Veterinary Nurse

South Africa is home to a wide spectrum of animals found in the wild, conservation and animal production contexts. Domestically, animals play a significant role culturally across South Africa and extensively support local livelihoods and some are kept and cared for as pets. Veterinarian science, supported by veterinary nursing, plays a key role in the responsible care, health promotion and management of all animals, across these multiple contexts.

Veterinary nurses care for animals undertreatment and assist in the performance of procedures and operations of ill or injured domestic, farm and wild animals. They prepare animals for surgery, administering injections as well as maintaining and sterilizing surgical equipment. They also provide support to both animals and caretakers pre- and postoperatively by monitoring for signs of infection or distress. Veterinary nurses can also provide advice about animal companion care, behaviour and breeding.

Veterinary nurses directly assist veterinarians in caring for animals and regularly interact with the carers of animals. They work long hours in examination or surgical rooms or even outdoors assisting wildlife veterinarians, for example. They can also be exposed to animals with different temperaments.


Veterinary nurses require technical knowledge and experience in the care and maintenance of a variety of animals. They will also benefit from:

  • Strong empathy and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent organisation and attention to detail
  • Ability to work effectively in a team
  • Good verbal and written communication skills


Conduct examinations of animals

Prepare animals for examination or treatment

Assist veterinarians with administering medicine, anaesthetics and oxygen

Monitor animal care recovery following surgery or other procedures


B.Vet.Nurs. at UP

Medical registration of veterinary nurses is a requirement for practice.


Private veterinary practices and hospitals.

Government veterinary providers.

NGOs, animal shelters and zoos.

Research institutions.

Wildlife rehabilitation centres.

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