More struggles of veterinary medicine

1. Having plans after work and forgetting a change of clothes…and hoping febreeze will cover the weird smell.

2. Having your scrub bottoms creep down in a room while restraining and hoping it ends soon so that you don’t moon anyone.

3. Trying to decode the hieroglyphs that are doctor’s notes.

4. Getting the damm microscope lens to stay clean.

5. Is that a 1 or a 7? Looks like a 9 to me.

6. The scent of anal glands wafting off your scrubs as you eat lunch.

7. Your feet falling asleep during a prolonged restraint.

8. That one doctor that won’t turn away any appointment even routine ones when we are already overbooked and behind schedule and then like to squeeze in a few extra procedures, because why not?

9. Where the hell is my pen?

10. No seriously who stole my pen?

11. That dog just peed in my shoe didn’t they?

12. Can’t find that one damn hair in your bra that is stabbing you like a knife.

13. Blood under your finger nails that won’t scrub out and you start having a Lady Macbeth moment.

14. The doctor asking you a question just as they express that abscess.

15. Children in exam rooms.

16. Cleaning up vomit from an NPO dog the owner swears they didn’t feed.

17. Parvo precautions.

18. Having to provide your own lunch at the mandatory staff meeting.

19. Mandatory staff meetings scheduled on your day off.

20. Intubating a cat.

21. Forgetting to wash your hands before you pee and seeing if you can reach the faucet without getting up, then washing your hands again once finished. (This might just be me)


You know how much I love interesting pathologies… so naturally I had to share these photos with you guys!

This is a conjoined bat that was either stillborn or died at birth (as evidenced by the attached placenta)! They were discovered in southeastern Brazil in 2001 and researchers believe the twins are Neotropical fruit bats (Artibeus).

These photos were taken by Nadja L. Pinheiro, from Área de Embriologia, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro.

One of the Coolest (and Often Unknown) Aspects of Vet Med Is:

The sheer amount of variety in this profession. For instance, being a veterinarian, you can be: 

-> A general practitioner. 

-> A veterinarian working for the CDC to combat bio-terrorism. 

-> A researcher that works in a human hospital to make advances in human and animal health. 

-> An oncologist. 

-> A zoo and/or wildlife veterinarian.

-> A veterinary dentist. 

-> An anatomical pathologist that performs necropsies (autopsies) and analyzes and interprets tissue samples.  

-> An orthopedic surgeon.  

-> A state veterinarian who monitors foreign animal diseases and promotes public health.  

-> A veterinarian inspecting and keeping our meat and livestock products safe for human use and consumption 

-> A poultry veterinarian. 

-> A radiologist that interprets CT scans, MRIs, and radiographs (x-rays).

-> An equine surgeon.

-> An emergency and critical care specialist. 

-> A cardiologist. 

And the list goes on and on and on. The variety of this career continues to astound me, and I know wherever I end up, there will always be other doorway of opportunities available to me to advance my passion for vet med, and my career.

Story time

A horse came into the faculty for lameness evaluation back in the winter.

We take its blankets off.

It has the sentence “Will you merrie me?” clipped into its coat. Merrie in Dutch = mare and is pronounced something very very close to “marry”. The owner quickly turns some shade of red. 

I was like, why are you embarrassed, this is the single most amazing thing ever. I mean this is how I expect someone to propose to me now. It ruined me.


Owner had just purchased the dog from a breeder and was coming in to establish care and “check a wound on the neck”.
To get a better look at the wound the surrounding area was shaved since the dog had a very thick coat. A large area of extremely irritated skin was exposed with two large puncture holes.
It was found out that the breeder had told the owner about the wound and the breeder had been using a shock collar on her dogs at the property to keep their barking under control. The breeder was not worried about the wound, and sent the new owner home with a topical spray to take care of it.
I can only imagine that this collar was incredibly improperly placed, too tight, and used too often to create this sort of damage to the dog.

Please keep in mind your animal when using training tools and methods. They are not meant to be a permanent fix, and they’re certainly not supposed to cause this extent of damage.

