diary of a future vet

The Truth About Pre-Vet

It’s coming to that time of year for the high school leavers where they find out what their future holds in terms of their education. Some will worked their butts off to try and get ensured entry into the veterinary course at their selected university. The sad reality is that many of those that have made this selection will not get in due to the ridiculously high score placed on the direct entry into vet. It’s a blow to the self-confidence just missing out on the required score and I say this from personal experience. However, getting into pre-vet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes and I have found that the way in which I entered the degree was probably the most beneficial for me.

The number of alternative pathways for the entry to veterinary science/medicine is what makes this course so great. Everyone has a different background. Some students have completed undergraduates, some are vet nurses, some are high school leavers and some even have kids (these people are incredible!). Each person has something different to offer whether it be life, academic or practical experience. The best thing is that the people that are there are there because they know what they are getting into and they love what the career has to offer, rather than just doing it because they are smart.

So while it may be easier getting in through pre-vet, it definitely isn’t the end of the world if you don’t. The truth is that no one remembers if you were pre-vet and no one judges you if you weren’t. As long as you get to where you want to be it really doesn’t matter the path you take to get there. If anything it builds character and makes you more prepared for the unavoidable, soul crushing situations that arise during your veterinary career.

Today I found out that I officially passed my second year of vet. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal. In fact, under normal circumstances I’d probably be disappointed that I hadn’t received straight HDs. This year though, it’s a miracle I made it.

Everybody knows how hard vet is. I thought it was the hardest thing I’d go through at my age but how wrong I was. At the beginning of this year I was diagnosed with stage 3 malignant metastatic cancer. I had several surgeries, numerous scans and have received a number of rounds of month-long chemotherapy treatments - all while I continued study. Lots of people told me to defer and a lot of people never thought I’d cope but I did. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how easy it was because it wasn’t. But I never handed an assignment in late and never used my illness as a way to get out of anything at all and in the end I got exactly where I wanted to be.

Times like these put studying vet into perspective. Right now it may be hard to see beyond the little vet school bubble but there is so much more to life than getting perfect grades and studying constantly. Be hard working and a genuinely good person and you will be an amazing vet, trust me. I’m not writing this so people feel sorry for me. I’m proving that no matter how hard things get you will always find a way to make it through for the things you love.

Watch on diaryofafuturevet.tumblr.com

Puppy farms are a huge issue within Australia and have been for a very long time all around the world. In such farms breeding bitches and males are faced with conditions including overcrowding, confinement, poor sanitation, indiscriminate breeding, poor facilities and the lack of basic care provided by breeders everyday of their lives.

The dogs are treated as production animals with the aim to maximize productivity and profit by the continuous breeding of bitches. Bitches, on average, breed twice a year and have an expected lifespan of 5 years under this pressure. Once they can no longer breed they are ‘disposed of’ in 'humane’ ways. The Victorian government are currently building legislation to stop the inhumane killing of bitches. However, humane to one may be disgusting to another and the legislation, while making progress, doesn’t clearly define the appropriate and humane ways in which to kill an animal ie taking the animal to a veterinarian for euthanasia.

As a member of society (regardless of my veterinary background) I am absolutely appalled to see these farms still around. It’s a horrible thought that any animal, particularly ones that provide us with so much joy, love and companionship, can suffer in such a way. These animals have no voice and it is really up to us to make a difference, of which every single one of us can.

Statistics show that 99% of pet shop puppies are sourced from such farms. By purchasing pet shop puppies we, as a society, are supporting the inhumane treatment and breeding of animals for out own enjoyment and companionship. When you buy a puppy, ask for breeding papers, for family blood lines. Check out the facilities that the puppies are kept in. If they are a proper breeders they will not hesitate to give you any information that you ask for.

The actions of the RSPCA and other proactive organisations (such as AA seen in the above video) have brought the issue of puppy farms to the forefront, effectively raising awareness of puppy farms and proposing legislation for the future. I am confident that, with the aid of the government, welfare for breeding dogs will be restored and man’s best friend will be able to carry out healthy, happy and full lives just as they were intended too.

It’s about that time again - the dreaded exam period. I hate exams, always have and probably always will. But while I’m just sitting exams to continue through my degree there are a lot of people sitting exams with the hopes that those grades will get them a place in this course. It’s kinda got me thinking about how hard I worked to get in. I’ve got to admit, I’ve realised from the enormous amount of study I have done this year that I didn’t work as hard as I could have. It was never that I didn’t care about not getting in it was more that I just hated what I was studying. I studied subjects like physics and english literature because I was considered to be smart not because I ever really wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I did well but I just never think I did as well as I potentially could have.

However, this year I have worked my butt off and I truly think it’s because I love what I’m studying (even though over this period I question numerous times daily why I did this to myself). I get up and I look forward to learning new things and when I get home I want to continue to learn. To me, that just speaks volumes. I may not be top of my class but neither were 90% of veterinarians that have graduated. Feeling this way just makes me realise that I am doing the right thing with my life and that fulfilling my aspirations in this field will make me the best version of me possible.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how you get to where you want. It doesn’t matter if it takes 2 years of 12 years. If you wake up every morning and hate what you’re studying then change. Don’t stick it out because you only have 2 years left or stay because it’s what your parents want you to do or if you’re just in it for the money. Don’t doubt yourself and just go for it. I can assure you, it’s all worth it in the end.

The Tumblr Vet Survey

Who are you, and what do you do? (picture optional)

I’m Caitlin and I’m a first year vet student from Australia :)
And this is my 5 year old Border Collie (and not to mention my best friend) Ecko! 

Describe your blog in 10 words or less?

The ‘humerus’, incredible and downright disgusting life of a future vet

Why do you have your blog?

