Veterinarian Skills: Definition And Ways To Improve Them)

Updated 29 August 2023

Veterinarians are medical professionals who are responsible for diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of animals. They usually practise in animal hospitals or clinics and use their scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills to give care to pets, livestock or animals in zoos. Learning about a veterinarian's skills can help you understand them well and find success in this profession. In this article, we discuss what veterinarian skills are, review some examples of these skills, explore ways to help you improve them and share some steps to highlight them on your resume and during an interview.

What Are Veterinarian Skills?

Veterinarian skills are the traits and abilities that allow someone to provide medical care for animals. These professionals perform various duties, like acquiring and interpreting information about the illness of animals, devising a working diagnosis and creating an efficient treatment plan. They utilise their research skills to collect different treatment approaches and demonstrate analytical clinical reasoning to create treatment plans. Veterinarians are highly self-aware professionals who possess the ability to identify limitations of reasoning and resources. They use their medical science knowledge to perform various veterinary procedures and give post-procedural care to animals.

Highly patient and empathetic, veterinarians educate clients on the prevention and management of different behavioural problems that may affect their pets. A veterinarian's skill set equips them with the knowledge of how to diagnose problems, vaccinate animals, treat and dress wounds and perform surgeries. Their love for animals and aptitude in science and health care help them become a successful veterinarian who adapts to varied situations quickly and is adept at making evidence-based decisions. When you mention these skills in your resume, you are more likely to impress recruiters.

Related: 9 Skills To Include In A Cover Letter (With Examples)

Examples Of Veterinarian Skills

Below are some examples of skills of a veterinarian:

Scientific aptitude

Veterinarians have a robust scientific aptitude that they gain while pursuing their veterinary degrees. They have an aptitude for scientific subjects, like anatomy, pharmacology, osteology and chemistry. There are several other subjects they study to pass their courses and become a veterinarian. The scientific aptitude of these professionals enables them to conduct research, collect data and interpret it coherently.


Veterinarians possess excellent motor skills to perform a variety of procedures. Their dexterity with medical equipment helps them to treat injuries, perform complex surgeries or carry out dental procedures. Their motor skills enable them to keep their hands stable while making surgical incisions or using instruments and sutures. Sometimes, animals wake up during the operation and veterinarians are required to work quickly and still maintain dexterity.

Related: Hard Skills: Definition And Examples


For veterinarians, circumspection is required while examining or treating scared or stressed animals, as they may bite, scratch or kick them. They follow stringent safety procedures that help them prevent accidents at the workplace. These professionals are prudent, as they understand well the many warning signs present in animal behaviour. Their ability to follow safety procedures enables them to control difficult situations easily and treat themselves quickly in case an animal bites or scratches them.


One of the many requirements of becoming a good veterinarian is to have an affinity for animals, with which comes compassion. This emotion helps these professionals to understand what animals go through when they are ill. There are many people who consider their pets members of their family, so a veterinarian utilises their compassion to empathise with their clients. Since these professionals love animals, they are required to maintain their poise while explaining a pet's medical condition.

Related: Empathic Skills: Definition And Examples (With Tips)

Critical thinking

Veterinarians use critical thinking to stay resourceful and to have different approaches to situations. Sometimes, there are multiple procedures to treat a pet, but a veterinarian who thinks critically finds a treatment that best heals the animal. There may be instances where a veterinarian has to find a treatment for a challenging condition, so they use these skills and intelligently find out what exactly the medical condition is by analysing the symptoms.

Analytical skills

Veterinarians often use their analytical skills to examine animals and discover the root cause of their disease. They collect data and interpret it methodically to understand the ailment of an animal and find the best treatment for it. Analytical skills enable them to make keen observations. Based on this evaluation, they can determine what is distressing the animal. They also consider what clients tell them about the pet's existing conditions and analyse them to formulate a diagnosis.

