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Medical school pets

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by shantster, May 6, 2007.

  1. shantster

    shantster Eye protection! 10+ Year Member

    I tried doing a search, but it won't work. I was just wondering what kind of pets people have, why they chose that one, and how it is working out. I'd love to get a pet if possible after I get settled into medical school. Thanks for the input.
     
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  3. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    N'awlins
    I have cats. They are perfect for my current lifestyle. They are super snuggly and sweet which is comforting when I'm bummed out, they are fun to play with but don't really ever demand it and they pretty much maintain themselves. We have a water fountain and an automatic feeder so those only need to be messed with every once in a while and the litter box is easy if you keep up with it which even I can handle. I love dogs but my husband works plenty of double shifts so that would just be unfair to them come MS3.

    Plenty of people on SDN have dogs and have made it work. Planning for MS3 seems to be the biggest hurdle but if its a priority for you it should be manageable. There's enough free time in medschool to do the things that are really important to you, but you can only prioritize so many things so make sure you don't have too many obligations going in.
     
  4. WhoisJohnGalt

    WhoisJohnGalt NYC Psychiatrist Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Ditto. I actually have 3 cats, but I also have an automatic litter box, so I just have to remember to empty it every few days. And they're adorable and cuddly on top of being super low maintenance :) The only downside is your furniture, but I'm living on loans and way too poor to have furniture I care about them messing up :laugh:
     
  5. sprinkibrio

    sprinkibrio 7+ Year Member

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    Keep in mind, if you're young like most med students, you never know how your life is going to change and if cats (or any animal) will fit in the picture. Yes, you'll be more settled in med school than in college, but an animal will really limit where and for how long you can leave town among other things. Also, try cat plus really allergic future husband or cat plus future husband who refuses to let a cat into his house and who also owns two 110 lb. labs. When you give up an animal because of life issues you feel like the most irresponsible piece of scum on the earth.
     
  6. ColinHay

    ColinHay Its A Mistake 7+ Year Member

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    I have a tarantula. Its super easy to take care of, not much cleaning and it pretty much feeds itself from the house gests (flies and such) and its also fuzzy so I can cuddle when I need some attention.
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Live lobster is a better idea. You can do the whole pet thing for a day or so, and then have a great dinner. No muss, no fuss.

    I suppose you can do this with other pets too, just don't let the ASPCA know.:D
     
  8. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone? 7+ Year Member

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    Madison
    I have a dog! Boston terrier. She's small - good for apartment - but still full of energy, so she takes some work/time management/prioritzing, but I wouldn't trade her for anything.

    I'm finishing up my M2 year, and currently working on what I'm gonna do for 3rd year. I have medicine, surgery, and peds all in a row, so she may go to my mom's house for a few months. Or I may enlist some help of friends that are not on they're big 3 at the same time as me. Or doggy day care.

    But the 1st 2 years are completely manageable. I'm home more than someone with a regular full-time job.

    Keep in mind costs of the vet, pet rent, extra deposits, and kennel if you have to leave town. Also, housebreaking during fall of M1 year sucks.
     
  9. EM_Rebuilder

    EM_Rebuilder Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Two weiner dogs for me... best 'gifts' I ever recieved in Medical School. I got them for christmas of my first year. They were there for me on lazy days, after surgery call, after bad test grades, etc etc. And one is sleeping in my lap right now while I type..

    Hopefully the picture below will show..

    [​IMG]
     
  10. shantster

    shantster Eye protection! 10+ Year Member

    As much as I'd love a dog, that's what I'm afraid of. Our younger dog was such a terror to house break since we got him at 4 months.

    I had initially thought about getting a hedgehog since they are small and rather friendly if you don't make a lot of noise while they are sleeping. Since they are nocturnal, that wouldn't be that much of a problem for me to not disturb it since I'll be in class during the day. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the one state that makes it illegal to have one.
     
  11. shantster

    shantster Eye protection! 10+ Year Member

    For people with cats, how are you able to determine which one will be friendly and playful before getting it? I've thought about getting a cat, but I'm afraid that I'd find one that runs away all the time.

    Also, do you know of any breeds that are low on the dander? I have allergies to them (which wouldn't be a huge problem since I'm on shots).
     
  12. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie 7+ Year Member

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    The Good Land
    When my wife and I picked out our cats we always observed them playing with other kittens to get a feel of how playful they were at the time. We also liked to scratch them on their bellies (an area they are very protective of) to get an idea of how trusting they were of humans. I think the biggest factor in cat personality though is in how much contact they have with you while growing up and how easy it is for them to hide away from humans in your living situation.

    As for breeds, I think a generic domestic shorthair should probably be okay as long as you keep up with vacuuming. Increasing the number of times we vacuum our apartment made a world of difference for our allergies.
     
