🌟12 Things You Should Know about Veterinary Medicine


🌟12 Things You Should Know about Veterinary Medicine

To all the pet owners out there

I’ve recently received the certificate that says I’m officially a veterinarian. It’s been a wild ride, with many ups and downs. Here are 12 things I wish I knew before deciding to go to veterinary school to become a veterinarian.


1. It’s (a lot) harder than you think

There are really hard moments when you’re a veterinarian. Whether you’re treating the dog of someone who has nobody else in their life or treating a cat who has been sick for weeks and you still don’t know what’s wrong with him.

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I remember when we were euthanizing a cat one day that was severely sick and the owner said:


You guys have a really awful job.

Yes, sometimes it really feels that way.

Read also:  How to choose a vet

2. Study, study, study

People say that human doctors treat only one species while veterinarians treat all. It’s true, and that doesn’t happen without countless hours of studying. Veterinary school is tough, but it doesn’t get easier once you’re done. There’s a condition you’ve never seen before or new information on things you see every day.

3. Burnout is a serious issue

Veterinarians have a suicide rate that’s twice the one for human doctors and four times the general population. It’s a scary statistic, I know. But it’s important that people know burnout is rampant among veterinarians, especially in woman (but not only), and especially in the first years of career.

4. It’s not about working with animals, it’s about working with people

Most people go into veterinary medicine because they like animals and want to work with them.

Oh, how they’ll be disappointed.

Yes, you get to work with animals, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. The pet is your patient, and the owner is your client. To treat your patient, get your client’s agreement at all times. In short, get his trust. And trust me when I say that it’s usually easier said than done.

5. No two clients are the same

One day you get a client that tells you his pet is the only reason he’s still alive (yes, that happens), and the next you get a hunter who wants to euthanize his dog for something minor because he doesn’t want to pay for treatment (yes, that also happens).

6. Get ready for some funny stories

Like this lady who thought she was pregnant because her boobs were itchy. She took her dog to a park, and he got scabies, which she got as well. I’ve yet to meet a veterinarian who doesn’t have a handful of funny stories to tell.

7. Get ready to become a psychologist

People spill all their problems at the veterinarian’s appointment. When they have a strong bond with their pet, they want you to know how much they mean to them. And sometimes, that means telling you how their dog used to be their brother’s but after he passed, the rest of the family kept him and now he’s the only thing left of him.

One veterinarian that taught me the most had a psychology degree and I think that’s exactly why she was so good with the owners.

8. A lot of hours for little pay

Definitively not the degree you should choose if you’re looking to make good money. Not only it won’t give you good money, as it will also make you work long days, night shifts, holidays and weekends. Yey!

9. Money, money, money

Money is a constant topic when you’re a veterinarian. Get ready to hear the most annoying sentence veterinarians have to deal with all the time:

If you really loved animals, you would do it for free.

Yes, because everyone knows if you really love animals you don’t have to pay rent, food or anything else. Not. Does anyone go to the doctor and say that if they really loved people, they wouldn’t charge anything?

10. Social media makes it (really) complicated

One joy of social media is that anyone can go on a rant online about something that went wrong at an appointment or a surgery and blame you for it, while actually giving your name and the name of the practice you work for.

They’re usually proven wrong upon further investigation but the damage is already done. In the same way, having a Facebook page for a hospital or clinic means people can leave comments and reviews. The good ones feel good but the bad ones really ruin your day.

11. Veterinary medicine is not just clinical practice

It often seems like it, and I’m not helping with this article that mostly focuses on clinical practice. But veterinarians also work in zoological parks, slaughterhouses, supermarkets, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies, different areas of research, among others.

Read also: How I overcame fear of dogs

12. There are some incredible moments

Yes, there are a lot of hardships but then someone tells you your next appointment is with a puppy. And let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of jobs where you can spend some time with puppies and call it work.

There are a lot of funny moments (see #6) and it’s incredibly rewarding when everything works out in the end, the pet is doing okay and the owner is happy. Sometimes, the owner even brings you chocolate on Christmas. It might also be because he feels sorry you’re working on Christmas… but this is supposed to be a positive point, so forget I said that.

I know this article may sound a bit negative but I feel like the idea people have of veterinary medicine is miles away from what being a veterinarian is actually like.

I think anyone wanting to study veterinary medicine should have a good picture of what that’s actually like so there’s no disappointment.

If you know someone like that, please share this article.

Contributed by Ines May

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