Laboratory Animal Medicine (LAM) is a unique area of veterinary medicine that, unlike most specialties, doesn't have a human medicine counterpart. Take a look at these awesome reasons to consider specializing in laboratory animal medicine:
Species variety- Options to work with a variety of species including rodents, rabbits, cats, dogs, livestock, fish, invertebrates, non-human primates, and more!
Brilliant colleagues- Work with people from MD, PhD, MPH, and DVM backgrounds conducting research in university, government, and private research institutions. Additionally, other clinicians that may work with laboratory animal veterinarians are veterinary behaviorists and veterinary pathologists.
Stimulating work environment- Practice population health as well as individualized medicine, access advanced diagnostic equipment, work indoors and outdoors, be surrounded by brilliant colleagues!
No worry about owner compliance- The institution and/or principal investigator (PI) budgets to comply with veterinary care.
Contribution to animal welfare- Many of the LAM veterinarians I have met say that they feel like they protecting animal welfare more than they ever did in small animal practice. As the LAM vet, you are literally hired to to ensure the health and welfare of the institution's lab animals. If you deem an animal to be actively suffering you have the authorization to order humane euthanasia, removal from the investigation, change to protocol, hospitalization, other treatment, etc.
High salary- Laboratory animal veterinarians are one of the veterinary profession's leaders in annual income with a total package (benefits+salary) of 150K to over 200K annually. Non-boarded LAM vets make less than boarded specialists (DACLAM), and LAM vets who work in pharma, contract research organizations, and other private industries tend to earn more than those who work for government institutions or universities.
Contribution to human and animal health- Working in laboratory animal medicine allows you to participate in the approval of pharmaceuticals, medical techniques, and medical equipment, for both animals and humans.
High job satisfaction- With all the reasons outlined above, it's easy to see why laboratory animal veterinarians love their job!