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NY Times article on vet med profession

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DVMDream

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We are not human doctors. Veterinary medicine is nothing like human medicine (in terms of scope, burden on the practitioner, level of sophistication, etc.) Human medicine and veterinary medicine are not on the same playing field, and to be honest, they shouldn't be. You are working on someones cat, not their child. If you have a problem with that then you should go into human medicine.

The only people who are sensitive to this distinction are pre-vet and vet students; none of my colleagues worry about whether they're viewed as doctors or wither people think we are on par with MDs... because once you graduate and start to treat patients, you will realize the people who are taking advantage of your services don't think like this. Veterinarians will always be able to make the argument their status within society is undervalued by virtue of our compensation, attitudes by some people towards our profession etc. Griping about the fact that we are grouped in a Health bracket vs. Medicine bracket is petty and unproductive.

I think I just highlighted the main point I was trying to make... people automatically see vets as the people who fix Fluffy, which for the majority of graduates is true. And I will not argue about the value of pets in society vs. the value of people, everyone has a different opinion on that and I am not even going to reveal my opinion.

I am however going to say that vets are needed to be seen in more than just the "fix Fluffy" view. There are vets doing current medical research on animals that will eventually be or have been implemented into human medicine and have vastly improved the lives of people. So to say that vets are not at the level of human doctors (while it may be true in some areas) is not always true. Vets are doing research and working in public health along side human medical doctors to not only advance veterinary medicine but to also advance human lives too and this is what needs to be seen by the general public that most people do not even know exists.

And yes, I have seen quite a bit of private practice within vet med. I have been screamed at by clients telling me that vet med is not anywhere near the scope of human med and I have also seen clients who literally put their pets on the same level as their kids and would gladly take out a second mortgage on their house to save them. Everyone has a different viewpoint, but as it stands currently vet med is severely misunderstood by the general public.
 

psilovethomas

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We are not human doctors. Veterinary medicine is nothing like human medicine (in terms of scope, burden on the practitioner, level of sophistication, etc.) Human medicine and veterinary medicine are not on the same playing field, and to be honest, they shouldn't be. You are working on someones cat, not their child. If you have a problem with that then you should go into human medicine.

The only people who are sensitive to this distinction are pre-vet and vet students; none of my colleagues worry about whether they're viewed as doctors or wither people think we are on par with MDs... because once you graduate and start to treat patients, you will realize the people who are taking advantage of your services don't think like this. Veterinarians will always be able to make the argument their status within society is undervalued by virtue of our compensation, attitudes by some people towards our profession etc. Griping about the fact that we are grouped in a Health bracket vs. Medicine bracket is petty and unproductive.

Don't know why you have to be so confrontational?
I agree with DVMD, and I think many other vet students and veterinarians will, too. It's not like she is throwing a **** fit about the way society views vet med. Rather, she (and I) are just skeptical of why vet med is in "health" and not "medicine". My SO is in human medicine, and I see a lot more similarities than I do differences. vet med does not equal human medicine, but they should be grouped as "medicine"
Vets do much more than private practice, as I'm sure you know, but the public does not. The public does not understand the importance of vets in public health, food safety, research, and even human medicine. The more the public/clients understand our profession, the more respect we will get in private practice, which may lead to better client compliance to pet health care and understanding of prices/costs of veterinary care.
 

julieDVM

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I think I just highlighted the main point I was trying to make... people automatically see vets as the people who fix Fluffy, which for the majority of graduates is true. And I will not argue about the value of pets in society vs. the value of people, everyone has a different opinion on that and I am not even going to reveal my opinion.

I am however going to say that vets are needed to be seen in more than just the "fix Fluffy" view. There are vets doing current medical research on animals that will eventually be or have been implemented into human medicine and have vastly improved the lives of people. So to say that vets are not at the level of human doctors (while it may be true in some areas) is not always true. Vets are doing research and working in public health along side human medical doctors to not only advance veterinary medicine but to also advance human lives too and this is what needs to be seen by the general public that most people do not even know exists.

And yes, I have seen quite a bit of private practice within vet med. I have been screamed at by clients telling me that vet med is not anywhere near the scope of human med and I have also seen clients who literally put their pets on the same level as their kids and would gladly take out a second mortgage on their house to save them. Everyone has a different viewpoint, but as it stands currently vet med is severely misunderstood by the general public.


