Veterinary Nurse

Help care for animals under the guidance of a Veterinarian.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$21,000 – $44,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Veterinary Nurses do?

A Veterinary Nurse works under the guidance of a licensed Veterinarian to provide basic medical care to animals. Veterinary Nurses are a lot like Nurses to humans, except their patients are hairier and wag their tails in the middle of appointments. You shouldn’t be afraid to get dirty, since typical days as a Veterinary Nurse will find you on your hands and knees scrubbing floors and cages, and prepping patients for surgery. Your duties also include restraining sick animals when necessary, performing physical evaluations, and testing blood for problems like heartworms.

You often see animals before the Vet does. In routine cases, you weigh them, take their vitals, vaccinate them, and send them on their way. When a pet has to stay overnight for surgery, you are responsible for its care. You make sure it gets the right medication and the recovery goes smoothly.

Caring for four-legged friends requires a steadfast love for animals, which you have in spades. It can get messy (those litter boxes don’t clean themselves), hectic (Fluffy ate what?), and heartbreaking (every animal crosses the rainbow bridge eventually). But ultimately, the job is rewarding because most animals that go into your care come out happier and healthier.

Communication skills are also vitally important, particularly when you have to deliver bad news. So what if the poodle weighs 13 pounds and resembles a barking mop? To his owner, he’s her child. If you have to tell her he has an untreatable disease, be prepared to offer your shoulder to cry on and a compassionate heart to help her determine the next step.

Should I be a Veterinary Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Veterinary X-Ray Operator

    How to become a Veterinary Nurse

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