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Let's talk about being a vet!

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  • Let's talk about being a vet!

    I am a freshman in college and I am currently going for Equine Managment. Which I am very excited about. But I have always loved science (namely Biology) and I especially love learning the intricacies of how the horse works and what you do when a horse has this ailment, lameness, etc. I should be an equine vet! Right? But my school does not offer any sort of pre vet or vet tech programs, so I would need to transfer. And I know you have to go to school for 6-8 years! Personally, I am not so sure that I would not get burnt out after five!

    Anyways, my real question is for those equine vets, vet techs, or students on their way to becoming a vet or vet tech.
    Where are you going/where did you go?
    Would you recommend that school/program to others?
    Are there big scary tests you have to take like LSATs?
    Did you feel it gave you the knowledge you needed for the job?
    Did you ever feel burnt out?
    What would you have liked to know before you started?
    What is being a vet really like? Tell me the bad/good/awful/sad/gross!
    Any other advice/stories would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    You don't need a pre-vet program, so to speak to get into vet school. You just need to fulfill the prerequisites (which vary from school to school), but generally several years of chemistry (up through biochemistry), different types of biology, a stats or calc class, etc. Google several vet schools and you'll see their requirements.

    I applied to several different vet schools and got into Madison. Cool school.

    GRE is required to apply to vet school. I think some schools still accept the MCAT. I don't remember though.

    Vet tech...you don't need a bachelor's degree or that kind of education. Just need high school diploma and C's in your science classes in high school (at least for the local vet tech school).
    Semi Feral

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    • #3
      Vet: 4 years undergrad plus 4 years Vet School. 6 month to 2 year additional residency if you decide to specialize.

      It is an expensive career to get into - and the salary is not going to pay off those bills in two years. But - if it is what you love, go for it! Since you are a freshman I encourage you to take a variety of classes in a LOT of different areas - so you can 100% say "No, I do not want to be antropologist/socialworker/nurse/mathmatician etc"

      Comment


      • #4
        I am a vet tech, and worked at a Vet school. My answers to your questions--

        1)I worked at University of Georgia College of Vet Med in the Teaching Hospital. I did not go to school for Vet Tech, just worked my way up.

        2)I loved UGA, but it's a tough school to get into, and it is hardcore.

        3)Yes, to get into vet school, you need to take GRE. Vet tech programs are generally associates degrees offered by community colleges. All you need to get into those programs is a pulse.

        4)A good vet school will give you the knowledge to do a decent job as a general practitioner, but an internship is invaluable and highly recommended.

        5) YES! You will get burned out, but I'd get used to it if you want to work in the vet field. Medicine in any form is not an easy profession.

        6)That the pay for a long time (and forever if you are a tech) is crap. My Dr friends didn't start bringing in the big(ger) bucks until 3-5 years out of school.

        7)Being a vet is tough, it's a lot of paperwork and dealing with upset, angry, often underfunded people in a high pressure, high intensity environment. But it also gives you the opportunity to truly help people and their animals. You do deal with gross things like puss filled abscesses exploding in your face, a horse coughing reflux up the tube into your mouth, getting stepped on, bit kicked, crunched up against a wall. But you get the joy of a foal surviving a rough birth, or a show horse winning a class because you fixed his lameness issue. Highest highs and lowest lows are found in the vet med world.

        And you don't have to be in a pre-vet program to fulfill the entrance requirements for vet school. One of the vets I worked for has his BA in Shakespearean Studies, he just had to get the appropriate math/science reqs before applying!

        Vet tech programs do nothing to get you into vet school, it's essentially a trade degree.
        When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good for you for asking some smart questions! You absolutely do not need to be a pre-vet major to go to vet school. I went to a small liberal arts school and just made sure that I had taken all of the prerequisites for the schools to which I was applying (you can visit any vet school's website to see what the requirements for application are). That said, I was a Biology major so most of the pre-recs were included in my program, but I just made sure to pick up the ones that weren't as electives at some point in my college career.

          The undergraduate school you went to matters less than the grades you make on your prerequisites, the score you get on your GRE (some schools also accept the MCAT, but why you would put yourself through that over the GRE is beyond me), and your experience/recommendations. In fact for most vet schools, where you went to undergrad matters not at all. So if you like your current school and you see that it offers all of the prerequisite courses for vet school, there's no need to switch.

          One important piece of advice I have is to start gaining experience NOW. Most schools like to see 400+ hours of experience shadowing a vet, working in a vet clinic, or some other animal-related experience (volunteering at the zoo, working at a barn or kennel, etc) and you must document it all on your application. Being a vet means making a lifestyle choice that doesn't agree with everyone, and shadowing early and often will let you know if you're cut out for that lifestyle. Find a vet in your area that will let your ride around on weekends or afternoons, get a summer job as a vet tech or receptionist/kennel cleaner in a small animal hospital (even if you want to do large animal they like to see diverse experiences on your app)... generally put yourself out there to see if this is really the road you want to take. And DOCUMENT your hours. If you don't write it down, you will forget it and when it comes time to do applications your life will be that much harder.

