In South Dakota, we love our pets whether they have four legs, two legs, no legs, feathers, or gills.

They are an important part of our families.

Just as important is finding just the right person to take care of our pets when they get sick or when it's time for preventative care so they don't.

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As it turns out, in the Mount Rushmore State we've got plenty of those good people to choose from.

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Dakota leads the nation in the number of veterinarians per capita.

With 430 employed across the state as of May 2020, the 1.05 vets per 100,000 people outpaces Montana (1.02), New Hampshire (1.00), Maine (0.96), and Vermont (0.94) in the top five.

Despite having the highest concentration in America, veterinarians in South Dakota have the fifth-lowest median wage ($87,420) behind only Oklahoma,($79,130), Montana ($81,940), Nebraska, ($85,880), and New Mexico ($86,560).

South Dakota's big per capita numbers for vets are being driven by the eastern half of the state.

The area east of the Missouri River, excluding the Sioux Falls metro area, employs 190 of South Dakota's 430 vets - 1.49 per 100,000 - which is tops in the country for nonmetropolitan areas.

The median salary is $81,390.

The western half of the state is second nationally with 1.45 vets per 100,000 people west of the Missouri River, excluding the Rapid City metro area.

The median salary is $102,230.

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