Related: 14 Essential Critical Thinker Characteristics And Traits

Interpersonal skills

Veterinarians possess strong interpersonal skills that help them to simplify the medical terms for their clients and explain the procedure unambiguously. They utilise these skills to build relationships with clients and comfort them when their pet is not feeling well. With the help of these skills, they coherently explain the medication schedules to clients and also encourage them to give proper care to their pets. To efficiently do this, they create clear instructions for the clients and stay patient if they have doubts or questions.

Management skills

Many veterinarians have private clinics or laboratories. They employ their management skills to keep their facility organised and their staff productive. These professionals have many responsibilities, like recruiting other veterinarians, training staff, buying supplies and generating invoices. Apart from daily operations, they also manage the relationships with their clients to boost business. With management skills, they are able to work with databases, keep their computer's file system structured and manage different appointments.

Related: What Is Management? Definition, Functions And Levels

How To Improve Your Veterinary Skills

Below is a list of some steps you may follow to improve your veterinary skills:

1. Assess your skills

To improve your veterinary skills, first, assess your strengths and areas of weakness. This helps you to know your skill set better and work accordingly to improve it. An objective assessment of your skills is a beneficial way to evaluate your aptitude and identify your limitations. Prepare a list of these to help you develop a plan of action and work on the skills that you intend to improve.

2. Value feedback

Remain open to perspectives and value feedback to eliminate biases while assessing your skills. Ask your colleagues, friends and family members to give you their input on how you may improve your skills. Taking feedback is a rewarding exercise that helps you to discover novel viewpoints on your qualities and how you may gain new skills.

Related: What Is Self-Awareness? (And How To Become More Self-Aware)

3. Practise your skills

Practising regularly may help you to improve the skills that you already possess and gain new ones. Rehearsing them routinely helps to familiarise the many aspects of the skills you have. Such rehearsals enable you to apply your skills in the workplace efficiently. Your enhanced performance after improving your skills also gives you the motivation to achieve more.

4. Enrol in a course

There are several courses and training programmes that may help you to develop the skills required to be an efficient veterinarian. Depending on your schedule, you can consider pursuing a comprehensive skill development course or a short-term online programme. These courses are a great way to gain new skills and improve the existing ones, like analytics, management and problem-solving.

Related: What Are Examples Of Professionalism Skills?

Veterinary Skills In The Workplace

Here are some tips to help you apply your veterinary skills in the workplace:

  • Set objectives. Setting objectives helps you to forecast the many requirements of different tasks. When you strategically develop objectives, you perform efficiently and remain driven to complete more tasks.

  • Develop plans. Developing plans includes creating to-do lists, organising them and putting tasks in different categories to manage your work better. This enables you to realise what tasks require your immediate attention.

  • Make decisions. During a surgery, veterinarians may have to make crucial decisions to perform the operation successfully. When they make good judgements, they save the lives of animals and help them live healthy lives.

  • Be resourceful. Veterinarians read medical science journals and analyse lengthy research papers to perform better. When they are resourceful, they may find novel approaches to treatment or prescribe alternate medicinal products.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions And Examples

Ways To Highlight Your Veterinary Skills

Here are some ways to help you highlight your veterinary skills on your resume and cover letter and discuss them during a job interview:

Veterinary skills on your resume and cover letter

Use the many sections of your resume to highlight your veterinary skills and impress recruiters. For example, utilise the skills and work experience sections of the document to mention the skills you possess. To select the most relevant skills for your resume, review the job description for the veterinary position and scan for the words recruiters have repeated. These are the keywords that hiring organisations use to communicate what they seek in a candidate. Align your skills with these keywords and use specific examples to define these skills and how each skill helps you to accomplish different tasks.

Related: Veterinary Assistant Resume Samples (Plus Tips And Skills)

Veterinary skills during a job interview

You interact with hiring managers during job interviews, which is a splendid chance to discuss your skills verbally with them. These conversations help you to talk about situations where you apply your skills and how they help you to stay compassionate or find solutions to complex problems. Before appearing for a job interview, prepare some frequently asked interview questions and examples of how your skills helped you to succeed in past roles. You may also discuss with them the skills they have omitted.


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