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I love horses and poultry. They are my whole life. If I became a vet, I would specialize in equine internal medicine for sure and maybe avian/poultry general. I would love to spend my working life with them, but I also want horses, a couple dogs and chickens. Oh yeah, and a family ;). I just don't know how I will support and have time for all of that if I do equine vet med. The job market doesn't help either. If that isn't possible, I will change focus to pre-med (have been looking into human anesthesiology or maybe dentistry). Anyway, I just want some advice from maybe some equine vets on how they manage their families and horses and other pets if they have them.
 
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Have you considered going primarily poultry as opposed to equine? From what I hear, poultry vets do pretty well for themselves in terms of pay and hours. It might involve a bit of travel, though as I believe most of them are purely ambulatory.
 
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Mad Jack

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I assume she means veterinary dentistry as a specialization, not starting all over with human dental school. Same with anesthesiology.
Given the thread title, I assumed this was a ved versus med school thread, with a little dentistry thrown in there for extra confusion.
 
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I did mean human anesthesiology. Backup was not the right word. I just meant if I found out in undergrad I could not support myself with avian/equine vet med I would switch to a pre-med track. Human dentistry was just in the back of my mind, with the fewer years of schooling and better pay.
 
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Have you considered going primarily poultry as opposed to equine? From what I hear, poultry vets do pretty well for themselves in terms of pay and hours. It might involve a bit of travel, though as I believe most of them are purely ambulatory.
Actually haven't considered this. Sounds pretty attractive given my interest in poultry already. I would have thought avian vets make close to what zoo or shelter vets make, given the relative low value of the patients they perform on.
 
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Actually haven't considered this. Sounds pretty attractive given my interest in poultry already. I would have thought avian vets make close to what zoo or shelter vets make, given the relative low value of the patients they perform on.
Well it depends. If you lean more towards exotics and companion birds, then yeah that's a harder route. I was referring more to large scale chicken/turkey/etc operations where it is more of a herd health type of thing.
 
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Well it depends. If you lean more towards exotics and companion birds, then yeah that's a harder route. I was referring more to large scale chicken/turkey/etc operations where it is more of a herd health type of thing.
Honestly I would be happy doing either. Also, is it out of the ordinary to have a 50/50 say avian/equine practice? Is this even practicial in terms of associate vets and costs?
 

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Actually haven't considered this. Sounds pretty attractive given my interest in poultry already. I would have thought avian vets make close to what zoo or shelter vets make, given the relative low value of the patients they perform on.
Not at all......most poultry vets work on large production-based farming facilities. It's another form of food animal medicine (though the food animals are poultry, not cattle). There will be almost no call for a job working on pet and hobby farm poultry.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Actually haven't considered this. Sounds pretty attractive given my interest in poultry already. I would have thought avian vets make close to what zoo or shelter vets make, given the relative low value of the patients they perform on.
Just to interject here-zoo salaries can be all over the place. A small/private zoo/sanctuary vet might have a fairly low salary (sometimes below what SA vets make). When you get to some of the bigger zoos that employ multiple vets, your salary will go up. I don't think you'd necessarily consider yourself extremely wealthy at any point (at least not while you're repaying loans), but certainly not as depressing a salary as it seems that you think it is. Some vets are making near 6 figures in the big zoos (although uncommon). That goes along with experience, board status, and more. There are a whole host of factors that dictate how much a particular zoo pays its vet(s). Also, zoo animals are highly valued (both financially and in society), so I'm not quite understanding the comparison to "low value" poultry.
 
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Just to interject here-zoo salaries can be all over the place. A small/private zoo/sanctuary vet might have a fairly low salary (sometimes below what SA vets make). When you get to some of the bigger zoos that employ multiple vets, your salary will go up. I don't think you'd necessarily consider yourself extremely wealthy at any point (at least not while you're repaying loans), but certainly not as depressing a salary as it seems that you think it is. Some vets are making near 6 figures in the big zoos (although uncommon). That goes along with experience, board status, and more. There are a whole host of factors that dictate how much a particular zoo pays its vet(s). Also, zoo animals are highly valued (both financially and in society), so I'm not quite understanding the comparison to "low value" poultry.
Hmm. I knew that the zoo vets started low, and everyone kind of acts like its a "you better really love it for the animals cause you wont love the salary" speciality.