The number of veterinarians doing research, participating in public health, regulatory medicine etc. pale in comparison to the number of practitioners in general medical practice. The public view that veterinarians 'fix fluffy' is not really that far off... because most of us are out there fixing fluffy. Most medical doctors out there are treating patients - not performing research. If you ask the public what a human doctor does, most people will answer: fix people. Most people wouldn't answer: do research to advance medical science.

Members of the profession recognize the importance of medical research and the interdisciplinary approach to medicine. The general public is never going to appreciate this because the value of these skills are not immediately apparent to them. Furthermore, veterinarians are never going to be the practitioners delivering those medical breakthroughs to help people with disease... the MDs get all the credit for that and that isn't going to change. Just because the public does not see how veterinarians fill this role, does that mean they undervalue us? I would argue not.

The value of veterinary services manifests in what the majority of our profession is charged with doing: fixing fluffy. If we want to increase our value within society we need to continue to educate clients on why they should bring fluffy to see us, and we need to decrease the number of veterinarians entering the market place so our services aren't continually diluted by competition.
 

julieDVM

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Don't know why you have to be so confrontational?
I agree with DVMD, and I think many other vet students and veterinarians will, too. It's not like she is throwing a **** fit about the way society views vet med. Rather, she (and I) are just skeptical of why vet med is in "health" and not "medicine". My SO is in human medicine, and I see a lot more similarities than I do differences. vet med does not equal human medicine, but they should be grouped as "medicine"
Vets do much more than private practice, as I'm sure you know, but the public does not. The public does not understand the importance of vets in public health, food safety, research, and even human medicine. The more the public/clients understand our profession, the more respect we will get in private practice, which may lead to better client compliance to pet health care and understanding of prices/costs of veterinary care.

Writing letters to the paper complaining about why veterinary medicine isn't grouped with medicine epitomizes confrontational.

My husband is a human surgeon and i am a veterinary surgeon... our professions are very different.

I really dont think increasing public awareness of our role in research, public health or human medicine will increase our value in private practice. It wont hurt for people to know we do these things, but private practice is all about treating patients and economics. People really don't care about the academic side to our profession, they care about getting efficient, quality care for their animals. It sad, but true.
 

DVMDream

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The number of veterinarians doing research, participating in public health, regulatory medicine etc. pale in comparison to the number of practitioners in general medical practice. The public view that veterinarians 'fix fluffy' is not really that far off... because most of us are out there fixing fluffy. Most medical doctors out there are treating patients - not performing research. If you ask the public what a human doctor does, most people will answer: fix people. Most people wouldn't answer: do research to advance medical science.

Members of the profession recognize the importance of medical research and the interdisciplinary approach to medicine. The general public is never going to appreciate this because the value of these skills are not immediately apparent to them. Furthermore, veterinarians are never going to be the practitioners delivering those medical breakthroughs to help people with disease... the MDs get all the credit for that and that isn't going to change. Just because the public does not see how veterinarians fill this role, does that mean they undervalue us? I would argue not.

The value of veterinary services manifests in what the majority of our profession is charged with doing: fixing fluffy. If we want to increase our value within society we need to continue to educate clients on why they should bring fluffy to see us, and we need to decrease the number of veterinarians entering the market place so our services aren't continually diluted by competition.

Why do you think that will never change? And having the attitude that it will never change isn't a very good attitude. We need to MAKE it change. We need people to see the profession for what it is.... another MEDICAL profession.

About the public undervaluing us... they even undervalue the fact that we use MEDICINE to "save Fluffy".... see my previous post about the client that was appalled that the vet was suggesting gasp: actual medical treatment for his cat.... and how he was under the impression that we can wave some magic wand and cure things.

I agree we need to decrease the number of vets entering the market, I have said that numerous times. And you have finally agreed there at the end that if we want to increase our value in society then we need to educate the public on why they should be seeing us.... I think a good way of educating society would be to show them, that really, we are NOT that different than human medicine (unless my notes here at vet school explaining that "this also occurs in humans" are just lying). The only differences between the two are in: years of education received (this is only if you choose general practice as a vet, seeing as you have resident as your status that implies to me that you will be receiving just as many years and just as much training as a human doctor) and the societal value placed on our patients.