To keep me motivated, possibly inspire the sneaky inner vet deep down in all of us and to document my time in vet school so I have something to look back on during the next few years and hopefully the rest of my life.

Why do/did you want to be a vet?

I love helping people, and I know that sounds silly and people always asked why I didn’t just try to do medicine but to me it makes perfect sense. People love animals more than anything in the world so what better way to help people than to help animals too! I also love the medical side of vet and the fact that you never stop learning. It’s such a rewarding career that can help a range of people and animals and it’s also something you can travel with and can change with your evolving lifestyle.

What is your ultimate career aim?

Particularly, I would like to work with Vets Beyond Borders or other organisations with the same aim to provide veterinary care to those that are less fortunate than ourselves.In addition though, I would like to be a well educated and highly respected vet in whatever field I choose (at the moment it’s firmly sitting in mixed animal practice) that has a good work life balance and still wakes up every morning as eager to work as when I begin my career.

Best experience so far?

When I finished high school, instead of going to a booze-fueled leavers, I went to East Timor to do aid work and teach English to communities outside of Dili. It was a seriously life changing experience. While I only helped out in a purely non-medical capacity, I was lucky enough to spend time with a doctor and medical student and see the impact they made on the community. Half the time it wasn’t even what they were doing medically but rather just what they were doing by simply being there. Animals are particularly important in these communities which is evident in terms of their livestock but also the extreme stray dog issue that they have. It got me thinking about how much of a difference I would be able to make with a degree like vet under my belt. I’m planning to go back and work with an Australian vet there that runs a clinic to help out the community at minimal costs which hopefully will be an incredible experience.

Grossest experience so far? 

Snailbait poisoning - enough said.

Who/what inspired you to start blogging?

I already had a personal blog but decided I was in serious need of one that would revolve around my vet experiences and sharing those with others. It’s also great to have a little vet blogging community to share tales and advice because ultimately we are all in the same boat!

Who would you like to answer this next?

Anyone that would like to share their story, veterinary or not :)

Somehow I’ve made it to study break without a single breakdown or too much of a lapse in motivation. It’s been a hard 6 weeks of writing out 200+ pages of anatomy notes (and that’s only 8 weeks of content), drawing anatomy mind maps and diagrams, and learning reflexes that are apparently not even taught correctly. I’ve sat my mid-semester exams and spent 14 hrs in a dissection room dissecting the superficial tendons and muscles of the forelimb manus of the pig, not to mention to copious amount of sticky white fat I’ve had to remove (safe to say I’ll be happy not to see a pig any time soon!). Nonetheless, I have survived. While it sucks at the time and while I question why I put myself through this on those late nights and early study mornings I realise just how much I do want this. It’s tough and I’m still here just chugging along trying to do the best I possibly can. In addition, I took my first bloods from a sheep the other week. So many first still to come including my first live rectal palpation coming up in the next few weeks!

kabiraaa-deactivated20140418  asked:

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog while doing a major stalking of Vet students on Tumblr! I'll be starting Vet School next year! Pretty excited and nervous at the same time. Any advice for a Freshie? :)

Firstly, congrats on getting into vet school!
There are a few things I’ve learnt over the past semester so hopefully they’re helpful for your transition :)

  1. You cannot get through vet school without having supportive friends around you (and if you can you must have emotions of steel). I am so happy that I got involved in as many social things as I could in the early stages of the semester such as Vet camp and Overall pub crawl which our student association organised for us. It’s such a laid back and comfortable way to meet people from all different year groups and make really positive connections.
  2. Attend all your lectures and labs. Don’t miss them, it’s way too hard to catch up and many of my friends can vouch for that!
  3. Ask for help, whether it be to do with academic stuff or you just feel a bit overwhelmed with it all. From my experience, everyone is super nice and really supportive (as well as super smart) so no one minds helping you out and I can assure you there will be a time when they will ask for your help.
  4. Finally, HAVE FUN! It’s pretty easy to lose sight of things with all the deadlines and study but don’t let study absolutely consume your life.

Hopefully they’re helpful little tips and it’s really good to be excited because vet school is really exciting and will probably be some of the best years of your life! :)

Today I performed my first rectal palpation

and while I was covered in cow faeces, smelt absolutely terrible and wasn’t even sure half the time what I was actually touching, I couldn’t help but think that I could get use to that kind of work. There’s really nothing more incredible than feeling a practically fully formed little calf inside these beautiful animals. Practical activities like that really make all the theory studying worth it. Can’t wait for more opportunities to get shoulder deep in faecal matter (and start to actually completely understand what I’m feeling)!

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This is Ecko, my five year old Border Collie. She’s my study buddy, my running buddy, my biggest distraction, my anatomy palpation buddy, my motivation and, most importantly, my absolute best friend. To say a dog is a man’s best friend is a complete understatement. I don’t think any human being will be able to read me and comfort me quite like she does. I love her to the moon and back and couldn’t imagine my life without her.

Ps. Yes, we get funny looks at the park with a name like that!

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Vet students aren’t particularly renowned for being the most social creatures. We’re a weird bunch and talk about ‘gross’ things at inappropriate times (lovely family dinners apparently aren’t appropriate) but if I’ve learnt anything this past semester it’s the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. No one will understand your journey more than your fellow students.

I’ve never been the most social creature, never had copious amount of friends and would pick a night in over a night out 9 out of 10 times but this semester I have met and made friends with some of the most amazing people ever. They’re all kind, smart and genuine people that will see me through the study all nighters, the foetal position meltdowns in the anatomy museum before exams, clinic rotations, and some of the most memorable moments of our lives. I couldn’t be happier with the bunch of friends I’ve made for the next 5 and hopefully the rest of my life!