Actually haven't considered this. Sounds pretty attractive given my interest in poultry already. I would have thought avian vets make close to what zoo or shelter vets make, given the relative low value of the patients they perform on.
I didn't mean that zoo animals are low value, I just meant I knew that poultry has a low price-per-animal, which if a vet works as maybe as pet/hobby animals only they obviously wouldn't find a whole lot of work therefore have a lower salary. I compared their salary to that of a zoo or shelter vet's, without meaning to imply that the value of the animals these vets work on impacts their salary.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Hmm. I knew that the zoo vets started low, and everyone kind of acts like its a "you better really love it for the animals cause you wont love the salary" speciality.



I didn't mean that zoo animals are low value, I just meant I knew that poultry has a low price-per-animal, which if a vet works as maybe as pet/hobby animals only they obviously wouldn't find a whole lot of work therefore have a lower salary. I compared their salary to that of a zoo or shelter vet's, without meaning to imply that the value of the animals these vets work on impacts their salary.
That's all of vet med IMO lol. Like I said, it really is all over the board. There are zoo vets that make $40k in small zoos and private sanctuaries. There are zoo vets that near 6 figures. It's hard to truly say "The average zoo vet salary is ______" because not everyone reports their salary and there's that whole 'tons of factors' thing when it comes to the salary of a zoo vet that will vary from zoo to zoo. If I do end up in zoo med, I'm not going to be too concerned about my pay. Other than the fact that several years of internship/residency pay will make me sad, it seems less common for a zoo vet to be paid what I would consider far too low.

The main reason why jobs in zoo med are hard to come by is because those who already have them tend to hold them until they are physically unable to practice (straight out of the mouth of a zoo vet, lol). There are a lot of zoos in this country, and the hiring of full time vets is actually increasing. There are a ton of job postings for zoo veterinarians right now, but you'd have to be willing to relocate.

http://www.aazv.org/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=245622 Here is an example of a salary you can earn once you are an experienced zoo veterinarian (looks like you'll also be on the admin side of things with this particular job). This is also a larger zoo. I wouldn't ever expect a private/small zoo to be able to net you this sort of paycheck. This posting doesn't even require you to be boarded at the time of applying.

Edit: http://www.aazv.org/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=318680 Here is an example of a salary for a much smaller, lesser known zoo.

http://www.aazv.org/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=324174 Here is one where you work for free. :p
 

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By the time the new Los Angeles Zoo vet is done paying rent, the'll probably make the same as the Florida Zoo vet :rolleyes:
 

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Zoo vet pay is not good for the training you have to go through. This is coming from several zoo vet mentors and faculty members. It's not uncommon to make less than a newer vet. It's what happens when you have a lot of supply but not a lot of demand
 

pinkpuppy9

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Zoo vet pay is not good for the training you have to go through. This is coming from several zoo vet mentors and faculty members. It's not uncommon to make less than a newer vet. It's what happens when you have a lot of supply but not a lot of demand
I think that applies to all of vet med in general, but having 8-10 years of post-bac training to only maybe make close to 6 figures is just a little sad. I'd love for everyone to make
 
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dyachei

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I think that applies to all of vet med in general, but having 8-10 years of post-bac training to only maybe make close to 6 figures is just a little sad. I'd love for everyone to make
Most zoo vets don't make close to 6 figures. Really and truly. I've talked to many zoo vets and had multiple speakers discuss this at a symposium we put together. Finding outliers does not mean that you should expect that kind of salary
 
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Minnerbelle

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Not at all......most poultry vets work on large production-based farming facilities. It's another form of food animal medicine (though the food animals are poultry, not cattle). There will be almost no call for a job working on pet and hobby farm poultry.
This. Poultry productions tend to be vertically integrated large scale all in all out type of thing with biosecurity on the level of an infectious diseases lab. Poultry vets make a lot of money mostly as herd health consultants of large corporations like foster farms and Tyson. It's very rarely a treat a single sick chicken or two kind of situation. It's really not about treatment of sick patients at all actually.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Most zoo vets don't make close to 6 figures. Really and truly. I've talked to many zoo vets and had multiple speakers discuss this at a symposium we put together. Finding outliers does not mean that you should expect that kind of salary
I don't think any one enters vet med expecting that kind of salary. I did say that kind of salary is uncommon. I was more demonstrating to the OP that comparing zoo med to other areas doesn't seem accurate, especially with the high variability. I don't think shelter med varies nearly as much as zoo med does. My best guess for an average zoo salary would be $70k. AVMA says $90k, BLS says $75k, so who knows what the true average is. I know it's not ideal for that much training, but it's not a horrendous number to me. I also place a lot of personal value on that specific career path, so I'm very biased :whistle:
 