          As for getting burned out- I'm going to say yes, it definitely happens (and I'm only a second year student!). As with any job though, it's all about balance and I think some people handle it better than others. You'll figure out what's right for you, but for me it's all about keeping things in perspective. I can't say I'm loving school right now, but I AM loving the fact that it's going to allow me to have the job I want in 3 more years .

          Good luck! If you have any more questions about the process as you go along, feel free to PM me.
          Balanced Care Equine

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          • #6
            Have you shadowed a vet, worked or volunteered at a vet clinic, so you can see what you will be doing for the rest of your life if you become a vet?

            They also will be the ones to explain in detail what you need to be accepted, which is not so easy.

            If you do decide to become a vet, check with the veterinary association, they right now have scholarships that will pay much of your tuition, as they are trying to get more students to become vets.
            Some states also have such programs, I know TX has one they are advertising for right now.

            Comment


            • #7
              I am a first year vet student, and I have to say I basically agree with everything Faybe said. I will come back later and post more, but I am trying as hard as I possibly can not to procrastinate for my test tomorrow, and you can see how well I'm doing! Anyway, Faybe is right on the mark (I just skimmed all of the posts so far). Good luck and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions; I'd be more than happy to talk to you about the process!
              Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Class of 2014

              Chance Encounter
              RIP Tall Tales

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                ...did not go to school for Vet Tech, just worked my way up.
                Fortunately, there are some states that require "vet techs" to be licensed and require that you have graduated from an AVMA-accredited VT program. You can find these programs here, http://www.avma.org/education/cvea/v...h_programs.asp. There are AS and BS programs available now, including distance learning.
                www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
                Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
                "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM

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                • #9
                  Vet student here.

                  I'm a vet student at Tufts and thought I'd help answer your questions!


                  Where are you going/where did you go?
                  I did my undergraduate at Mt Holyoke. There is no pre-vet major, as others have said. You need pre-requisite classes which vary from school to school but the core ones are biology and chemistry classes, with physics typically. I majored in Biology and minored in Chemisty. I am now a vet student at Tufts (class of 2014). I applied to only one vet school, which I don't recommend but it worked for me as I got in. I had a LOT of experience and I interview quite well. My grades were good, but not stellar, and my GRE scores were average.

                  Would you recommend that school/program to others?
                  I would not recommend Mt Holyoke. But I WOULD recommend Tufts.

                  Are there big scary tests you have to take like LSATs?
                  You have to take the GRE. Which actually isn't that bad if you test well!

                  Did you feel it gave you the knowledge you needed for the job?
                  Not sure if this applies to me yet, but I do feel like I am getting the education I will need to be a great vet.

                  Did you ever feel burnt out?
                  On school, for sure. But they mix in interesting classes too. And it's all what you make of it. I'm involved with fun clubs and go to rounds/hang on the farm/ do things to remind myself of why I'm going through this!

                  What would you have liked to know before you started?
                  I pretty much knew what I was getting into, but didn't BELIEVE it when people said vet school is a full time job. I have spent ALL DAY today studying. By that I mean I have left my desk 3x since 8 am. And I'll be here till about midnight. Go to class tomorrow and study till I'm exhausted. If I have "free time" I worry about how I should be studying.

                  What is being a vet really like? Tell me the bad/good/awful/sad/gross!
                  I'm not there yet...

                  Any other advice/stories would be greatly appreciated!

                  If you want to go to vet school, commit to it fully. Get a VARIETY of experiences. I've worked as a small and large animal tech, I did research on insect learning, I worked in a human ER, managed a few barns, and ran a dog daycare. Variety of experience helps.

                  If it's your dream, GO FOR IT!
                  As stressful as vet school is, the best part is that I have a feeling of contentedness. Because finally, I have found what truly "fits." When I'm working up a case or even just eating lunch outside the hospital and watching clients interact with their animals, a voice in my head says "Yes, yes, this is it."
                  If riding were all blue ribbons and bright lights, I would have quit long ago.
                  ~George Morris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MissCapitalSplash View Post
                    I'm a vet student at Tufts and thought I'd help answer your questions!


                    Where are you going/where did you go?
                    I did my undergraduate at Mt Holyoke. There is no pre-vet major, as others have said. You need pre-requisite classes which vary from school to school but the core ones are biology and chemistry classes, with physics typically. I majored in Biology and minored in Chemisty. I am now a vet student at Tufts (class of 2014). I applied to only one vet school, which I don't recommend but it worked for me as I got in. I had a LOT of experience and I interview quite well. My grades were good, but not stellar, and my GRE scores were average.

