Veterinarians who choose to specialize in small animal care are distinct from those who treat larger animals, particularly horses and livestock. The separation can seem somewhat arbitrary, however, as small animal veterinarians address the needs of countless species and breeds. While cats and dogs may comprise the majority of patients at the average small animal practice, birds, lizards, other reptiles, and various species of rodent are not uncommon, not to mention the countless exotic animals that may pass through a small animal veterinarian’s door at any time.
As one might imagine, small animal specialists receive broad and extensive medical training. The approach to helping an injured parakeet, for example, differs tremendously from how a veterinarian cares for a sick German shepherd. Some small animal veterinarians may even pursue further specialties to better address the needs of different species.