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I don't think any one enters vet med expecting that kind of salary. I did say that kind of salary is uncommon. I was more demonstrating to the OP that comparing zoo med to other areas doesn't seem accurate, especially with the high variability. I don't think shelter med varies nearly as much as zoo med does. My best guess for an average zoo salary would be $70k. AVMA says $90k, BLS says $75k, so who knows what the true average is. I know it's not ideal for that much training, but it's not a horrendous number to me. I also place a lot of personal value on that specific career path, so I'm very biased :whistle:
But that's with years of specialty training. Heck, the vast majority of just graduated salaries for small animal GP I have found are $70K plus. And I've found a decent number above $75K. Why the heck subject yourself to all that extra training to make just as much as a new grad?
 

pinkpuppy9

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But that's with years of specialty training. Heck, the vast majority of just graduated salaries for small animal GP I have found are $70K plus. And I've found a decent number above $75K. Why the heck subject yourself to all that extra training to make just as much as a new grad?
Because I loooooooove ittttttttttt:p

I'm not disagreeing with you at all. It really is crappy pay for that much training, and I still think that kind of crappy pay applies to all veterinarians, even those without further training. Of course we all would deserve more. However, we're all in this field because we love it. I just decided to love one with really bad pay. There's always that chance I'll never end up in it anyways haha. Labor of love, I guess. For me, I'm willing to sacrifice some pay for happiness. There are a lot of other details that go into that, but I don't want to completely derail this thread by talking about my personal plan for the next 10 years.
 

DVMDream

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Because I loooooooove ittttttttttt:p

I'm not disagreeing with you at all. It really is crappy pay for that much training, and I still think that kind of crappy pay applies to all veterinarians, even those without further training. Of course we all would deserve more. However, we're all in this field because we love it. I just decided to love one with really bad pay. There's always that chance I'll never end up in it anyways haha. Labor of love, I guess. For me, I'm willing to sacrifice some pay for happiness. There are a lot of other details that go into that, but I don't want to completely derail this thread by talking about my personal plan for the next 10 years.
Yes, that's fine to have a passion for it. But you need to set aside your own personal passion when discussing even what you enjoy. Just state facts. There aren't that many zoo vets making almost 6 figures, very few get to that salary. It's ok to show your passion while still talking about reality. Anyone thinking about zoo med needs to be fully aware that it may not happen, the training is ridiculous and the pay is really bad.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Yes, that's fine to have a passion for it. But you need to set aside your own personal passion when discussing even what you enjoy. Just state facts. There aren't that many zoo vets making almost 6 figures, very few get to that salary. It's ok to show your passion while still talking about reality. Anyone thinking about zoo med needs to be fully aware that it may not happen, the training is ridiculous and the pay is really bad.
I didn't say the 6 figure thing was common or anything, I was just trying to show the OP that comparing zoo med to shelter med isn't exactly as simple as it seems. The payscale for zoo is huge, and that was my point when I said "There are zoo vets that make $40k in small zoos and private sanctuaries. There are zoo vets that near 6 figures." I could be completely misinformed, but I don't think the shelter med payscale compares to that, and $40k for a zoo vet is also more of an outlier. Maybe not so much as someone making well over 6 figures, though. Apologies if I sounded like I was trying to convince anyone that zoo is the way to go if you want to rake it in..I thought I was being pretty clear when I said the higher salaries are uncommon.

Had the OP been referring to zoo in the context of being interested in it, I would have probably gone into more detail about the career other than saying the pay is really bad during the training years, and then all over the place after that.
 

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I think you'd be really surprised what some shelter and S/N vets make, salary-wise, actually.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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I think you'd be really surprised what some shelter and S/N vets make, salary-wise, actually.
Do tell! A couple of my friends who want to do shelter med say they expect around $40-50k. I'm not sure if shelter employees are considered government though...sometimes government benefits packages can make up for for lower salaries
 

DVMDream

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I didn't say the 6 figure thing was common or anything, I was just trying to show the OP that comparing zoo med to shelter med isn't exactly as simple as it seems. The payscale for zoo is huge, and that was my point when I said "There are zoo vets that make $40k in small zoos and private sanctuaries. There are zoo vets that near 6 figures." I could be completely misinformed, but I don't think the shelter med payscale compares to that, and $40k for a zoo vet is also more of an outlier. Maybe not so much as someone making well over 6 figures, though. Apologies if I sounded like I was trying to convince anyone that zoo is the way to go if you want to rake it in..I thought I was being pretty clear when I said the higher salaries are uncommon.

