Veterinary work overseas

Vet attending to a horse in Mongolia

Many vets express an interest in working overseas to expand their knowledge and expertise. We've collated some advice and guidance from vets who have worked overseas, in often challenging circumstances, to help you decide where you want to go and more importantly, be fully prepared. 

Before accepting a post overseas

Before accepting a post, we recommend you:

  • speak to someone who has done similar work - the Overseas Group can usually put you in touch with someone who has served as a volunteer which can be invaluable
  • try and get an independent assessment rather than relying on online research
  • check the credentials of the organisation you want to work with
  • familiarise yourself with the country you wish to visit, including its cultural traditions and languages(s)
  • make sure you have the necessary visa and insurance in place

See the Foreign Office travel advice for information on visas and other country requirements.

Guidance on working overseas

We asked the experts on the Overseas Group to provide some practical guidance on carrying out veterinary work overseas. 

Before you go

Medicines and equipment

Health and safety

You can also find contact details of embassies abroad and worldwide government organisations for the country you plan to visit.

Species specific advice

Visit the  World Organisation for Animal Health for information on animal diseases worldwide.

Experiences of working overseas

Living and earning overseas

GOV.UK provides practical information about living abroad including earning and paying tax. 

Prospects provides information on the job market, volunteering, visas and working conditions in a number of countries.

Applying for overseas work

The following websites offer information on animal welfare and veterinary projects abroad:

Alternatively you can search for paid overseas veterinary jobs on Vet Record Careers

Disaster management

Helping animals affected by a natural disaster is the purpose of the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS). Released in 2009 to improve the quality and professionalism of emergency livestock responses, LEGS outlines minimum standards in how to distribute animal feed, water, shelter and veterinary services, how best to destock flocks, and the right conditions for distributing livestock.

The aim of the resource is to develop a database of professionals to:

  • provide expertise and advice to governments and humanitarian agencies about appropriate veterinary disaster management interventions
  • support individual veterinarians involved in disaster work

Taking the lead: veterinary intervention in disaster relief

The role of the vet following conflict or disaster

Overseas Association and newsletter

The Overseas Association is an informal network of veterinary professionals who have an interest in overseas veterinary-related activities. You don't need to be a BVA member to join. We share knowledge and expertise, and provide support and advice.

Updates and notices are circulated to members by email and through a regular Overseas Newsletter.

View the latest  Overseas Newsletter - August 2015 (140 KB PDF)

The Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA) also produces regular newsletters for overseas vets which are available through the  CVA Facebook page.

Email helenac@bva.co.uk to find out more about the Overseas Association. 

Donating veterinary textbooks

We are no longer running our book scheme which distributed donated veterinary books and equipment around the world to under resourced institutes, charities or individuals.

If you would like to donate veterinary textbooks overseas you can try Books 2 Africa or the Worldwide Veterinary Service.

Veterinary text books are also available via the International Veterinary Information Service

  • Vet Record Careers discount on recruitment advertising