A large animal veterinarian is a veterinarian who is licensed to treat livestock, such as horses, cattle, and pigs. In the US, large animal vets earn close to $83,000 per year, a bit lower than the US dollar equivalency in Australia where annual salaries for large animal vets average about AU$111,000 ($85,425 USD). Annual pay is similar in New Zealand and Canada at NZ$93,000 ($65,989 USD) and C$80,000 ($63,674 USD), respectively, followed by the UK at £42,000 ($50,902 USD), South Africa at R486,000 ($39,306 USD), and India at Rs489,000 ($7,661 USD). The wide variance in earnings for large animal vets comes as the result of differences in geographic region, work experience, and employment setting. Additional details about the large animal vet salary and career are provided in this guide.
How Much Does a Large Animal Vet Make per Year?
The chart below provides earning data for large animal vets worldwide.
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Factors that Influence the Large Animal Vet Salary
Earning potential for wildlife veterinarians is heavily influenced by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting. Details on compensation packages and career insight are found in this guide for wildlife veterinarians in select countries worldwide.
1. Geographic Area
Large Animal Vet Salary in US
Large animal vets in the US receive an annual base salary of nearly $83,000, and an additional $1,400 can be earned through bonus pay. Early career large animal vets see annual pay that can reach close to $59,000 while senior level professionals receive well over $102,000 per year.
Large Animal Vet Salary in Canada
In Canada, large animal vets see annual pay that tops C$80,000, plus nearly C$1,400 in additional bonus income incentives. Those with up to three years’ experience earn about C$57,000 per year, increasing steadily with experience to well over C$99,000 annually upon reaching the senior level.
Large Animal Vet Salary in UK
Large animal vets in the UK receive an annual compensation of more than £42,000 in base salary plus more than £700 in additional bonus income. As an entry level large animal vet, the average salary is about £30,000 per year compared to nearly £53,000 annually for their senior level colleagues.
Large Animal Vet Salary in Australia
The average annual compensation in Australia for large animal vets can reach AU$111,000, and there is potential to boost overall earnings another AU$1,900 through bonus incentives. Early career large animal vets with up to three years’ experience earn well over AU$78,000 per year while annual earnings for senior level professionals exceeds AU$137,000.
Large Animal Vet Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, large animal vets earn about NZ$93,000 in annual base salary and an additional NZ$1,600 in bonus pay. On average, entry level pay for large animal vets beginning their careers is close to NZ$66,000 annually, increasing to well over NZ$115,000 per year for senior level employment.
Large Animal Vet Salary in India
A large animal vet in India can expect an average annual salary of about Rs489,000 while bonus pay can add another Rs8,300 to overall earnings. Early career large animal vets earn close to Rs352,000 per year compared to Rs616,000 annually for senior level professionals.
Large Animal Vet Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, large animal vets receive annual base pay that is well over R486,000, and another R8,300 is possible in bonus income. Those early in their careers can expect an average entry level salary that tops R347,000 per year while those with the most experience at the senior level can see annual earnings of nearly R608,000.
Over the course of one’s career as a large animal vet, earnings can steadily increase with experience. Worldwide, the difference between entry level and senior level pay is between 73% and 77%. The country with the greatest increase is the UK where senior level professionals earn about £23,000 more than their entry level counterparts, an increase of 77%. While the US has some of the highest salaries for this career field, income growth is a bit smaller at 73%, representing a yearly salary difference of $43,000 for senior level pay versus entry level pay. The two countries with the lowest salaries, India and South Africa, both experience a 75% rise in annual earnings for those with the most experience.
Most large animal vets work in private practice, either as a solo practitioner or as part of a group practice. Others may work in research laboratories, universities, or food health inspectors as a large food supply comes from livestock. Those who are employed in the public sector may see fewer opportunities for bonus pay compared to the private sector while those who are self-employed professionals are typically responsible for their own earnings as part of their business.
Large animal vets typically work full-time, though some may carry part-time hours as they transition to retirement. The typical working hours are Monday through Friday during normal business hours with on-call responsibilities necessary to accommodate emergencies in the evenings, weekends, and even holidays. Occasional travel to may be necessary, particularly for those who work as health inspectors or in research.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Large animal vets often receive benefits packages providing healthcare coverage, paid time, and reimbursement for travel expenses. Some employers also provide bonus incentives, but this pay does not typically add significantly to overall earnings. Part-time employees may be ineligible for benefits and bonus packages and self-employed professionals are typically responsible for these expenses.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a growth rate of 18% is expected between 2016 and 2026 for veterinarians, including those working as large animal vets. To work as a large animal vet, a bachelor’s degree is required, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, which can take approximately seven to eight years to complete. It also is necessary to successfully pass a licensing exam.
Large animal vets endure many years of education and training, yet are well compensated with solid salaries, bonus potential, and benefits packages. Most work in private practice and hold full-time schedules. A much faster than average growth rate is expected in this career field, which should support earnings and provide sufficient employment opportunities.