VETERINARIANS: vital for animals, vital for people

You may think you know what veterinarians do. Look after our cats and dogs when they’re ill. Keep farm animals healthy. Help wild animals. All true.

But did you know that veterinarians play a vital role in looking after people’s health too? Not to mention in protecting the environment and the economy?.

From making sure the food we eat is safe to stopping animal disease spreading to people and costing the farming industry millions, we couldn’t survive without veterinarians.

[ Human Health + Animal Health = One Health! ]

Why are Veterinarians important?

01 Veterinarians… look after your pets and animals on the farm.

Can you imagine your pet’s life without a veterinarian? No treatment when they were ill. No vaccinations to stop disease. A shorter, poorer life. All animals deserve to be happy and healthy, and veterinarians make sure this happens. They help farmers look after their animals and care for animals in slaughterhouses and zoos, making sure they are well and kept in the best possible conditions.

Two thirds of veterinarians in Europe do this type of work, and are known as practitioners. The scope of practitioners’ work has come a long way. At first, they only helped horses fighting in wars, then other farm animals including bees and fishes. Now, as people have an ever growing variety of pets and want the best care for them, practitioners have learned to care for rabbits, ferrets, rodents, birds and snakes, to name just few. Many also treat zoo animals, wildlife and animals used in sport (like horses and greyhounds).

02 Veterinarians… mean you can enjoy a juicy steak – safely.

If you’re a fan of tender steak or delicious hamburgers, tasty chicken or succulent lamb, you need to stop for a moment and thank not only the farmers who raise animals, but veterinarians too. They make sure the meat – as well as dairy products, fish and eggs – you eat comes from healthy animals and is disease-free.

People can get fatal diseases like Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Salmonella and E. Coli from coming into contact with or eating meat or dairy from animals with these conditions. In fact, three quarters of newly-discovered human diseases and 61% of all human infectious diseases come from contact with animals.

Veterinarians specialising in food hygiene work on farms and in slaughterhouses, testing and inspecting animals for these conditions – and making sure they never make it into the food chain and on to our plates.

These veterinarians also watch for signs that animals may have ingested chemicals that could  lower the quality of their meat. They watch for signs of “food fraud” too – that companies are lying about the quality of their

03 Veterinarians… make sure everyone has enough to eat.

The world’s population is growing every day – and we’re struggling to find food for everyone. By 2020 will we still be able to meet the demand for milk, eggs, fish and meat? Veterinarians will lead the way. They’ll help make sure the world can produce enough animals to eat by stopping disease and by helping animals bred using modern techniques like artificial insemination and embryo transfer. These techniques can help save rare and endangered species too.

04 Veterinarians… keep our farming industry strong .

Did you know there are 14 million farmers in Europe? They and their families depend on a healthy farming industry for their livelihoods. But without the support of veterinarians to keep disease in check, farming could collapse. Meat, dairy products and eggs would be unsafe, and impossible to sell. Outbreaks of diseases like avian influenza or bovine tuberculosis could shut down production on farms, costing millions. Veterinarians’ help to carefully monitor and prevent serious diseases means farmers across Europe can support themselves and their families.

05 Veterinarians… boost the economy

Every year, farming contributes not millions, not billions, but trillions of Euros to the European economy. That’s only possible because of veterinarians. Farmers and Businesses would struggle to trade meat and dairy products, especially internationally, if they couldn’t guarantee it was safe. Veterinarians’ inspections and certificates
give importers and exporters the proof they need, encouraging them to buy and sell, boosting the national and international economy – for everyone’s benefit.

6 Veterinarians…protect our environment.

We all know damage to the environment and climate change are big problems. Farming and keeping animals contributes to both. Without veterinarians being there to support farmers, they could cause a lot more harm. Veterinarians help farmers and other animal keepers to act in the most environmentallyfriendly way possible. For example, veterinarians guide farmers in using animal medicines and chemicals responsibly and treat waste so it doesn’t cause damage to the environment.

07 Veterinarians… stop and deal with outbreaks of disease

Occasionally, there will be an outbreak of serious animal disease. The consequences can be dire: diseases like foot and mouth, salmonella or BSE can kill thousands of animals, harm people, ruin the farming industry and cost millions. Every country in Europe employs state veterinary officers to inspect places like farms, slaughterhouses, milk factories and border checkpoints to prevent outbreaks happening in the first place. When outbreaks do happen, veterinarians limit their impact and minimise losses. Veterinarians detect disease outbreaks all the time; it was a hygiene specialist who detected the 2001 UK foot and mouth outbreak during a routine inspection.

08 Veterinarians… keep the profession strong for the future

Veterinarians don’t just work on the front line, treating animals and working with farmers to keep our food safe. Many also work in industry or in labs leading innovative research into new medical treatments and new methods to ensure our food is safe. Many more work in universities or other schools, teaching animal-related subjects and ensuring our animals and food will be in safe hands in the future.

09  Veterinarians… making a positive impact on the world

Afghanistan, Somalia – whenever there is a war zone or a disaster, veterinarians are present. Imagine bomb-sniffing dogs or inoculating cattle on a humanitarian mission, veterinarians lead it. Working in the army, veterinarians look after the four-legged friends of the soldiers but also join humanitarian mission to ensure food and water can safely be consumed and animals can be evacuated safe and sound out of disaster area.

In conclusion…

Animals. Every person who eats meat, dairy, eggs, fish or other animal products. Farmers. The environment. The economy.

These are just some of the beneficiaries of veterinarians’ valuable work.

[ Human Health + Animal Health = One Health! ]

We couldn’t survive without veterinarians. And they need the support of decision-makers throughout Europe.

Information from FVE. Find out more about the vital work of veterinarians and FVE on the website

Brief Description of the Bachelor Degree

The Bachelor of Veterinary Science enables to practice the profession of Veterinary Surgeon.

The academic training of Vets offered in the ULPGC ensures the student has acquired the following knowledges and skills:

  • Adequate knowledge of the sciences on which veterinary activities are based.
  • Adequate knowledge of the structure and functions of healthy animals, of their husbandry, reproduction and hygiene in general and their feeding, including the technology involved in the manufacture and preservation of foods according to their needs.
  • Adequate knowledge of the behavior and protection of the animals.
  • Adequate knowledge of the causes, nature, course, effects, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals, whether considered individually or in groups, including a special knowledge of the diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
  • Adequate knowledge of preventive medicine.
  • Adequate knowledge of the hygiene and technology involved in the manufacture and marketing of feed or food of animal origin intended for human consumption.
  • Adequate knowledge of laws, regulations and administrative procedures named before.
  • Practical clinical experience and other character, under appropriate supervision.

Detailed Curriculum Bachelor of Veterinary Science

  • Detailed Curriculum:

    • ECTS by subject, semester distribution  and areas of knowledge: (pdf)  (Excel)
  •  Subject syllabuses:

    • Link to ULPGC Oficial Website, for syllabuses consult “Plan de Estudios – Asignatura – Proyectos docentes” (link, in Spanish)