what i learned during my second year of vet school
  • with good time management, anything is possible in your preclinical years. 
  • you can never know all the anatomy, all the parasites, and all the drugs. you just can’t. settle for learning common mechanisms of action and muscle groups and leave it at that. 
  • sometimes, a disease is just a disease. there’s not always an underlying condition or a welfare issue or an error in judgement. 
  • unlimited wine at christmas ball is a double-edged sword. when you’ve been both sides of the line (so to speak), you’ll understand what i mean.
  • dominos heals all wounds. tequila causes them. there is no deviation from this rule. 
  • exams shouldn’t become second-nature, no matter how old you are; continue to treat them with reverence and fear. 
  • go to the parties you’re asked to. make a good impression. be funny, witty, charming. don’t be a drunken idiot. and, if someone offers you a dildo, don’t take it. you don’t know where it’s been. 
  • go on your sports club tour while you still can. i can’t explain how much i regret not going this year, even though i went in first year. 
  • horses are always different from the norm.
  • related: anything that can go wrong will go wrong but only in horses.
  • related: colic is a symptom, not a condition. 
  • it’s possible to revise ten hours a day and still fit in five episodes of the office before you go to bed. but is it advisable? no. 
  • take the opportunities that come your way. i’ve had a scary, stressful, over-organised, and mega-busy year, but i wouldn’t change it for the world. 
On Failing in Vet School

We all know that vet school is very challenging, but this is what we signed up for when we decided to become veterinarians. You go in knowing that it will be difficult but you have the goal in front of you and you think that nothing will get in your way.

Then suddenly the unthinkable happens and you fail and your mind is thrown into chaos.

End of the fall semester, that is what happened to me. It was the end of finals, I was exhausted and stressed. I took the last final of the week, but I wasn’t expecting to get the grade back immediately. I had failed the final and failed the class. I had studied the material, I thought I knew the material, and yet I failed. I felt destroyed. I sat in the hallway in complete shock, trying to hold back tears unsuccessfully. I was lucky to have friends around me right then to help me deal with the immediate blow, but I still felt a pit in my stomach.

I went back to my apartment, packed clothes for break, and left as quickly as I could. I didn’t want to stay around town. I drove back home to my fiancee’s house where I would be spending break. I spent that first evening holding back tears while she tried to cheer me up and take my mind off of what had happened. I will tell you, it helps immensely to have the ones you love around you when something like this happens.

The following weeks involved telling family and friends what happened and how that would affect me. I hated having to tell the story over and over again, but I couldn’t bring myself to lie about it. But with the truth came even more support.

I began the remediation process once they sent me the email about it. I would be able to continue in the 3rd year but I would not immediately go into the 4th year clinicals. I would have to miss the first two block and pending passing the remediation exam for the class I didn’t pass, I would then start 4th year on the 3rd block. I get to walk with my class at graduation, but I have to do 2 more blocks after graduation.

So, when I came back to school, I worked my butt off in that second semester and even had one of the best semesters of my vet school experience. In hindsight, I suppose that was the easy part. The hard part was seeing my classmates go on while I had to wait.

It may seem beneficial to have 6 weeks off before the start of 4th year, but let me tell you, this has been the worst 6 weeks. Not because anything bad happened, but because when you have this much time spent studying and waiting to move on, you get this huge sense of doubt that hangs around you. If anything, this past 6 weeks made my depression and anxiety way worse. I went home a lot to be with my fiancee to get my mind off of what was happening because being at school while classmates were doing amazing things was terrible. I saw friends and family during this time and they helped me to feel so much better. 

With help, I pushed through, I studied, and prepared to take my test. And I passed with an A on the remediation exam. It is an unbelievable sense of relief to be able to finally move forward.

This brings me to the point of all of the this. Failing is never the end, but it isn’t easy either. They teach us a lot in vet school, but they never teach you how to deal with failing. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, here is my advice.

1.) Take a deep breath. This isn’t the end of the world even though I know it feels like it.

2.) Surround yourself with your friends and family. They will love you and care about you no matter what. Talk to them about how you are feeling and they will support you.

3.) If the stress, anxiety, and depression are hard to deal with, seek professional help. There is no shame in seeking the help of a psychiatrist/psychologist. It DOES NOT mean you are weak, it means you are human. 

4.) Remember that you got into vet school for a reason. You are amazing, smart, and your love for animals is going to take you into an amazing career.

Life has road bumps and sometimes you will fall down. But it is like they say, the failing isn’t in the falling down, the failure is not getting back up. Remember, you are not alone in this. Your friends, family, and classmates are all there to help you get back on your feet and give you the push you need to carry on. You will get there and you will be an amazing doctor.

On Monday I officially start 4th year, and i couldn’t be happier.

- Future Doctor

I wanted to share a personal story today.

I had JUST clocked off a miserable shift, and was heading to my favourite store for a treat which is completely the opposite way of home.

I see this boxer mix (back seat) panicking and running down the middle of a very busy street towards a busier intersection. I pull over and grab some canned food and a slip leash from my car and I’m able to get her off the busy road and down a residential road. She’s terrified, barking at me, and backing away.

FINALLY- after much persuasion, and a scary slip leash move from me, I had her restrained and was able to get her to my car.
I took her back to my clinic (at this point she is all kisses) and scanned her.

Found her microchip.

It was actually registered.

Called dad.

Reunited less that 20 minutes later……..

