Retaining vets in farm practice has been identified as a key strategy tomaintain an adequately trained and experienced workforce to provideanimal health services for livestock enterprises and government. Thisqualitative study aimed to explore vets’ experiences of UK farm animalpractice and their perceptions of the factors that influenced their careerchoices. Thematic analysis of free-text survey responses from 187 vets working in farm practice and 141 who had given up farm work identified four main themes: affect (experiences of feeling or emotions), personal life, the job and the bigger picture. Those who stayed in farm practice described satisfaction with their career and enjoyment of physical,outdoor work in rural communities. Choosing to give up farm work was influenced by both personal and professional circumstances, and related frequently to management issues in practice. Veterinary businesses also face challenges from the broader agricultural and veterinary sectors which affect their ability to support and retain vets. The findings presented build on previous quantitative analysis of factors associated with retention, and demonstrate the complexity of individual vets’ career choices.