The bottom line is that our debt:income ratio is much too large. This is a product of the fact that we are trained like human doctors and so it costs a school just as much to train a vet student as it would a medical student but we do not make near as much... now I am not going to get into an argument about if vets should make the equivalent as human doctors (I would say no they shouldn't) but there does need to be something done about this ratio... and I doubt it will be in the debt department so somehow the income needs to increase. I think if we were to educate the public more about vet med and what we actually go through that they might be a bit more willing to spend a little extra to "fix Fluffy'. Maybe not, but it is better than just saying, "meh. We aren't really MEDICAL professionals and we don't equate to human med, so it won't work."

There are many people in the public that think vet med is a two year degree and that we don't really learn that much... this needs to be changed. The public needs to see what we really go through....

Ok, I have to go study about the cardiorespiratory system now AND learn about species differences as well and I am sure there will be more human values and figures in my notes as well... there have been some in every section so far... I wonder if I will need to know those for the exam? Will be interesting to find out.
 

psilovethomas

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My husband is a human surgeon and i am a veterinary surgeon... our professions are very different.

Well, duh. But in the scope of things, not singling out specialties, we have a common goal and training, of which clients need to be aware of. And that goal is not to make money like most people think it is. (and you can say whatever you want about how medical school is so much more in depth, blah blah, so it's harder, but have you been to med school?)

I disagree with a lot of what you have to say, so to each his own. You need to stand up for your profession, actively defend it, and take pride in being a veterinarian. We need strength during this tough time. I see none of that in your posts.
 

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Well, duh. But in the scope of things, not singling out specialties, we have a common goal and training, of which clients need to be aware of. And that goal is not to make money like most people think it is. (and you can say whatever you want about how medical school is so much more in depth, blah blah, so it's harder, but have you been to med school?)

I disagree with a lot of what you have to say, so to each his own. You need to stand up for your profession, actively defend it, and take pride in being a veterinarian. We need strength during this tough time. I see none of that in your posts.


I did not attend medical school. My husband, however, did. He went through vet school just as much as I went through med school. So I have a pretty good understanding about what they learned about (and how little our profession knows in comparison to human medicine). There is zero question as to whether they learn more detail then we do. They definitely do. Furthermore, his residency and my residency were from two different worlds. Imagine this: I fix a PSS in a 1 year old yorkie who develops post-operative portal hypertension and dies. Its a known complication, but I feel terribly none the less. My husband fixes a PSS in a new-born who develops post-operative portal hypertension and dies. I couldn't even imagine how that feels as a doctor. I think as veterinarians we lose sight of the big picture sometimes.


You can disagree all you want. Talk to me after you have spent a year in practice... the rosy glasses will be broken, your bank account will be empty and you will have a very different view of our proud, nobel profession.
 

WhtsThFrequency

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There are many people in the public that think vet med is a two year degree and that we don't really learn that much... this needs to be changed. The public needs to see what we really go through....

Why? It's not going to raise our salaries or make people pay more for their animal's treatment. Who the fawk cares if the public thinks most vets work in small animal private practice (um, they DO)? Yes, there are vets in public health and research etc, and the public doesn't know about them - but this is true about ANY field.

And again, I think that these jerks who look down on us are in the minority. I have no idea where you are getting this "many people" stuff unless you live in a weird area. I have never been greeted with anything but admiration and respect by everyone whom I have told I'm a vet. The next thing out of their mouths is usually "Oh wow!" and then something about how hard it is to get into vet school, how the vet saved their animal, etc.

The public has messed-up ideas about TONS of professions. How much do you guys know about every other profession and all the directions you could go with x y or z degree? Do you know off the top of your head how much schooling dentists, podiatrists, pharmacists (hell, I only just found out a few years ago that pharmacists do residencies!) and all the various other healthcare careers need? Public ignorance is a fact of life; we have other things to worry about than whether the dude at the gas station thinks vet med is a 2 year degree.
 

WhtsThFrequency

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Well, duh. But in the scope of things, not singling out specialties, we have a common goal and training, of which clients need to be aware of. And that goal is not to make money like most people think it is. (and you can say whatever you want about how medical school is so much more in depth, blah blah, so it's harder, but have you been to med school?)