She had slipped away from home while her parents quickly ran to the store.


Step one! Microchip your animals.
Step two! REGISTER the dang chip! You have no idea how many chips I scan, only to look up the number and it has no information tied to it- rendering it useless.

Step three! (Mandatory) Give you pets a big ol kiss right this second.

I just left my first job as a veterinarian after five years. It was time to leave, between the long commute and having found a better salary and benefits elsewhere. But I’ve truly learned and seen so much here.

I’ve saved so many pets from ailments big and small. I’ve helped many pets go gently from this world. I’ve laughed a lot at anal glands and silly pet faces and gross lesions and funny smells, and I’ve cried enormously at pets whose time had come, at mistakes I’ve made and grown from, at the life circumstances of some of the people who’ve loved their pets. I’ve had by far more kind and compassionate and funny clients than I have rude or entitled ones; far more adorable, playful, or snuggly patients than aggressive ones. I’ve learned how to extract teeth, how to ultrasound, how to come up with efficient treatment plans and how to communicate. I know I will do well wherever I go, and judging by my sendoff – I was caught in a snowstorm of gratitude with cards, hugs, gifts and tears – I know I will make connections with people and their pets, and there’s nothing more gratifying than that.

I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan to; it just doesn’t feel right for me. But my “children” and family are the pets I care for through thick and thin, the staff and coworkers who help me do it, the people I teach about veterinary medicine, and the pet owners who I’ve made a true connection with, forged with laughter, tears, and compassion. I’m quite grateful to put my care and love into them, and I think they are too :)


finished my second jumbo rat articulation! the skeleton is displayed on a cut of birch and decorated with fake lichen and real dried flowers. some of the smaller bones of the front feet were scattered when the skeleton was being beetle cleaned, but apart from that is it mostly intact.

this articulation is for sale within the US! i’m offering a discount to purchase directly from me for $70 shipped, or those interested can wait for it to be listed on our etsy shop for $80 plus shipping. i can also find a display case for it if so desired.

Can’t Afford the Vet?

You have probably heard the phrase “if you can’t afford the vet, you can’t afford the pet” and it is true to a degree. Pet ownership doesn’t stop after the purchase of the animal and it is my personal opinion that getting a pet when you know you cannot afford vet care is selfish.

There are of course many people who fully intend on taking their pet to the vet but life happens: they lose their job, family members get sick, the pet gets hit by a car, etc. What do these people do? The absolute best thing to do is be prepared as much as possible. Get pet insurance! For something like $25 a month you can get your pet insured and it will cover most illnesses and accidents. Get a savings account. Put money away every month, as much as you can afford and use it only for vet visits. If your dog gets hit by a car or needs emergency surgery it can easily cost $5,000.00 so try to have that much in savings ready to go.

Go see the vet at least yearly. I cannot stress enough how much preventative care does exactly that: prevents illnesses. I have caught heart disease, cancer, retinal disease and more just doing annual exams. The owners had no idea their pet was ill. By taking care of these things before they got worse these owners saved thousands of dollars. Vaccines are important too, especially for puppies and kittens. A parvo vaccine may be $20, treating parvo can cost into the thousands.

Understand that you don’t have to do everything your vet recommends, but also understand the repercussions of declining. For me personally, I cannot sleep at night knowing I didn’t offer every single pet owner the very best care. Who am I to judge what people can afford? On a more selfish level, if I didn’t offer the best care and a pet died or became ill and the owner filed a board complaint, I could be fined or even lose my license.  This is true for all vets. So please understand we must offer the best care and at least give you the chance to understand what you are declining. If you do decline testing or medication, understand that this limits what we can do for you. I had an owner decline testing a lump on his cat but he became very angry when I couldn’t tell him what the lump was. We offer tests for a reason. Also understand that sometimes if you decline care your only option is euthanasia. People do not like it when vets suggest euthanasia but sometimes this truly is the only other option. It isn’t right to send an animal home to die a slow and painful death simply because the owner cannot afford treatment but refuses to do the right thing and euthanize.

Also understand that wasting time on Google and pet care forums wastes precious time and money. I can cite numerous cases where an owner spent months or more researching and trying things on their own and it was something a vet could have fixed in a single visit. By the time the pet comes to us it is too late. By all means get care advice from other trustworthy sources but if an animal is ill, the internet is not your friend.

I know that there are those out there that will say they cannot put anything in savings, they cannot afford pet insurance, and they cannot even afford basic vaccines. To you I say, don’t get a pet. It just isn’t right to take a living thing into your home knowing you cannot provide it the care it needs. If you want that connection with an animal go volunteer at a shelter and walk dogs, babysit friends pets, there are lots of other ways to have animals in your life without owning one.