  13. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member 10+ Year Member

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    I've got a kitty, and a few of my classmates have things like dacshunds and french bulldogs, both of which are freaking adorable. They have puppy parties! It's cute.
    Kitty = super easy to take care of especially since mine is semi-feral and will disappear for 3-4 days at a time (yay no litterbox cleaning!) just make sure you get friends to tell you if your house starts smelling like cat. I hate that. Other people who don't have cats hate it more and they'll stop coming over.
    The puppies seem to be not so bad either; probably easier if you have a non-medical sig-other, though. . .
     
  14. evade

    evade Our Lady of DNA 10+ Year Member

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    I keep tropical fish. I know some people don't count them as pets, but I do! The larger ones (like my enormous angelfish) really have personality. They're relaxing to watch and very low-maintenance. Their lights are on a timer, and if I'm going to be away for a couple weeks, I've got an automatic fish feeder. They don't even notice I'm missing. ;)
     
  15. Crazy4F1

    Crazy4F1 10+ Year Member

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    so, i'm not quite in medical school yet, but i'm bringing my goldfish. i'm probably going to upgrade to a larger aquarium (just have a lil 3-4 gallon terarium right now), depending on the space i have w/ furniture and stuff.

    and i agree about the personality of fish thing! i love my fish, and theyre very soothing. plus, when you want to go away, stick the lights on a timer and throw in a vacation feeder block...no hassle!
     
  16. microgal

    microgal NYC's Finest 2+ Year Member

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    New York City
    Best dogs ever! Getting my hotdog was the best thing I ever did!
     
  17. shantster

    shantster Eye protection! 10+ Year Member

    Thanks for the tips.
     
  18. Katya00

    Katya00 Member 5+ Year Member

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    Columbus
    I have a Boston too, a little boy. He's 8 months old right now, and I absolutely love having him. Like you said, they are great size for an apartment and don't really require a lot of work (grooming, etc). I am about to be married though, so taking care of the dog is easy because he helps out. You should post a pic, I am a big Boston fan now :love:
     
  19. Katya00

    Katya00 Member 5+ Year Member

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    I didn't find housebreaking to be that difficult. If you use potty pads and keep them in one spot the dog will learn to use it quickly...right after they eat, first thing in the morning and right when you get home (etc) you take them to the spot so they go there...don't use newspaper, all my pup did was chew it up! He absolutely loved it but...yeah, he didn't learn a thing lol. Also get the potty spray, I guess it smells like urine so they learn to potty on the pad...and give them treats and lots of praise EVERY time they go "good potty!" hahah. Bostons are very smart, my dog learned the word potty very quickly.

    Or if you have access to outside you can do that too... I just trained him inside to only go in ONE place, then switched him to outside when he was older and it got warmer.

    The only downside to dogs is lots of places won't accept them.
     
  20. I have two little parakeets. They are awesome pets. I am pretty allergic to cats, and the birds don't bother me at all. I also can pet them and have taught them some tricks. The birds also sing to me all the time, its such a happy sound. If you get a female they are pretty silent if you don't like bird songs. The only things is make sure that you pay the extra for the hand fed birds they are much friendlier. I pay $5 ever 5 or 6 weeks on food.

    A step up from fish and a step down from puppies
     
  21. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    N'awlins
    Siamese tend to have "dog like personalities" and be very affectionate. One of my girls plays fetch, you throw a toy mouse and she gets it and brings it back to you and drops it over and over and over again. They are definitely not aloof though they are still independent which is nice. I think balinese, javanese, oriental and rag dolls were all bred from siamese and have similar personalities. I found both of mine from rescue places so you don't have to shell out the big bucks or feel guilty for not saving a shelter kitty.
     
  22. Dr.TobiasFünke

    Dr.TobiasFünke Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Iguana... easiest pet in the world.
     
  23. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    i'm so excited about getting an aquarium set up for med school. :D aren't angelfish kind of hard to keep though? (don't they require a lot of water?) I was thinking about some fancy goldfish, or some other type of low-maintenence fish. :)
     
  24. bjackrian

    bjackrian Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

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    We have two rabbits (named Flopsy and Mopsy...awww). They're great pets--they are most active at dawn and dusk, which is great since that tends to be when we're home. They have each other for company during the day, and they definitely don't mind being left alone (in fact, we think they would rather we show up to give them veggies and raisins and never be home apart from that). They're surprisingly neat and were very easy to litter train.

    Pictures:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  25. ColinHay

    ColinHay Its A Mistake 7+ Year Member

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    Just enough water to cover,
    then let simmer till soft and serve with lemon on a bed of basil. MM...
     