I disagree with a lot of what you have to say, so to each his own. You need to stand up for your profession, actively defend it, and take pride in being a veterinarian. We need strength during this tough time. I see none of that in your posts.

Medical school IS more in depth. Period. They have more technology, more advanced diagnostics and techniques, more well-funded research, you name it. Arguing that point is laughable. They study one species and study the motherloving hell out of it.

Is it harder? No, because veterinary medicine make up for the depth with BREADTH. Many medical students tell me they have no idea how I remember all the species differences.

Two different things.
 

DVMDream

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I did not attend medical school. My husband, however, did. He went through vet school just as much as I went through med school. So I have a pretty good understanding about what they learned about (and how little our profession knows in comparison to human medicine). There is zero question as to whether they learn more detail then we do. They definitely do. Furthermore, his residency and my residency were from two different worlds. Imagine this: I fix a PSS in a 1 year old yorkie who develops post-operative portal hypertension and dies. Its a known complication, but I feel terribly none the less. My husband fixes a PSS in a new-born who develops post-operative portal hypertension and dies. I couldn't even imagine how that feels as a doctor. I think as veterinarians we lose sight of the big picture sometimes.


You can disagree all you want. Talk to me after you have spent a year in practice... the rosy glasses will be broken, your bank account will be empty and you will have a very different view of our proud, nobel profession.


So... what is the point that you are making here? It seems to me that your argument is that somehow, as vets, we should not feel anywhere near as upset when we lose patients as a human doctor should when they lose patients.... I will very, very, very strongly disagree with this.

I worked as vet tech for 7 years before I came to vet school and while it is nowhere near the same as being a vet, I can tell you that I was devastated when the puppy that I had provided nursing care for all day, finally took it into surgery, monitored the surgery on it, got it through surgery, to turn around and see it not breathing about 40 minutes later (mind you between the vet and I that stayed there until 5 hours post-closing, the puppy was not without someone checking on it every minute), trying CPR, getting her back for a few seconds, and then ultimately losing her.... I have many stories like this of pets that I have been taking care of as just a tech that we have lost that I definitely feel horrible about. I have seen vets that I work with in tears after losing a patient they tried so hard to save. No, I don't think we should feel and less upset as vets losing patients than as a human doctor losing a patient... that is an absolutely absurd comment to make. What "bigger picture" are you claiming that vets are losing sight of?
 

LetItSnow

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Why? It's not going to raise our salaries or make people pay more for their animal's treatment. Who the fawk cares if the public thinks most vets work in small animal private practice (um, they DO)? Yes, there are vets in public health and research etc, and the public doesn't know about them - but this is true about ANY field.

And again, I think that these jerks who look down on us are in the minority. I have no idea where you are getting this "many people" stuff unless you live in a weird area. I have never been greeted with anything but admiration and respect by everyone whom I have told I'm a vet. The next thing out of their mouths is usually "Oh wow!" and then something about how hard it is to get into vet school, how the vet saved their animal, etc.

The public has messed-up ideas about TONS of professions. How much do you guys know about every other profession and all the directions you could go with x y or z degree? Do you know off the top of your head how much schooling dentists, podiatrists, pharmacists (hell, I only just found out a few years ago that pharmacists do residencies!) and all the various other healthcare careers need? Public ignorance is a fact of life; we have other things to worry about than whether the dude at the gas station thinks vet med is a 2 year degree.

Eh. Except most other professions (with some obvious examples we can all think of) are reasonable compensated based on their educational cost and/or work effort.

I think it *would* be useful for the general public to understand that vet med has a broader scope than companion animal medicine. The more respect a profession engenders, the more likely people are to value it; I have to think those go hand in hand.

And my experience has been more in line with DVMD - as often as not people assume a veterinarian goes through two years of school to learn to give shots; there's a presumption that the degree of medical competency is less than an M.D.

If people understood the expertise was similar, they probably would value the service more and be more comfortable with the cost. But if they assume it's an easy two-year degree, then it's no surprise that they balk at paying what many of our services cost.

Perhaps your experience with people versus mine is a reflection on location. I don't know. I certainly believe you, but I also know that my experience has been much more in line with what DVMD said.
 

