Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Olivia. Olivia Wonders, “What do veterinarians do?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Olivia!

Do you have a pet? If so, then you’re probably also familiar with a local veterinarian (or “vet”). Most pets have to visit the vet at least once a year. A vet visit might be for anything from checkups to annual vaccinations to illness. If you love animals, you may have thought about what it might like to become an animal doctor.

Would you enjoy seeing all kinds of animals every day? Many parts of being a vet sound like a lot of fun. Becoming one isn’t easy, though. It takes a lot of advanced schooling, similar to becoming a human doctor. And why shouldn’t it?

Think about it! Most doctors only treat human beings. A vet might have to treat many different animals on the same day. They might see a dog, a cat, a pig, a chicken, and a lizard—all one right after the other!

Seriously, though, vets need a huge amount of knowledge and skill. This helps them treat a variety of animals successfully. They must also do something that not many human doctors do these days: make house calls.

Veterinarians who treat large animals, such as horses or cows, usually don’t do so in an office setting. Can you imagine a farmer putting a leash on a cow? It might also be difficult to bring a horse into the waiting room! Instead, vets typically visit these animals in their homes.

Large animals aren’t the only ones that might get house calls. Many vets have mobile clinics. These can cater to a variety of customers. For example, some pet owners are disabled and can’t easily manage to pack up their pets to get them to an office. House calls make it much easier for their animals to get the care they need.

Some pets just don’t do well in an office setting. Those with mobility or behavioral problems might also prefer a house call. That’s especially true if the doctor needs to see the animal in the home setting for observation.

House calls aren’t always the solution, though. Most mobile clinics offer less thorough examinations and fewer diagnostic and treatment options. That’s just the way it is, since vets can’t pack their entire office into a van. House calls also tend to cost more.

Maybe you want to be a vet but don’t want to work in an office. There’s another option for you! You can become a wildlife vet. They also tend to work with a wide variety of wild animals. Their patients can include mammals, birds, and reptiles. Wildlife vets work with these animals in their natural environment.

Some wildlife veterinarians also work in zoos. Others might work with conservation groups around the world. How cool would it be to help save endangered species? You could help all kinds of exotic animals every day!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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