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What is it like to be a veterinarian? What are some things that you wish that you knew before applying to vet school?

What is it like to be a veterinarian? What are some things that you wish that you knew before applying to vet school?

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Julie’s Answer

Hi Sarah! Waleed has some great points. For me, the most difficult part of the job is not humane euthanasia. When pets are suffering due to pain or another condition that is impacting their quality of life, I'm at peace with performing humane euthanasia for the pet and the owner. Communicating with pet owners and the long hours/ high stress of the job are the most difficult parts of being a vet for many of us. It's not unusual to work 10 to 12 hours without taking a break, and that means working through lunch. Many vets are burned out, and depression and suicide are serious issues impacting the profession, and these are things I didn't know until I became a vet. Luckily, we realize that there's a problem, and our national veterinary medical association and other groups are working to advocate for the mental health of vets.

If you do choose to become a vet, I highly encourage you to get a part time job working at vet clinic so you can see what's it's really like. There are many rewarding moments throughout every day, but it's definitely a challenging field.

Hope this helps!
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Waleed’s Answer

Hello, Sarah F.
1. Training to become a veterinarian takes almost as much time as becoming a human doctor, and it's just as involved.
2. Working with people is as much a part of this job as working with animals.
3. Putting down a pet is the most difficult part of the job, but it will become more bearable over time.
4. Some animals will be difficult to handle, but it's usually because they're scared.
5. Pet owners might get offended or won't always listen to your advice, and it can be frustrating.
6. Even when you don't work late, you'll be totally exhausted.
7. You won't always be working with kittens and puppies.
8. Being a pet owner will make you a better veterinarian.
9. It will be hard to separate your professional life from your personal life.
10. People will mistakenly think their expensive vet bill contributes to a high salary.
11. Not every pet owner will be able to do — or want to do — everything for their pet.
12. Preventative medicine is just as important for your pet as it is for you.
13. You'll be there for the pet from the beginning to the end, and you'll be there for the owner beyond that.

Good luck!!
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