Had the OP been referring to zoo in the context of being interested in it, I would have probably gone into more detail about the career other than saying the pay is really bad during the training years, and then all over the place after that.
Large pay grades are common I think among all areas of vet med. There are some shelter vets really making a pretty penny and other that make piddly squat, though both ends of the spectrum are outliers and the average falls somewhere in between.
 

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Do tell! A couple of my friends who want to do shelter med say they expect around $40-50k. I'm not sure if shelter employees are considered government though...sometimes government benefits packages can make up for for lower salaries
A lot of them are private nonprofit. I don't know anyone in shelter med personally getting that piss poor a salary. The people I know are getting 70k+
 

pinkpuppy9

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A lot of them are private nonprofit. I don't know anyone in shelter med personally getting that piss poor a salary. The people I know are getting 70k+
That's actually really awesome. Idk why people say $40-50k though then. I should tell them they may be in for a pleasant surprise
 

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A lot of them are private nonprofit. I don't know anyone in shelter med personally getting that piss poor a salary. The people I know are getting 70k+
Usually the salaries are higher because the burn out is higher, too.

The way you were talking about zoo med made it seem like you didn't quite understand. I will say as a new grad gp, I made more than many zoo vets
 

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Also, is it out of the ordinary to have a 50/50 say avian/equine practice? Is this even practicial in terms of associate vets and costs?
Yes, that would be pretty rare and I don't think very practical, especially if you wanted to specialize in equine (and go through internship, residency, etc.) You could always do a little backyard or friends' poultry on the side, but I think it makes more sense to go commercial poultry and have your horse hobby on the side.

And @Mad Jack, I think medicine could be a "back up" of sorts since she's so early into the game :shrug:
 

Caia

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I love horses and poultry. They are my whole life. If I became a vet, I would specialize in equine internal medicine for sure and maybe avian/poultry general. I would love to spend my working life with them, but I also want horses, a couple dogs and chickens. Oh yeah, and a family ;). I just don't know how I will support and have time for all of that if I do equine vet med. The job market doesn't help either. If that isn't possible, I will change focus to pre-med (have been looking into human anesthesiology or maybe dentistry). Anyway, I just want some advice from maybe some equine vets on how they manage their families and horses and other pets if they have them.
So just thought I'd chime in here because horses were the be-all-end-all of my life until I really got to know the lifestyle of equine vets. I spent hours and hours shadowing as a pre-vet but it wasn't until I was a working vet student that I truly realized. Other than the on-call hours, pay, amount of training, etc., it was mainly the fact that I wouldn't have the time to enjoy horses on my own time. I want to own again, have time to ride a few days a week and even show a bit and that is something I'm not willing to compromise for anything, even equine med. I haven't seen having this time as all that likely with the number of hours a lot of them work.

Sometimes your all-consuming love of something doesn't have to rule your career, but can be fulfilled in personal time.

Anyway, that's my most recent lesson.
 
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And @Mad Jack, I think medicine could be a "back up" of sorts since she's so early into the game :shrug:
I agree. I think in this case the term "alternative" is what the OP meant rather than "back-up" since the latter term can have some negative implications. I don't think anyone here was saying medicine was a back-up due to less rigor or anything like that.
 
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So just thought I'd chime in here because horses were the be-all-end-all of my life until I really got to know the lifestyle of equine vets. I spent hours and hours shadowing as a pre-vet but it wasn't until I was a working vet student that I truly realized. Other than the on-call hours, pay, amount of training, etc., it was mainly the fact that I wouldn't have the time to enjoy horses on my own time. I want to own again, have time to ride a few days a week and even show a bit and that is something I'm not willing to compromise for anything, even equine med. I haven't seen having this time as all that likely with the number of hours a lot of them work.

Sometimes your all-consuming love of something doesn't have to rule your career, but can be fulfilled in personal time.

Anyway, that's my most recent lesson.
I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not sure if I had mentioned this on these forums before, but I was relatively close to going into production medicine at one point. I love working with cattle, sheep, goats, etc. As interested in it as I was, it was the things Caia mentions above that contributed heavily in turning me away (and obviously, becoming interested in another specialty helped). I admire the hell out of my colleagues who kept at it. As a "consolation prize" I plan to have my own goat farm in the future, with maybe a few Jersey cows for fun as well.
 
