Dr. Quinn, Veterinary Woman?

By Susan Aiello • Published: September 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

In the days of Dr. Quinn, women doctors were rare, and women veterinarians were even rarer.

Even in the mid-twentieth century, there were only about one- to two-hundred female veterinarians in the United States. Today, the nearly 50,000 female veterinarians outnumber their male counterparts, and nearly four out of five veterinary students are women.

Why the change? Many influences have likely played a part. Women now make up well over half of all college enrollments in the United States. Other factors include the trend toward decreased gender discrimination and an increasing number of female role models. Some attribute the draw of women to the caring image of veterinarians portrayed in books and on television.

Although large-animal practitioners are still mostly men, women have made significant inroads into providing veterinary care for horses, cattle and other farm animals.