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Veterinary medicine is nothing like human medicine (in terms of scope, burden on the practitioner, level of sophistication, etc.) Human medicine and veterinary medicine are not on the same playing field, and to be honest, they shouldn't be.


I'm up to my neck in the generalizations being tossed around here.



Talk to me after you have spent a year in practice... the rosy glasses will be broken, your bank account will be empty and you will have a very different view of our proud, nobel profession.

Hey guys, I think someone's a little bitter.

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julieDVM

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Why do you think that will never change? And having the attitude that it will never change isn't a very good attitude. We need to MAKE it change. We need people to see the profession for what it is.... another MEDICAL profession.

About the public undervaluing us... they even undervalue the fact that we use MEDICINE to "save Fluffy".... see my previous post about the client that was appalled that the vet was suggesting gasp: actual medical treatment for his cat.... and how he was under the impression that we can wave some magic wand and cure things.

I agree we need to decrease the number of vets entering the market, I have said that numerous times. And you have finally agreed there at the end that if we want to increase our value in society then we need to educate the public on why they should be seeing us.... I think a good way of educating society would be to show them, that really, we are NOT that different than human medicine (unless my notes here at vet school explaining that "this also occurs in humans" are just lying). The only differences between the two are in: years of education received (this is only if you choose general practice as a vet, seeing as you have resident as your status that implies to me that you will be receiving just as many years and just as much training as a human doctor) and the societal value placed on our patients.

The bottom line is that our debt:income ratio is much too large. This is a product of the fact that we are trained like human doctors and so it costs a school just as much to train a vet student as it would a medical student but we do not make near as much... now I am not going to get into an argument about if vets should make the equivalent as human doctors (I would say no they shouldn't) but there does need to be something done about this ratio... and I doubt it will be in the debt department so somehow the income needs to increase. I think if we were to educate the public more about vet med and what we actually go through that they might be a bit more willing to spend a little extra to "fix Fluffy'. Maybe not, but it is better than just saying, "meh. We aren't really MEDICAL professionals and we don't equate to human med, so it won't work."

There are many people in the public that think vet med is a two year degree and that we don't really learn that much... this needs to be changed. The public needs to see what we really go through....

Ok, I have to go study about the cardiorespiratory system now AND learn about species differences as well and I am sure there will be more human values and figures in my notes as well... there have been some in every section so far... I wonder if I will need to know those for the exam? Will be interesting to find out.


I really believe that the number of people who thing a DVM is a 2 year associates degree are vastly in the minority.

You are right - i did a residency and have been practicing as a specialist for the past couple years. My husband is also a MD and a specialist. Our training may be almost equivalent in the number of years, but the level of detail and sophistication in our training is very different. We are not even close in veterinary medicine to what is being done in human medicine. Nor should we be. A lot of the procedures my husband does I wouldn't even dream of putting an animal through. I think we use the knowledge we have to the best of its ability to help animals in an ethical manner. Should we be doing kidney transplants or heart transplants. Absolutely not. Never.

We need to stop thinking we are a bunch of MDs who treat a different subset of species. We also need to drop the attitude that we learn just as much as MDs do, multiplied by 5 because we learn 5 different species. Our jobs are not the same. Nor should they be.


You are absolutely right about our income:hungover:ebt ratio. I think our grads are so brutally underpaid that its criminal. The Canadians train a fraction of the number of vets we do here in the US, and their positions are heavily government subsidized. They only have 5 schools and very limited enrolment. One of my resident mates was a Canadian; he paid 7500 per year in tuition for 4 years. He graduated with zero debt. We are obviously doing something wrong here in the US.

If we want the public to value our services, there needs to be less veterinarians out there such that we create a demand for what we offer. If there is a vet on every corner offering services at bargain rates, how do we expect people to value what we do?
 

DVMDream

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Why? It's not going to raise our salaries or make people pay more for their animal's treatment. Who the fawk cares if the public thinks most vets work in small animal private practice (um, they DO)? Yes, there are vets in public health and research etc, and the public doesn't know about them - but this is true about ANY field.

And again, I think that these jerks who look down on us are in the minority. I have no idea where you are getting this "many people" stuff unless you live in a weird area. I have never been greeted with anything but admiration and respect by everyone whom I have told I'm a vet. The next thing out of their mouths is usually "Oh wow!" and then something about how hard it is to get into vet school, how the vet saved their animal, etc.