                    Would you recommend that school/program to others?
                    I would not recommend Mt Holyoke. But I WOULD recommend Tufts.

                    Are there big scary tests you have to take like LSATs?
                    You have to take the GRE. Which actually isn't that bad if you test well!

                    Did you feel it gave you the knowledge you needed for the job?
                    Not sure if this applies to me yet, but I do feel like I am getting the education I will need to be a great vet.

                    Did you ever feel burnt out?
                    On school, for sure. But they mix in interesting classes too. And it's all what you make of it. I'm involved with fun clubs and go to rounds/hang on the farm/ do things to remind myself of why I'm going through this!

                    What would you have liked to know before you started?
                    I pretty much knew what I was getting into, but didn't BELIEVE it when people said vet school is a full time job. I have spent ALL DAY today studying. By that I mean I have left my desk 3x since 8 am. And I'll be here till about midnight. Go to class tomorrow and study till I'm exhausted. If I have "free time" I worry about how I should be studying.

                    What is being a vet really like? Tell me the bad/good/awful/sad/gross!
                    I'm not there yet...

                    Any other advice/stories would be greatly appreciated!

                    If you want to go to vet school, commit to it fully. Get a VARIETY of experiences. I've worked as a small and large animal tech, I did research on insect learning, I worked in a human ER, managed a few barns, and ran a dog daycare. Variety of experience helps.

                    If it's your dream, GO FOR IT!
                    As stressful as vet school is, the best part is that I have a feeling of contentedness. Because finally, I have found what truly "fits." When I'm working up a case or even just eating lunch outside the hospital and watching clients interact with their animals, a voice in my head says "Yes, yes, this is it."
                    I bet you will make a great vet.
                    Lucky those animals that will have you for their doctor.

                    So will those that have also posted here they were in vet school.

                    Good luck to all of you.

                    I thought this I found while looking at that one book by a CO vet school first years student, that I didn't find, was very funny:

                    http://everything2.com/title/Adventu...%253A+Year+One

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                      I bet you will make a great vet.
                      Lucky those animals that will have you for their doctor.

                      So will those that have also posted here they were in vet school.

                      Good luck to all of you.
                      Thanks!
                      Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Class of 2014

                      Chance Encounter
                      RIP Tall Tales

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a student who is a small animal vet. She always wanted to be a vet, although originally planned on doing large animals...but a winter of helping with cows in Saskatchewan helped her decide that being a vet in a temperature controlled environment was definately better.

                        Now she wonders why she didn't study to be optometrist...or similar. Better hours and less shit (literally).
                        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by starrunner View Post

                          Vet tech...you don't need a bachelor's degree or that kind of education. Just need high school diploma and C's in your science classes in high school (at least for the local vet tech school).
                          That depends.
                          I teach in a vet tech program that offers both an AS and a BS degree.
                          If you want to sit the NVTE (licensing/certification exam), you need to have at least an AS (or will shortly--the window is closing on OJT test-takers). It's sort of like becoming an RN at this point.

                          As for vet school--you're right. You can major in anything you want, so long as you take the prerequisite courses and do well in them. One of my classmates was a psych major. (probably gives him an advantage in dealing with some of his clients... )
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, I'm a pre-vet student (going to be a junior next semester) and it seems like your questions have been pretty well answered, I just wanted to give you a link to a great resource (that you might know about already, but no harm in giving you the link anyway). It's a forum for pre-vet students and it's always very active with students in every phase of their attempt to get in to vet school.

                            http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=73
                            RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Another vet student here - I also attended an undergraduate college (Dartmouth) that did not offer any official "pre-vet" program; as someone said earlier, the important thing is just making sure you get all of the required courses completed. A useful resource is www.aavmc.org, where you can find a list of all of the required courses for every AAVMC-recognized vet school. Also, (repeating someone else again here), experience is key! Not only is it required to get into vet school, but it's a great way to make sure that this is really the kind of work you're interested in doing day in and day out before you spend so many years of school getting a DVM.

                              GREs are required for the majority of schools (they've pretty much phased out VCATs by now) - check to see if the schools you're interested in required just the general GRE or if they also want you to take any subject-specific GREs. The general GRE really isn't bad at all - they're basically a college-level SAT (math, verbal, writing).

                              Also, even if your college doesn't have a specific pre-vet or pre-health major, they should still hopefully have pre-health advisors (somewhere like the Career Advising Office) who you can talk to - you're probably not the very first person in history from that school to apply to vet school, so hopefully they have a little experience in helping future vets/doctors get through the process.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Interesting Ghazzu.

                                I have just seen in Wisconsin that the vet tech stuff here is an associates degree type work, no four year techs yet. Learn something new each day.
                                Semi Feral

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