The Special Features of The Veterinary Profession in Finland

There are about 2800 veterinarians in Finland (January 2019) retiered veterinarians are included. Of these, a bit more than 400 work as municipal veterinarians and local veterinary officers. The municipal veterinarian deals not only with the traditional veterinary tasks but also with governmental duties, e.g. food hygiene in a larger extent than ever and also animal welfare.

The Finnish state employs approximately 190 veterinarians. This number includes veterinarians working at the Finnish Food Authority, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki and the central government run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

There are approximately 500 private practitioners in Finland. The private practitioners work almost exclusively in the small animal or equine business, with only a few working full time with production animals and herd health.

Previously, the municipal veterinarians treated all animals, large and small. The first private clinics in Helsinki were established only in the 1970's. There are now more than 220 private clinics in Finland and two corporate chains. 

Some 70 new licentiates of veterinary medicine graduate each year from the University of Helsinki. Most of the younger veterinarians are female; more than 60% of the profession is now female. There are also about 130 Finns studying veterinary medicine in Tartu, Estonia, at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Eesti Maaulikool.

There has been a long-lasting shortage of veterinarians in some areas of Finland. The situation has been getting worse during 2020 and 2021. At the moment there seems to be a serious lack of veterinarians in nearly all fields of veterinary work.

The remaining veterinarians work within the industry sector, in other than veterinary fields or are simply retired.