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Dilemma: What to do?

Herpeto

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    This past year I applied to both medical school and veterinary school. I now have the tough choice of selecting one as a career. I am trying to attain as much information about the constraints and pro and cons of each. I figure everyone here would have some idea as to the human side. To become a veterinary surgeon I will have to finish four years of schools, 1-year general internship, 1-year surgery internship and a three-year residency. This means it will be about the same time commitment as human surgery.

    I am wondering which is easier to raise a family under. Considering I am now 27 and I will be about 37 by the time I finish a residency for general surgery, I will most likely have to procreate while finishing my residency. How logistical is this? What is the average malpractice insurance rate for general surgeons? I have also heard that most practices look down on partners who don't work at least 60 hours a week, is this true? What is the average take-home salary for a general surgeon after malpractice and taxes? I assume you work 80 hours a week throughout the entire residency. Is it easier to attain a residency spot because so many doctors are competing for the Derm. and Rad. spots? Do you have to be at the top of your class to land a surgery residency? It would also be great to hear and other pros and cons that I didn't cover.

    Herp
     

    bewitched1081

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      talk to a couple of vets. unless you really love vet medicine, then i suggest that you dont go into it. you get paid a lot less because people are not willing to pay as much for their pets' lives as they are their own. but the work, i heard, is just as demanding.
       

      Megalofyia

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        Have you been accepted to a vetrinary school already?

        Have you worked with a vet as a vet tech or anything?

        I personally would prefer human medicine but I have never considered being a vet. Althought I was a vet tech for 2 years.

        I know the vets I worked with had a high level of job satisfaction and they would never change it. However, they wouldn't even take a second look at human medicien. They knew from the time they entered college that they LOVED dealing with animals.

        I know the head vet made quite a bit of money that would be competative with any MD specialists but that had to do with how he ran his office.

        Vets don't have the same malpractice issues to deal with. They can make quite a bit of money. They have better hours.

        Their patients can't EXACTLY talk so it makes it a little bit harder sometimes to diagnose and treat. On the other hand this sometimes helps. ;)

        Their patients have sharp teeth, and get nasty things in their fur like fleas and worse, maggots.
        If you don't actually like animals it would kind of such to have to be around smelly creatures everyday.
         
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        Herpeto

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          I have always loved animals. Ever since I was young I wanted to be a herpetologist or wildlife biologist. However, I was raised with a firm belief that it is more important to work in a career that will provide the financial stability to do what one wants in life. Money and security are ingrained to be very important. And I now understand why it is important to have financial stability. For me, saving as much as possibly can and planning for retirement brings contentment. I hate spending money and despise non-functional material possessions.

          Mega,
          I was just accepted to vet school about a week ago. I volunteered at an animal clinic, but quickly quit that after realizing how boring it was. If I do choose vet med then I will definitely specialize as that will bring me the necessary satisfaction. I have done extensive research with animals and have extensive graduate work.

          Herp
           

          skypilot

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            Originally posted by Herpeto
            However, I was raised with a firm belief that it is more important to work in a career that will provide the financial stability to do what one wants in life.

            The only thing I would caution with this is it is even more valuable to really enjoy your career than to make boatloads of money. Money will not be enough to compensate you for 80 hours of work per week if you are miserable doing that work. It will color your whole life if you don't enjoy what you are doing. So choose your specialty carefully whether it is in medicine or in veterinary medicine.
             
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            ForensicPath

              Originally posted by Megalofyia

              Their patients have sharp teeth, and get nasty things in their fur like fleas and worse, maggots.
              If you don't actually like animals it would kind of such to have to be around smelly creatures everyday.

              This is not just restricted to non-human animals.
               

              Quixotic

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                It sounds like you have a good handle on your spending habits. And if money is a motivating factor then you don't necessarily have to enjoy your job. Think about it. If you did a surgery specialty like neuro or ortho, then you could potentially retire after just 6 years of work or so. Assuming you spend all your time at work and don't spend frivolously on garbage. Then you go back and attain the DVM or whatever your heart desires. Of course if you are a work-a-holic then you could easily spend the rest of your life amassing money for all future generations of your family to attend college for free while not spending any yourself. So many people always want to help out the people around them, but most never consider helping future generations get ahead. Look what Nobel was able to do.
                 

                maswe12

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                  I nearly applied to vet schools before switching this past summer to human medicine. My advice is to talk to alot of vets. I do my research at a vet school and I found alot of the vets were unhappy. Loving animals isnt enough to make you happy as a vet. You end up killing alot of animals and have to deal with pet owners who arent exactly the best care givers. In addition, you also deal with the stigma of not being a "real doctor" Its possible to make decent money, but you would have to work specifically to make money. Most of their salaries peak at a little over 100k (more for surgeons). Another thing to consider is that it is very difficult to obtain a veterinary surgery residency. You might want to look into that as well. Ultimately, I decided against vet medicine because I didnt like the idea of giving up on tough cases and putting my patients to sleep. Also I wanted to do zoo medicine and was not really enthusiastic about working with dogs and cats in the many years before I got into exotics. If you are not absolutetly set on veterinary medicine I wouldn't do it. Some people absolutely love it, but there are others that wish they had gone into another field.
                   

                  scrabbler

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                    While I was shadowing at a hospital, I met a resident in anesthesiology who had formerly been a vet. I asked her why she switched, and she told me it was because she felt frustrated about not being able to practice the skills she had - most people would opt to put their pets to sleep rather than pay for complicated procedures. What happens if you can't get a surgical position where you're practicing regularly? I assume it's difficult to get a surgical residency since there isn't that much demand for it (I could be totally wrong; if I am, ignore what I'm saying). What happens if you don't want to go into surgery after all? Are you satisfied with the other options you could have as a veterinarian?
                     

                    Mr. Rosewater

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                      i was making the same choice a couple of years ago. i'm your age as well. i beleive that medicine is the slam dunk choice however. first, the work is more important, sorry but it is. secondly the pay is better. third, FOR THE MOST PART, patients aren't refusing treatment over financial concerns which you will deal w/ all the time in veterinary practice. but, finally the choice resides w/ you. if you feel you'de be more happy in the vet. field, than go w/ that. you have to be happy yourself. we do need pple who are passionate about what they do, and that extends to animal care.
                       
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