Farm Vet

Farm Vet

Farm vets are veterinarians who specialise in large 'productive' animals - horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, alpaca and deer. They also look after farm dogs, and may treat companion animals (pets), particularly if based in a rural area. Farm vets treat and prevent a wide range of diseases and have an important role in promoting high animal welfare standards.

Farm vets may work with veterinary nurses, veterinary technologists and animal technicians. The agricultural industry is very important in New Zealand, so these roles play a role in supporting the economy as they help farmers to keep their animals healthy and productive.

Large animals vets are in demand in rural areas, where they are often employed by a veterinary practice based in a country town. You could also work for the government as a researcher or key adviser on a particular disease, take on a biosecurity role, work in a meatworks or move into pharmceutical research.

Earning potential depends on qualification level:

  • $54,000 starting salary for new graduate vets (large animal vets are often paid slightly more than those who work with companion animals)
  • $30-40,000 salary range for vet nurses and animal technicians with a certificate or diploma and less than five years' experience

Key tertiary qualifications:

  • To be a farm vet you will need a five-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science (only offered by Massey University, very limited entry)
  • With a three-year Bachelor of Veterinary Technology you can work as a vet technologist (like a paramedic for animals)
  • Vet nurses need a two-year New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing
  • Certificates in Animal Technology are qualifications for work as rural animal technicians and vet nurse assistants

Recommended school subjects:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Maths
  • English

Careers New Zealand: Veterinarian

Find out more on the NZ Veterinary Association website

Just the Job video – large animal vet experience from 2:25

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Farm Vet: People who work in this role

  • Catherine Close

    Veterinarian, Catherine Close at work

    Petra Stegehuis

    Veterinarian, Petra Stegehuis at work

Farm Vet: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    Focus Genetics
    Focus Genetics
    Dairy Goat Cooperative
    Dairy Goat Cooperative

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