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ferral

member
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Dec 18, 2006
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  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi everyone,

Like a few other posters on this forum, I'm considering a switch from premed to prevet after being exposed to veterinary medicine through a friend who is a vet tech, and rekindling my absolute adoration for horses after years of being away from them due to finances/living in a big city.

I was just wondering what people's experience with this has been (being a horse lover and working as/with an equine veterinarian). I've read previous threads in which horse lovers have said they chose another field because they wanted to keep work and horses seperate or because they "couldn't look at another horse at the end of the day"

I see myself as more of a "horseperson" than as just a "rider". I used to work for trainers and breeders when I was younger and I've mucked my share of stalls. :p Today, my favorite part of taking riding lessons is hanging out with the horses afterwards and taking care of them. Maybe this distinction would make a difference in how happy a horse-lover/equine vet would be (?)

I know the obvious answer is to do ride-a-longs and shadow an equine vet, but currently I'm in school full time and working at a (human) hospital. So shadowing is going to have to wait a bit... in the meantime, any opinions on this?? :D thanks!!
 

Emio

Fudge Bane
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2007
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  1. Veterinarian
I see myself as more of a "horseperson" than as just a "rider". I used to work for trainers and breeders when I was younger and I've mucked my share of stalls. :p Today, my favorite part of taking riding lessons is hanging out with the horses afterwards and taking care of them. Maybe this distinction would make a difference in how happy a horse-lover/equine vet would be (?)
sounds like you got the basic idea down. i was about to launch into some type of rant distinguishing between true horsepeople and girls who want to spend their whole day with ponies, but i bet you already know that.

so anyway, i've done the whole bit as a lesson kid, horse owner, working student, farm manager/co-trainer, and decided to go into vet med instead of continuing as a trainer. it seemed the best way for me personally to combine the smell of manure with a little bit of anatomy and histology :laugh:. i cant imagine 'not wanting to look at another horse' at the end of the day, but i can imagine being too tired to keep a horse competition/hunting fit (although i know a vet that does).

and you must have initially chosen human medicine for a reason, so keep that in mind, i guess. it'll be a long, hard road, 8 years of professional school, but "follow your heart and nothing else."
 

Cheska

Monkey Power!
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Apr 29, 2006
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I've read previous threads in which horse lovers have said they chose another field because they wanted to keep work and horses seperate or because they "couldn't look at another horse at the end of the day"

I think my big concern would be not having the time to spend with your horse, not so much getting tired of being around horses period. I know a share of vets (not just equine or large animal) who just do not have the time to spend with their personal horses. Or maybe the better thing to say would be that they do not prioritize their time to be spent with their horses.

Of course I do know a SA anesthesiologist who rides her cutting horses competitively (she practices every morning before work) and another vet who rides endurance competitively. So if they can find the time, I am sure you could too if it is important enough.

Another point is- I work with cats and dogs all day, but that doesn't make me tired of seeing my pets when I get home

Good Luck!
 
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ferral

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Dec 18, 2006
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Thanks for the responses!! :)

... the smell of manure + anatomy and histology... that actually sounds pretty awesome.:p

I'm hearing a lot about the heavy time committment of being an equine vet... exactly how many hours/wk do equine vets tend to work?? :( I understand it probably varies considerably depending on what time of the year it is and what kind of practice you are in, but is there a general range? (I haven't really been able to find this info through web searches) Aren't there alternatives such as working in a multi-doctor practice where there are several docs to share call with? I'm coming from a premed perspective, so,I would probably consider a medical specialty requiring 50 hours a week to be a luxury/"lifestyle" specialty...

I'm into the 2nd semester of my junior year, so I have decided to take a year off after I graduate. The more I think about it and the more time I spend with horses and at human hospitals, the more I think I would be happier as an equine vet than a physician, but I have to get the medical experience to be sure. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could do to prepare myself/become employable as an equine vet tech?

Thanks everyone!!!
 

Emio

Fudge Bane
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Jan 12, 2007
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exactlyl how many hours? *shrugs* like you said, depends on area of the country, clientele, season, and ratio of doctors to patients. i actually don't have as much experience working with equine vets as i'm sure others here do, but one doctor i worked with worked a pretty steady 7-5 workweek. another doctor was nearly always at the hospital. as an underdog, i'd expect to be working and sleeping. thats it. but once you start climbing the ladder and gaining respect, you can make a schedule you like. for the most part ;)

in my, again limited, experience in central virginia, equine vet tech jobs aren't easy to get unless its a career choice. shadowing worked well for me while i worked full time, and i'm sure they always need barn help! just being in the vetmed atmosphere may be able to help a lot.
 

OceanAngel

NCSU c/o 2011
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May 15, 2006
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I really think, like many posting here, the life of a veterinarian is what you make it. I work for two very different equine vets working for the same practice. One has a champion dressage horse and does very well herself and spends anytime she can riding. The other couldn't even think of owning a horse both because of time and because she is so focused on her career that veterinary medicine is the only part of horse she can deal with right now. The major difference between these two is one is a younger vet and the other is the practice owner (the one who rides). They both work extremely hard, but have very different attitudes toward what they do. However, they both love it!
 
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