  26. Jejton

    Jejton 2+ Year Member

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    As a note, dont use vacation feeders or automatic feeders. They pollute the water. Your fish, especially if feed well, can go at least a week without eating without any ill effects. So that makes them even easier. But then you can get a snake. My corn snake eats only twice a month. Hes not warm and cuddly but he can make a great belt one day...j/k
     
  27. Jejton

    Jejton 2+ Year Member

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    Goldfish actually require more water since they are very messy fish. You will also need a good filter and do water changes more often. Angelfish are more territorial so unless you have a breeding pair, you will need a larger tank then lets say for tetras but still not as large as goldfish ( which can live for a long time by the way! ).
     
  28. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S 10+ Year Member

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    Thunderdome
    I have a 3 year old pug and he is the best doggy in the world. Like boston's, they are a good size for apartments. Mine has calmed down a lot since he was a puppy and fortunately was housebroken before I started med school. I am in the same position as akpete in scheduling third year rotations and contemplating leaving my boy with family for some of the busier ones so he's not alone all the time. He is super sweet and has helped me through some tough times.

    [​IMG]
     
  29. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    3 cats here. I got my first cat (avatar kitty) when I started law school, and I don't regret it at all. Cats are pretty low maintenance and really don't want you around that much, or well they don't notice since they sleep like 18 hours a day. :) But yeah, you might have allergies, and pets don't seem to mesh that well with people who are super orderly -- I guess they're sorta like kids that way. And even with cats, you can't easily leave town for weeks on end.
     
  30. Katya00

    Katya00 Member 5+ Year Member

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    Columbus
    I used to keep goldfish, and they actually require A LOT of work, and at least 10 gallons per fish (commons and comets require 15, koi--don't even bother). It is good to have two actually, since they are very social animals. They have great personalities (for fish) but like I said, they need a lot of work. You should clean the tank 50% at least once a week because they have no stomach so the food goes straight in, digested enough as possible, then straight out again. Lots of poop! They also will eat anything, so don't even bother with live plants since the fish will eat them up (and create more poop, haha).

    I think it is easiest to keep at least a 20 gallon tank for any set of fish, since the water parameters won't fluctuate as much if you accidentally skip cleanings, or if you just do not have the time to do them as regularly as you should. Guppies, platys, mollies are very easy to keep...Also invest in a Python because it keeps your floors clean, eliminates buckets (and all that back strain!) and they are pretty cheap.

    Oh and goldfish need 20g long tanks (not high) because of the extra SA...they need a lot of Oxygen (air stones are also great for them).

    And remember to cycle your tank first!!!! Don't use Goldfish to cycle, you will just be overloaded with problems (ick especially, and you will probably lose your fish). I used Biospira to cycle my tank, and it worked very well.
     
  31. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Nah, they eat stuff like lettuce, and so you are always having to clean out the remains because it rots. Snakes are probably better because some only feed weekly or monthly and you can largely forget about them till then.
     
  32. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    But don't you have to feed them live rodents? I'm sorry but cat food's gross enough. Also, it just seems so mean to feed the cute little live mouse to your snake. :eek:
     
  33. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The snake doesn't seem to have a problem with it. And it's not like humans aren't carnivores. Just think of it as having your own little personal Discovery Channel.
     
  34. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Not this human. :) Yeah, yeah, logically my cats are carnivores, and their food is full of dead animals who probably die deaths every bit as horrible (or more) than the rodent you're feeding to your snake, but I still don't want to see it.

    And snakes just aren't cuddly.
     
  35. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone? 7+ Year Member

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    Madison
    Here's a picture of my dog. She's the best!

    Mistress S, your dog is awesome! I've been wanting to get a black pug so Bryn has a friend.
     

    Attached Files:

  36. Jejton

    Jejton 2+ Year Member

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    Brooklyn, NY
    Well you can ( as my snake does ) feed them thawed frozen mice which you can buy from most petstores.
     
  37. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S 10+ Year Member

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    Thunderdome
    Thanks! I call him the furpig. I love bostons too, but I'm in no position (time or money-wise) to get another dog. What a cutie you have though! Good luck if you get a pug, they're a handful for the first year or two then they calm way down.
     
  38. WugMD1031

    WugMD1031 Member 5+ Year Member

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    I've had two cats during med school, and I actually fostered them through a cat fostering program (most cities have animal rescue groups). It was pretty easy, not too much taken away from my time, and I really feel like it's made my med school experience significantly better. Plus, now that my last foster cat has been adopted, I can sit down and study for Boards properly (and I'm not taking another one until the middle of 3rd year when my rotations are a little easier).

    Just a thought.
     
  39. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please 10+ Year Member

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    :laugh: :laugh:

    I've had a rabbit for the past 4 years and he's pretty content to be left on his own as long he has water, some food, and stuff to chew on (preferably not my good headphones or power cords). I would love to get a cat too, but my girlfriend is allergic. Surprisingly, she's not allergic to the rabbit.

    It's definitely best to take into consideration your future movements though before deciding on a pet, dogs in particular.
     

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