A while ago I posted some experiences being a wildlife vet. I think it’s unfair if I exclude the experiences working at small animal practices. So today I’m sharing my experiences from small animal vet point of view. Here are 9 things you’ll likely experience if you’re a vet:
1. You accidentally mix patient’s name and owner’s name. Yes, it’s a very common mistake that every one of us do. Sometimes the pet’s name is easy to recognize as an animal name, such as Brownie, Fluffy, Princess, but most of times their names are very similar to someone’s names, such as Troy, Alice, Simon, etc.
2. You are not a pervert but you touch animal bums hundreds times a week, thousands times a month. Ewww… I know it sounds gross but admit it, taking your patient’s temperature is one of the most common exam you have to do on a daily (if not hourly) basis.
3. At first you might tremble when you do your first ever surgery, but as your skill improves after tens or hundreds of surgery, you now have a new hobby. Your itchy hands can’t stay away from scalpel and a day without surgery becomes a boring day.
4. When you see an animal with big protruding vein suddenly your mind says “What an easy vein to catheterize!” and when you see intact stray male dogs or cats your mind says “I’m gonna cut your balls!” I know for non vet readers it sounds crazy but trust me, it’s very normal for vets to say those things.
5. You become a detective, in some way. When you ask questions to your client regarding their pet’s health, don’t expect them to tell you the truth 100%. Instead, expect to play some detective game to see what they actually do to their pets.
6. You spend at least 6 years in vet school but ironically in your client’s mind your advice sometimes means nothing compared to those who come from pet shop owner. Moreover, your knowledge will be compared to Google, a LOT. Unfortunately a lot of misleading information is easily accessible from Google nowadays. Someone from engineer background writes an article about their own experience regarding their pet’s health and somehow it becomes a reference for your client to say your method is wrong.
7. You want the animals to be healthy, thus you are happy to see healthy animals, but hey life is a paradox. I know every vet has a favorite case and somehow you are glad to see an animal suffering from it. I have a friend who loves squeezing abscess and every time she has a patient who suffers from it she always exclaims happily “Yes, I love abscess!” I honestly don’t know which can make her happier: to see the animal heals quickly or to squeeze the pus every day for a month.
8. You are compassionate towards animals but have to be heartless sometimes. You love all your patients, but there are times when you have to put them in a deep peaceful sleep to end their pain. To say it personally, this is my weakest point.
9. There are quiet days, there are busy days. When you have no patients and have no work left to do, you complain about how boring your job is. Somehow someone hears you and within 3 minutes sends an emergency to your clinic. When you are busy scrubbing your hands for emergency surgery, another emergency comes in. Be careful of what you wish for.
Does anyone have interesting vet-related experience that you think we should know? It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced vet, a fresh graduated vet or even a future vet, you are more than welcome to share your experience by commenting below.