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Do Vets Actually Enjoy Their Jobs?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by giles, 01.26.05.

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  1. giles

    giles Junior Member 5+ Year Member


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    Seems like the ones I've talked to fall into one of two camps: they either hate the job or think it's just OK. Hardly any seem to really enjoy it.

    And in some countries (such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand), vets have the highest suicide rate of any profession (surpassing dentists)

    I have been thinking of training to become a vet but it's starting to seem like a bad idea...
  2. verbal_kint

    verbal_kint Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Do you have the articles or reference that has those figures concerning suicide rates? I've never heard that.

    As far as I can tell from the clinic I work at, most of them enjoy what they do. Some have been doing it for a LONG time now. 20+ years. One vet used to do GP for a while, but now does ER at the clinic I work at. We're an ER clinic. Another couple of the vets are fairly fresh out of vet school. both did internships after graduating. I know one of them isn't super happy, but that's more so because she is single and has to work weekends. ER hours aren't the best for single people trying to date I guess.

    I know one vet really loves ER because it gives him more time with his family and his kids are young, so he can see them more than if he was working GP.

    Veterinary medicine isn't for everyone, so getting experience is really important. What I've learned in my experiences so far though is that veterinary medicine is very broad. It seems like there wouldn't be a problem for me to find something I enjoy within the field, and if I ever get bored, I could always try another aspect of the field. Do some GP, surgery, ER, management/policy govt job, etc.

    I will admit though that something I struggle with sometimes is whether I myself would find human medicine more fulfilling in that I'm helping people and not just someone's cat. Also, I question the economics of some procedures especially when you consider that a dog or cat doesn't live that long comparatively and maybe the money could be better spent elsewhere. For example, is treating a 10 year old dog with heart failure really worth it? It's not very realistic to think that an owner who would pay $5000 for their animal would be willing to instead use that on spaying cats and dogs or other causes, but it still makes me think. It's a general problem in health care in general though. Most of the money spent in human medicine is for the last five years of someone's life.

    but yeah, i'll leave it at that for now.
  3. giles

    giles Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Thanks for your comments, here are some references for the suicide rate. I'll see if I can find some others I have seen:

    New Zealand and Britain
    www.vets.org.nz/Publicat/Vets@Work/[email protected]
    Big document, relevant comment is:
    "a recent British study showed veterinarians have the highest suicide rate of all the professions"

    Selected comments:
    Compared to other professions, vets faced an increased risk of: Injury; Contracting an infection from sick animals; Occupational stress; Suicide, and a slightly increased risk of cancer .... Dr Fritschi said that the survey also showed that vets suffered significantly from occupation related stress. Initial analysis of answers to the psychological questions in the survey showed that about one third of vets were classified as suffering from ‘distress’ which is defined as a combination of anxiety and depression. This is indicative of a highly strained work force when compared to other occupation rates of between one fifth and a quarter.
    Dr Fritschi said there was evidence to suggest that the suicide rate among vets was high

    And one from Norway
    Psychological Medicine 2004, 34, 1-8. (www.legeforeningen.no/asset/23996/2/23996_2.pdf)
    "The highest suicide rate for the period as a whole [1960-2000] was among the male veterinarians "
  4. aphistis

    aphistis Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Attending Physician
    The dentist suicide thing is total bunk. It's been discredited through tons more research than the one faulty study that birthed the entire myth in the first place. I have nothing to contribute on the topic of veterinary suicide, but dentistry isn't much of a comparative benchmark.
  5. Jules1231

    Jules1231 Member 5+ Year Member

    My dad's a vet and my brother is in vet school now. I worked at his clinic my whole life (before I went to med school). He seems to enjoy it. There are many different ways to practice. You can be highly specialized or you can be like my dad and work in a small town and do everything. If you do decide to be a vet, don't rip people off like most vets do. My dad makes a great living without charging people an arm and a leg for surgeries etc. Have a great day.
  6. HeartSong

    HeartSong Okstate 2010 5+ Year Member

    Veterinary Student
    I've worked for one vet who hated her career, one who didn't like it much, and four who seemed to love their job.

    This is what I usually tell someone who asks if I think they should be a vet. If there is nothing in the world that you would rather do that be a vet no matter the cost, heartache, and work, then go for it . . . it will all be worth it in the end. However, if you are thinking about being a vet, then do something else, there's too much cost, heartache, and work for it to be worth it.

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