Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
Large animal vets are certainly in demand around here. We are lucky to have a very experienced 'farm vet' that lives less than 5 miles from us, but the next one is easily 25+ miles away.
As with many professions that have large up front costs (i.e. time and education), it can take a long time to start coming out ahead. I've had numerous conversations with our vet over the years and here are some points that I've picked up.
- Learn about running a business, also. Our vet owns his practice, has two offices and a few vets and techs that work for him (but he is the only large animal vet in the practice).
- Our vet enjoys being out on the farms and caring for the large animals, but freely admits that the bread and butter of the business comes from the small animal (cats and dogs) side. All those small animal routine exams, shots, spay/neuters, and minor injuries bring in the $$s, and (at least in the rural areas) you can't wind up charging a farmer/rancher big $$s on a farm call...they are very practical people with little profit and in many cases would decide to put the animal down first. For very serious problems, folks with expensive show horses and/or boat loads of money are referred to the NC State Vet school that has a 24 hour 'walk in' emergency clinic, full diagnostic equipment (CT + MRI), and surgical suites (but you're looking at thousands of $$s).
Good luck. I think it's a great profession.
On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.