Niamhers

2+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2017
4
0
Status
Medical Student
Hi,

So as you can see in the title I'm looking to find out about transitioning from Medicine to Veterinary. I've found a post about doing the reverse but no info on Med -> Vet.

At the minute i'm in my third year of medical school (3rd of 5) and whilst I don't hate it, in fact I quite like many aspects, I know my heart lies in Vet Med and I think I've always known that.

Unlike most of my classmates as a child I didn't dream of being a Doctor, I had ALWAYS wanted to be a vet... Right up until the year I started med school.

My main reasons for changing my aims from vet to med were (a) a local vet who I very much respect completely discouraged me from pursuing vet, he said if he had his time back that he'd do med for many reasons (pay, job satisfaction, opportunities and pressure being some reasons cited), (b) a girl I knew who had just graduated (1-2 years previously) who, whilst not completely discouraging about the career, still was very hesitant to say she'd do it again..., (c) my med school is near to my family home which may have social negatives has certainly gotten rid of the financial burden that is rent whereas the vet school is 3 hours away (d) at 18 (the age I was deciding between the two) I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of performing euthanasia in cases where I didn't feel it was 100% the best option which is not practical as a vet/ student and the lack of resources and advances in tech and meds in vet med compared to human med is outrageous and something that I felt I could find frustrating and (e) I think a large part of me was unwilling to leave my dog, my best friend.

Unfortunately my best buddy passed away recently and it's been indescribably difficult for me. But one thing it has forced me to re-evaluate is what I'm doing with my career path... I've joked for the past 3 years that the reason I went in to med and not vet is because I love animals too much so vet would be too tough but human med? Meh, that's fine.

So now I've decided to try and find out my legit options. In case it wasn't apparent earlier, know that I'm European and attending Uni in the EU. In my home country my only options are to (a) drop out and apply for the 5 year Vet programme starting in September 2018 or (b) graduate (May 2020) and apply to the 4 year Grad programme. Both are very competitive. Tbh, I don't intend to drop out of Med so I'm looking for options after I graduate.

Anyone ever switched before?

Is there any option shorter than a 4 year Grad programme? (I'm literally open to anywhere UK, EU, America, Canada etc etc.)

I have heard that in France they were planning to introduce a programme where Doctors could study Vet. Is there anyone from France who could help me out with the details? I can't find anything online. Note I speak pretty good French.

Thoughts, advice, experience, all input welcome just please no negativity... I realise a lot of people would love to be in med school so some may consider me ungrateful, I assure you that I am not... Just young making decisions and think I may have made the wrong one.

Apologies for the essay!
 

LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2011
19,264
18,507
Plymouth, MN, USA
animaltracks.wordpress.com
Status
Veterinarian
I'll be honest: If you think you can make a go of it as an MD, do it. Your financial situation will be at least twice what it will be as a vet, perhaps quite a bit more depending on your area of specialization as an MD. I'm on board with what those folks who 'discouraged' you said.

That said, a lot of vets love being vets in spite of the financial picture, and you might be one of them. So even though my honest blunt answer is "stay in med school," there are people who have transitioned, and there are people who have MD degrees who have gone back for a DVM degree, and who are thrilled with that decision.

That said, the European factor means I don't have many answers (others will). There are not options shorter than a 4-yr program of which I'm aware. I don't think you'll find a place that will cut it short because of your previous MD degree.

Sorry to have very limited feedback. You have good questions, and while I want to discourage you a little bit, I don't want to completely discourage you. If you really think you want to do it .. know that there are others who have done it and are happy with that decision.
 

Niamhers

2+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2017
4
0
Status
Medical Student
That said, a lot of vets love being vets in spite of the financial picture, and you might be one of them. So even though my honest blunt answer is "stay in med school," there are people who have transitioned, and there are people who have MD degrees who have gone back for a DVM degree, and who are thrilled with that decision.

.. know that there are others who have done it and are happy with that decision.
Thanks for the reply LetItSnow, your honesty is much appreciated!

I do think I've come far enough in Med and currently find enough satisfaction in it that I will finish out Med School and work after graduation at least for a few years. I suppose I'm really just looking to have a solid 'out' plan that I could follow and switch to Vet if when I'm, say, 30 I find that the work just isn't for me and that I want to enter Vet Med.

I'm very interested to hear more about the people you seem to be aware of who transitioned, are these people you've meet through work/ study? People you've read about? Any idea how/ when they did it?

Thanks again.
 
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DVMDream

DVMNightmare
10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
38,927
27,318
The Dragon School
Status
Veterinarian
I will echo what LIS is saying, if you think that you could work in human medicine, I would urge you to do that. You will make more money overall in that career. Veterinary medicine is like pediatric medicine in a sense. Yes, you work with animals, but your main interactions are with the humans who own the animals. You talk to them, get histories from them, discuss treatment options with them, surgical options, etc.

The other thing to consider, I know that education in the EU is vastly different than education here in the US, as far as costs go. If I recall correctly, the EU government will cover the cost of your first university degree, but you are responsible for additional degrees beyond that. Please do correct me if I am wrong. So, if you want the best financial decision, continue with your med degree. There are no other options for a veterinary degree besides the 5 year or 4 year programs. Also, keep in mind the amount a vet makes. Vets make piddly squat in the EU compared to what we make in the US, but your schooling is also much cheaper.

Also, perhaps consider shadowing a vet (unsure if you have done this or not) to see if it is something you would enjoy. It isn't as animal oriented of a career as people tend to think, the main focus is on communication with the owner of the animal and then treatment of the animal. And most treatment is carried out by your veterinary nurses while you are focused on diagnosing, surgery, prescribing medication and client communication.
 

pinkpuppy9

Tired DVM
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,590
3,894
Status
Veterinarian
Thanks for the reply LetItSnow, your honesty is much appreciated!

I do think I've come far enough in Med and currently find enough satisfaction in it that I will finish out Med School and work after graduation at least for a few years. I suppose I'm really just looking to have a solid 'out' plan that I could follow and switch to Vet if when I'm, say, 30 I find that the work just isn't for me and that I want to enter Vet Med.

I'm very interested to hear more about the people you seem to be aware of who transitioned, are these people you've meet through work/ study? People you've read about? Any idea how/ when they did it?

Thanks again.
I have a classmate who got a law degree/practiced law for a bit, went to med school for a year or two, and is now in vet school. People do it. I'd just make sure it's absolutely what you want first.
 
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