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Caia

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I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not sure if I had mentioned this on these forums before, but I was relatively close to going into production medicine at one point. I love working with cattle, sheep, goats, etc. As interested in it as I was, it was the things Caia mentions above that contributed heavily in turning me away (and obviously, becoming interested in another specialty helped). I admire the hell out of my colleagues who kept at it. As a "consolation prize" I plan to have my own goat farm in the future, with maybe a few Jersey cows for fun as well.
Jersey cuddles!!
 
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A lot of them are private nonprofit. I don't know anyone in shelter med personally getting that piss poor a salary. The people I know are getting 70k+
I can totally see that as a plausibility. The vet techs at our larger or more well funded Colorado shelters average $14 an hour to start and get a raise about every 6 months to help buffer some of the burn out. Some of the very long term techs (the few that are 5+ years) are about $20-$25 an hour, depending on the shelter. I would imagine that would translate somewhat upwards to the veterinarians of those shelters.
 

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Usually the salaries are higher because the burn out is higher, too.
I think that depends quite a bit on your personality as well as the shelter you work for. I know a few awesome shelters that have very little turnover (staff vets 10+ years at the same place) that pays relatively well. There is just such a wide range of shelters out there. 75+% that I would probably never want to work at. 25% being my dream jobs.

Honestly, given that it is a well run and well funded shelter where vets actually get to make medical decisions, I personally would burn out much quicker in private practice. Clients really wear me down, even the good ones.
 

pinkpuppy9

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I think that depends quite a bit on your personality as well as the shelter you work for. I know a few awesome shelters that have very little turnover (staff vets 10+ years at the same place) that pays relatively well. There is just such a wide range of shelters out there. 75+% that I would probably never want to work at. 25% being my dream jobs.

Honestly, given that it is a well run and well funded shelter where vets actually get to make medical decisions, I personally would burn out much quicker in private practice. Clients really wear me down, even the good ones.
That's what I'm scared of. The clients that stay in the clinic for 3 hours because they can't decide to go through with the estimate.....that was hard enough as just an assistant
 

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That's what I'm scared of. The clients that stay in the clinic for 3 hours because they can't decide to go through with the estimate.....that was hard enough as just an assistant
I don't really care about that so much. What really gets me is when people displace their frustrations/anger about things beyond my control onto me. The face to face interactions don't really bother me much at all, and I think client communication is one of my fortes. But when people don't follow through with recommended follow up and then get mad that their pet didn't do well, or their expectations weren't met for some reason, etc ... It really stresses me out. A lot of it is the "what ifs" that really weighs me down. What if the pet pukes one more time and the owner doesn't go to the emergency hospital? What if the owner doesn't come back in with the bandage even when I call them to urge them? What if this mass removal forms a seroma? What if I didn't get deep enough margins on this mast cell tumor, should I have referred it? What if that root from the crown amputation doesn't completely resorb, did I read the X-ray wrong?

All of those things, if they were my own animals or animals in shelters, I wouldn't worry about because I'm okay with those risks and I'm okay with dealing with potential complications, and I know I'm doing right by the animal. I'm always upfront with owners about potential complications and all options and put it in my medical records so im covering my ass, but there are always people with selective hearing. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what I said to the client, it's partially my responsibility if they didn't completely understand everything, and once they're upset, they're upset and it's very stressful even if it doesn't turn into a board complaint or a lawsuit. The worrying over how clients will respond to outcome is so stressful for me, because sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it. Bat**** crazy clients, and sometimes some very level headed clients get really upset unexpectedly over the weirdest thing. I feel like I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Once my loans are under control, and I have good clinical experience under my belt, I would really like to go back into shelter med, which is why I became a vet in the first place.
 

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I think that depends quite a bit on your personality as well as the shelter you work for. I know a few awesome shelters that have very little turnover (staff vets 10+ years at the same place) that pays relatively well. There is just such a wide range of shelters out there. 75+% that I would probably never want to work at. 25% being my dream jobs.

Honestly, given that it is a well run and well funded shelter where vets actually get to make medical decisions, I personally would burn out much quicker in private practice. Clients really wear me down, even the good ones.
There are several well rub shelters here (and several more that aren't). Still the compassion fatigue and burn out rate tend to be higher for shelter vets. We've had several just recently leave after 5+ years and enter gp practices. The majority of the time their complaint hasn't been about the shelter itself.
 