The public has messed-up ideas about TONS of professions. How much do you guys know about every other profession and all the directions you could go with x y or z degree? Do you know off the top of your head how much schooling dentists, podiatrists, pharmacists (hell, I only just found out a few years ago that pharmacists do residencies!) and all the various other healthcare careers need? Public ignorance is a fact of life; we have other things to worry about than whether the dude at the gas station thinks vet med is a 2 year degree.

Meh... then AZ must just be one of those effed up places, because I ran into a lot of clients that did not value the work of vets. So, maybe you really are just lucky.

Oh..... I already said in one of my posts that most vets go into private practice and my mentioning that the public needs to know that vet med is more than a 2 year degree was off the same suggestions of others saying that we need to educate the public better about the education that goes into vet med. Quite a few people realize what human med doctors go through for education, but little know about vet med. Do I think it will help us to make more? Probably not (oh wait I said that already too, in a previous post.)
 

WhtsThFrequency

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Eh. Except most other professions (with some obvious examples we can all think of) are reasonable compensated based on their educational cost and/or work effort.

I think it *would* be useful for the general public to understand that vet med has a broader scope than companion animal medicine. The more respect a profession engenders, the more likely people are to value it; I have to think those go hand in hand.

And my experience has been more in line with DVMDream - as often as not people assume a veterinarian goes through two years of school to learn to give shots; there's a presumption that the level of medical expertise is less than an M.D.

If people understood the expertise was similar, they probably would value the service more and be more comfortable with the cost. But if they assume it's an easy two-year degree, then it's no surprise that they balk at paying what many of our services cost.

Ok....I may get flamed for this, but.....yes. The average GP veterinarian often DOES have less medical expertise than the average MD. We are shoved out the door after one clinical year - they have anywhere from 3-5 years extra training on top of med school (which is often more clinically-based than our 3-1 model).

Now....before anyone gets pissy....are veterinarians more adaptable? Absolutely. Because of the species variation we see, we have to be. Wr have a ton of knowledge and skills than MDs don't and a lot of skills that they do. But no, we do NOT have the detail in our studies of human medical doctors. We are meant to be competent at many things and have to sacrifice depth to do it.

I do not mean this in any way to put our profession down. Our field simply does not have the money or time to pursue the technology that human medicine does (which hadsled to much more detailed diagnostics, more complex therapy, etc). Most people in medical school I know, as well as medical residents, etc are extremely respectful of vets.
 

LetItSnow

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Ok....I may get flamed for this, but.....yes. The average GP veterinarian often DOES have less medical expertise than the average MD. We are shoved out the door after one clinical year - they have anywhere from 3-5 years extra training on top of med school (which is often more clinically-based than our 3-1 model).

No argument from me. But I think they're more on the same level than they aren't. At least, when what we're talking about is the public perception (that I see - I recognize that you disagree) that MDs are 'here' and veterinarians are 'two-year trained vaccination experts'.
 

DVMDream

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I really believe that the number of people who thing a DVM is a 2 year associates degree are vastly in the minority.

You are right - i did a residency and have been practicing as a specialist for the past couple years. My husband is also a MD and a specialist. Our training may be almost equivalent in the number of years, but the level of detail and sophistication in our training is very different. We are not even close in veterinary medicine to what is being done in human medicine. Nor should we be. A lot of the procedures my husband does I wouldn't even dream of putting an animal through. I think we use the knowledge we have to the best of its ability to help animals in an ethical manner. Should we be doing kidney transplants or heart transplants. Absolutely not. Never.

We need to stop thinking we are a bunch of MDs who treat a different subset of species. We also need to drop the attitude that we learn just as much as MDs do, multiplied by 5 because we learn 5 different species. Our jobs are not the same. Nor should they be.


You are absolutely right about our income:hungover:ebt ratio. I think our grads are so brutally underpaid that its criminal. The Canadians train a fraction of the number of vets we do here in the US, and their positions are heavily government subsidized. They only have 5 schools and very limited enrolment. One of my resident mates was a Canadian; he paid 7500 per year in tuition for 4 years. He graduated with zero debt. We are obviously doing something wrong here in the US.

If we want the public to value our services, there needs to be less veterinarians out there such that we create a demand for what we offer. If there is a vet on every corner offering services at bargain rates, how do we expect people to value what we do?

