goats, hedgehogs, ferrets, birds, mice, rabbits, sugar gliders, snakes, lizards, amphibians, aquatic chelonians, terrestrial chelonians, arachnids, raptors, marsupials, crocodilians, as well as the many species found in zoos and wildlife parks.
Vets will also learn how each species functions, responds to available medications, basic behaviours, basic care requirements, common and not-so-common diseases and parasites, zoonoses, grooming, and even more. Some vets will specialise in equine medicine and only treat horses and more particularly racing and show horses. Others will operate a private practice in a suburban area and spend a majority of their time treating popular types of pets.
Veterinarians' patients can't tell the vet what is wrong, what hurts, whether they are nauseous, have trouble seeing, or that there is something stuck deep inside their ear. Their clients’ humans are often unable to give much help. So, through careful physical examination, lab tests, x-rays, faecal tests, and other testing procedures, vets slowly piece together a clinical picture of the animal's health status and medical problem.