There are indications that motivation correlates with better performance for those studying veterinary medicine. To assess objectively whether motivation profiles influence both veterinary students' attitudes towards educational interventions and their academic success and whether changes in curriculum can affect students' motivation, there is need for an instrument that can provide a valid measurement of the strength of motivation for the study of veterinary medicine. Our objectives were to design and validate a questionnaire that can be used as a psychometric scale to capture the motivation profiles of veterinary students. Question items were obtained from semi-structured interviews with students and from a review of the relevant literature. Each item was scored on a 5-point scale. The preliminary instrument was trialed on a cohort of 450 students. Responses were subjected to reliability and principal component analysis. A 14-item scale was designed, within which two factors explained 53.4% of the variance among the items. The scale had good face, content, and construct validities as well as a good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha=.88).