I had never met someone with a specialization in veterinary education before I met Prashant Shinde. I always assumed that for a career in veterinary, one needs to be an animal crusader ( blame the movies for stereotyping) with a fancy pet clinic treating pet animals. All such personal myths were busted and a completely new world was opened for me when I spoke to him.
Q.1 How did you come to know about the veterinary profession?
Being from a rural background and close to agriculture & dairy farming, I always wanted to be in this sector to improve the livelihood of the farmer community. Most of the villages (depending on population) have Govt. Veterinary Hospital & I was always fascinated by the work these Veterinary doctors were doing. This was the time I started to enquire more about future educational opportunities in Agriculture & Veterinary profession. I think the Vets whom I met early & my passion towards Dairy pushed me to this profession.
Q2. What kind of background check or research did you do while choosing veterinary as a career?
I had inquired about employability & opportunities after completion of graduation, years required to graduate, how hard was the course, how many colleges in Maharashtra, the location of colleges, fee structures, education opportunities after graduation, social status, etc.
Q3. What is the educational background required to choose veterinary as a profession?
HSC (10+2) education with Science background & recent qualification in MHCET would be the educational background required. There is also an All India CET conducted by ICAR for admission to Veterinary colleges for reserved seats in each college under ICAR program.
Q4. A few qualities that you think are important to excel in this field?
Compassion & love for working with animals, keen observer, good listener, excellent communicator, patient & calmness even under pressure situations should help excel in the field of veterinary.
Q5 . What does your current role entail?
Currently, I work with Cargill India in their Animal Nutrition business. My job is to work with dairy farmers, visiting dairy farms, observing management & feeding practices, advising farmers on changes in management practices & diets of cows for better productivity & profitability to farmers. It will come as a surprise to many on the way we look at the nutrition needs of the cow, which in many cases is even better than the diets for humans.
Q.6. What kind of specializations can a person do after a bachelor’s in Veterinary science?
Like Human Medicine, after bachelors degree, there are many areas for specialization broadly classified into clinical (Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology), non-clinical disciplines (Biochemistry & Physiology; Animal Nutrition, Microbiology; Pharmacology, Parasitology, Anatomy, Livestock Production Management, Animal Breeding & Genetics, Poultry Science, Extension, Veterinary Public Health, Livestock Product Technology). There is a spectrum of choices available for a fulfilling career.
Q7. Your thoughts for parents whose children seem keen to take veterinary as a profession.
This profession teaches humility & patience, provides learnings throughout the life, ensures there are new challenges to cater to every time, lot of employment opportunities like General Practitioner at own clinic; entrepreneur opportunities (eg starting own farming for dairy or poultry or processing plant); working in Corporates/ private companies (pharma, animal nutrition, R&D, vaccine production); Insurance & Banking sector; Central & State Government job as Professors, Veterinary Officers, Meat processing, Zoos, Army (Remount Veterinary Corps), Scientists, Stud farms, etc. If your child exhibits love and compassion for animals, this can be a career choice worth considering.
Q.8 Names of a few good colleges in India or what should one look for when choosing a college.
Top colleges in India – note: admission to colleges outside home state for both graduation & Postgraduation happen through entrance exam conducted by Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi. If selected under this program ICAR also provided decent fellowship.
–Mumbai Veterinary College, Mumbai
-Madras Veterinary College, Chennai
-Veterinary College Bangalore under KVAFSU,
-College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences under GB Pant Universtiy at Pantnagar Uttarakhand.
Apart from this Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI, Izatnagar, Bareilly, UP) is the premier institute in India for Veterinary Profession which has both graduate & post-graduate programs.
National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI, Karnal, Haryana) is the premier post-graduate institute for Dairy industry & non-clinical disciplines.
I never knew there was so much to explore in Veterinary Career opportunities. This was definitely an enlightening experience for me. When human-wild conflicts are at an all-time high, we need to focus on such career options which will be beneficial for both humans and animals.