If you’re considering a career in veterinary medicine, you’re in good company. Employment in the field is expected to increase faster than other jobs, with lots of great positions on the horizon as pet adoptions increase. However, just because you sincerely love animals doesn’t mean life as a veterinarian is necessarily right for you.
Have you ever worked with animals?
Veterinary schools look for a specific type of candidate, and since seats are limited, schools are picky about who they admit. The strongest applicants not only prove their excellent science skills throughout their undergraduate years, but also through volunteer experience with animal shelters, internships with scientists in clinics, work on a farm or stable, or other animal or medical related jobs or internships.
Are you a science nut?
Most veterinary programs require prerequisite course completion, so if you’re interested in veterinary medicine, the necessary level of study should be considered when choosing courses as an undergraduate. Candidates should have fantastic marks in chemistry, anatomy, math, and biology. If you’re looking for a simple job that doesn’t demand much of you, avoid veterinary medicine—it requires long years of intense study followed by a demanding career.
Are you prepared for daily challenges?
Some animals will visit for wellness checkups, but others will come to you with sad ailments or illnesses that require difficult treatment or even euthanization. This is never easy to cope with, but vets have to be strong to do a good job and honor the animal with whatever service is required.
Can you hold down a 90-pound dog for his shots?
Being a vet is emotionally draining, but it’s also physically challenging. Animals won’t always be willing to sit still and put up with shots or medicine, and vets have to not only try to keep these creatures calm, they have to be ready if animals want to escape or revolt. Vets need to be in top shape mentally, but also physically.
There have been lots of challenges on the road to opening LazyPaw Animal Hospitals, but it’s been an exciting journey that me and my wife and fellow veterinarian, Dr. Julaine Hunter, wouldn’t trade for anything. We love our jobs, we love our community, and we love being veterinarians!