I had the pleasure of interacting with a faculty member during my visit to KNP College of Veterinary Science in Shirwal, Maharashtra. This professor spoke about how people are unaware of the existence of Veterinary Science and how such an interesting course sees low enrolment.
Jared Diamond, in his book The Third Chimpanzee talks about how successfully domesticated animals played an important role in the conquest of the societies that failed to domesticate animals. Present day domestication of animals cannot be said to have as glorious a part to play in our societies as it did up until 1939. However, they still matter especially in an agricultural country like India, where livestock contributes to six per cent (approx.) of the Gross Domestic Product.
India has a rich history when it comes to veterinary science. The Pandava brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva are known for their contribution to the field of veterinary sciences. They are considered to be the first veterinarians of India who have also written some of the ancient Indian veterinary science texts.
Veterinary Science in Colleges
In India, a student can pursue a course in Veterinary Science after completing his schooling till twelfth standard. The subjects that he or she needs to study at the school level are Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB). And for courses like Dairy Engineering and Dairy Technology, the student needs to have a basic background of Mathematics as well. Furthermore, to get admission in a veterinary college, he or she needs to score a minimum of 50 per cent in PCB and also clear the entrance exam.
Veterinary colleges at the state level tend to have state domicile restrictions during the admission process. The Veterinary Council of India (VCI) conducts the All India Pre-Veterinary Test (AIPVT) in order to fill up 15 percent of the seats in each veterinary college of India. Similarly, many agriculture universities conduct state level exams for admission to various colleges of the state. The Indian Council for Agricultural Research conducts the All India Entrance Examination (AIEEA) for admission to bachelor’s and master’s degree programme in Agri and Allied sciences.
One of the top ranked veterinary universities in India is the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS). The seed for the establishment of TANUVAS was sown as early as 1876 when the Madras Veterinary College was started as an Agricultural School to offer a diploma and a certificate course in the field of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.
This institute attained the status of a college in the year 1903 and admitted 20 students for a three year diploma course.
Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (B.V.Sc & A.H.) runs for a duration of five years which includes six months of compulsory practical internship. The course broadly involves the study of animal anatomy and physiology, pathology and pharmacology, and the clinical study comprises of veterinary medicine, surgery, hygiene and pathology.
After completing five years of graduation, the students are equipped with a license to begin practising immediately. They can also opt to pursue a master’s degree (M.V.Sc) in subjects like Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Animal Biotechnology, Animal Economics, Feed and Fodder Technology, Obstratics and Gynaecology, Microbiology, Meat Science and Technology, Preventive Medicine, Surgery and Statistics and Toxicology.
Students Who Apply For the Course
When it comes to the students, it is often assumed that most of the students who enrol for this course come from rural areas. Because they think that veterinary training will assist them with their agriculture and livestock centric livelihoods back home. But that’s not true, as many students wish to pursue Veterinary Science for the love of the subject.
After getting the degree, a veterinarian can work in various sectors like the agriculture sector, government animal husbandry department, poultry farms, dairy farms, or in the private and government veterinary hospitals and clinics. They can also opt for a teaching career or work with the Armed Forces and the Border Security Forces to look after the mounted regiments, which have horses, dogs, camels and mules. Even the President of the Veterinary Council of India (VCI), Retired Lt. General Dr. Narayan Mohanty opted to work with the armed forces, and today he has achieved a high rank in the defence services.
That being said, even though there are endless possibilities out there, it is upto the student and what he wishes to do in his or her life.