It's a fabulous career choice, but it's not glamorous... Here are some reasons one should think twice before entering the messy world of vet med.
1. The mysterious aroma
Have you been in line at the grocery store and had people behind you move to the next aisle (which suspiciously has a longer line than the one you're in)? Then.... you realize it.... you stink. Anal glands on your shirt, pus in your hair, bodily fluids on your shoes - we're always covered in something and sometimes don't realize it until it's too late.
2. You cannot tell people what you do
Every time you tell someone what you do, they either a) say "Awwwwww!" and voice their jealousy over the fact that you play with puppies and kittens every day, b) ask you for an instant diagnosis on their dog/cat/rabbit/guinea pig's lump/limp/eye issue/skin rash/etc., or c) say "I could never do that, killing animals would make me so sad."
I know you're nodding and groaning at this right now, because it's SO DARN TRUE! Even better? If you do offer your educated opinion to those asking for advice, they won't listen. Ain't nobody got time for that! Best option: next time someone asks what you do for a living, just say you're an accountant.
3. You'll have a long-term relationship with your student loans
You want to break up but it just. Won't. Happen.
4. You will have a more-than-full house
No one thinks they're going to have THAT many pets. But then, you get attached to the one-eyed stray kitten and the 3 legged dog who needs a bed to call his own. Don't forget about the fosters you "forgot" to re-home. Don't get into vet med if you're not ready to take on a new batch of furry responsibility!
5. If you value your bladder or your stomach, stay away
Before you know it, it's 4 pm and you haven't taken a bathroom break yet. Healthy? No. Realistic? Yes. This also applies to lunch breaks - does sucking back yogurt with a tongue depressor count?
6. The appeal of certain breeds will diminish
After seeing so many medical cases, you'll begin to see a pattern. Lab = hip dysplasia, Westie = skin nightmare, Cavalier = heart disease. Whenever one of your friends tells you they got a puppy and you learn the breed, the first thing you'll think of is the health problems it'll have.
7. The injuries
Dog bites, cat bites, HAMSTER bites, bruises, scratches, mystery scars, joint issues, back pain. We could go on and on. Starting a career in veterinary medicine? Stock up on NSAIDS (for yourself).
8. Don't expect to talk about your day at the dinner table
Face it: nobody wants to hear about your awesome cuterebra retrieval over their plate of mashed potatoes. We're a weird bunch who are fascinated by some pretty gross stuff, and sometimes we forget that not everyone shares in our obsession with pus and other wonderful things we deal with in a day. Even if we stay away from the nasty stuff, things we find interesting just AREN'T to our family members. While we find a case of Addison's gripping, they're less than impressed.
9. Animal duties at home will be solely your own
You're the pro, right? Your ability to scoop poop and change a litter box with the best of 'em is really handy for the rest of your family. They'll rely on your expertise a little TOO much.
If you're not scared off yet, congrats! Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of veterinary medicine! Whatever you do, don't say we didn't warn you....
And now that you are here, you might want to know what NOT to do in this industry!
Special thanks to our vet tech friends Candace May and Kristin Pazdernik for their idea contributions to this post!