LadyOtheFarm

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I don't really care about that so much. What really gets me is when people displace their frustrations/anger about things beyond my control onto me. The face to face interactions don't really bother me much at all, and I think client communication is one of my fortes. But when people don't follow through with recommended follow up and then get mad that their pet didn't do well, or their expectations weren't met for some reason, etc ... It really stresses me out. A lot of it is the "what ifs" that really weighs me down. What if the pet pukes one more time and the owner doesn't go to the emergency hospital? What if the owner doesn't come back in with the bandage even when I call them to urge them? What if this mass removal forms a seroma? What if I didn't get deep enough margins on this mast cell tumor, should I have referred it? What if that root from the crown amputation doesn't completely resorb, did I read the X-ray wrong?

All of those things, if they were my own animals or animals in shelters, I wouldn't worry about because I'm okay with those risks and I'm okay with dealing with potential complications, and I know I'm doing right by the animal. I'm always upfront with owners about potential complications and all options and put it in my medical records so im covering my ass, but there are always people with selective hearing. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what I said to the client, it's partially my responsibility if they didn't completely understand everything, and once they're upset, they're upset and it's very stressful even if it doesn't turn into a board complaint or a lawsuit. The worrying over how clients will respond to outcome is so stressful for me, because sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it. Bat**** crazy clients, and sometimes some very level headed clients get really upset unexpectedly over the weirdest thing. I feel like I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Once my loans are under control, and I have good clinical experience under my belt, I would really like to go back into shelter med, which is why I became a vet in the first place.
My understanding from working in a shelter, even a low kill shelter, is that a lot of the burn out comes from needing to make decisions about where the money goes and having to put down many animals for "medical reasons" that you could save with more room or more money and being the head or only vet, that all falls on your shoulders. I've been that rotten tech who bitch out the vet for putting down a kitten with relatively minor cerebellar hypoplasia, or the kithen that went blind after a volunteer didn't notice when it stopped breathing post spay. I still don't agree with the decisions that were made, but she is the one that has to look at the whole "herd" and figure out where the dollars go and because of that, who lives and who dies.

She just has to make it 2 more years though and her vet school loans are all paid off. (At least that's what she tells everyone on her bad days...)

Edit: I don't understand my auto correct... I'm not fixing it now, just going to sleep finally, but I swear I noticed.
 

Minnerbelle

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My understanding from working in a shelter, even a low kill shelter, is that a lot of the burn out comes from needing to make decisions about where the money goes and having to put down many animals for "medical reasons" that you could save with more room or more money and being the head or only vet, that all falls on your shoulders. I've been that rotten tech who bitch out the vet for putting down a kitten with relatively minor cerebellar hypoplasia, or the kithen that went blind after a volunteer didn't notice when it stopped breathing post spay. I still don't agree with the decisions that were made, but she is the one that has to look at the whole "herd" and figure out where the dollars go and because of that, who lives and who dies.

She just has to make it 2 more years though and her vet school loans are all paid off. (At least that's what she tells everyone on her bad days...)

Edit: I don't understand my auto correct... I'm not fixing it now, just going to sleep finally, but I swear I noticed.
I completely understand that as someone who has been pretty involved with shelter medicine on an ongoing basis. I promise I get it. I've worked with more shelter vets/workers at different types of shelters than most people here. Y'all may not agree but I think it still is quite personality dependent. If you take the proportion of people in shelter med vs GP and see which group has more career changers, I wouldn't be surprised if shelter med had more. But it doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people who make a whole career out of it and it works well for them. I think it's also a bit of the "grass is greener" sort of thing. All jobs come with negatives, particularly in this profession... the negatives are enough to really wear people out. I know multiple people who burned out of private practice and settled into shelter med for the rest of their careers through retirement (or at least headed there). It just worked better for them and they were overall happier. I also know people who burned out of shelter med. different strokes for different folk. I think when you've experienced major burn out from one reason or another with one job/field, if the next one is better than the last and fits you better, you're in the position to evaluate the negatives of the next job and go, "well this sucks, but I would much rather this than that." And many times it comes down to which sucks worse for you. If it weren't for finances, I would personally much rather be in shelter med. I never ever wanted to go into private practice to begin with. I did also want to get a more diverse set of medical stills under my belt and become a proficient doctor overall before going to shelter med, so it works out after all. But my current job is just a job, despite the fact that it runs my life.
 
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