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What is the most difficult situation you’ve been faced with since you got in veterinary medicine? How did you handle it?

I am interested in pursuing a career in the veterinary field and want to have a good idea of what the day to day experience is like
#animals #veterinary


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Louise’s Answer

Yes! Everything that Courtney said. I'm also not a vet, but I worked as a vet assistant, and one thing I'll add is the difficulty of working with an unethical vet. I was in high school at the time, and I had a lot of respect for this vet because he was our family vet and he had given me a job! So when I saw him do violent and unethical things, I was shocked and overwhelmed, and I just didn't have the emotional capacity at the time to realize I should have stood up to him. I mean, this was the first official job I'd ever had!

Some of the things he did included punching a Rottweiler in the face for trying to bite him; stabbing a cat who had escaped from a cage numerous times with a broom (it was under a big cart of cages); and one of the worst: if I worked on Wednesdays, I had to remember to empty the freezer full of dead dogs & cats into the dumpster because the dumpster guys came early Thursday morning. These were peoples' precious pets the vet had promised to "respectfully take care of" for them. Needless to say, by the time I left, I had less than zero respect for that vet.

Something to consider if you think you might end up working in a clinic with multiple vets...

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Mary’s Answer

As a veterinarian, you are the advocate or representative for the animal and their care. You also need to be sensitive to the limitations of the owner. This might mean that they cannot always afford what you are recommending but you still do your very best for the animal. The difficult situations are when people expect you to help their animal for free and this is rarely possible because supplies and medicine cost us money too. Difficult situations in my experience have been more emotional or ethical rather than medical. As a veterinarian you need to stand by your ethics and maintain the oath you take on graduation.

Mary recommends the following next steps:

It helps to be creative to find compromises
Educate the owner about their pet and its care
Always keep learning so you have a lot of other techniques and ideas to draw from

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Courtney’s Answer

I'm not a Vet, but I interned at a Vet Clinic and here are some of the difficult things I witnesses:

  • people asking for their animal be euthanized because they can't afford surgery
  • people abandoning their animals at the vet clinic because they can't pay their bill

I guess everything that I consider to be difficult situations all concern money and a pet owners inability to pay for the needed treatment. Of course it's always hard to sit by a pet owner and watch them cry and their beloved pet is being euthanized.


Another hard part is resisting the desire to take every stray and abandoned animal that comes into the clinic, home with you.


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