Hmmm..... speaking of transplants... ahh... nevermind... (by the way vets were a big part the starting of organ transplants, but who cares what vets do? Not like it helps human med at all.... )

Oh, and there are kidney transplants for animals... it is really expensive, but does exist.
 

kernel

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Ok....I may get flamed for this, but.....yes. The average GP veterinarian often DOES have less medical expertise than the average MD. We are shoved out the door after one clinical year - they have anywhere from 3-5 years extra training on top of med school (which is often more clinically-based than our 3-1 model).

Now....before anyone gets pissy....are veterinarians more adaptable? Absolutely. Because of the species variation we see, we have to be. Wr have a ton of knowledge and skills than MDs don't and a lot of skills that they do. But no, we do NOT have the detail in our studies of human medical doctors. We are meant to be competent at many things and have to sacrifice depth to do it.

I agree. That said, I think it takes a certain caliber person to be a successful veterinarian; one needs to be more "adaptable," as you say.
 

psilovethomas

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Medical school IS more in depth. Period. They have more technology, more advanced diagnostics and techniques, more well-funded research, you name it. Arguing that point is laughable. They study one species and study the motherloving hell out of it.

Is it harder? No, because veterinary medicine make up for the depth with BREADTH. Many medical students tell me they have no idea how I remember all the species differences.

Two different things.

I am not making the point that they do NOT learn the depth- I know they do for the points you stated. I was going for the difficulty aspect based on breadth.."humans: male/female..must be so hard!"
 

julieDVM

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So... what is the point that you are making here? It seems to me that your argument is that somehow, as vets, we should not feel anywhere near as upset when we lose patients as a human doctor should when they lose patients.... I will very, very, very strongly disagree with this.

I worked as vet tech for 7 years before I came to vet school and while it is nowhere near the same as being a vet, I can tell you that I was devastated when the puppy that I had provided nursing care for all day, finally took it into surgery, monitored the surgery on it, got it through surgery, to turn around and see it not breathing about 40 minutes later (mind you between the vet and I that stayed there until 5 hours post-closing, the puppy was not without someone checking on it every minute), trying CPR, getting her back for a few seconds, and then ultimately losing her.... I have many stories like this of pets that I have been taking care of as just a tech that we have lost that I definitely feel horrible about. I have seen vets that I work with in tears after losing a patient they tried so hard to save. No, I don't think we should feel and less upset as vets losing patients than as a human doctor losing a patient... that is an absolutely absurd comment to make. What "bigger picture" are you claiming that vets are losing sight of?

I'm not saying that losing a patient is harder for a doctor then for a vet... but the implications are WAY different. The bigger picture i'm talking about here is we treat animals, not people. Do you really think that losing a dog is the same as losing a person? There's absolutely no comparison. MDs have a level of responsibility that you and I cant even imagine.
 
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WhtsThFrequency

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Ironically (or not), while you were quoting my original post, I changed the word 'expertise' to 'competency'. Heh.

That said, I think it's incorrect to equate depth of capability with expertise.

Yes, capability and expertise are not synonymous. Someone smart enough to do vet school is smart enough to do med school, and vice versa. I was focusing more on the actual training.

I do fear that often we as vets and veterinary students fall into a sort of inferiority complex thing that is only made worse by our (truly) awful salary-debt ratio.
 

LetItSnow

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Do you really think that losing a dog is the same as losing a person? There's absolutely no comparison. MDs have a level of responsibility that you and I cant even imagine.

I think that to some owners it is emotionally exactly the same as losing a person. I think the research into grieving bears that out. There's certainly no comparison with regard to other issues (financial liability, etc.), though. I'm not sure "level of responsibility" is great language, because it implies that it's ok to be "irresponsible" as a vet.
 

DVMDream

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I'm not saying that losing a patient is harder for a doctor then for a vet... but the implications are WAY different. The bigger picture i'm talking about here is we treat animals, not people. Do you really think that losing a dog is the same as losing a person? There's absolutely no comparison. MDs have a level of responsibility that you and I cant even imagine.

And this is where we get into the value that society places on humans vs. animals.... I won't get into that.... but this is partly why I think human doctors DO and SHOULD make more than vets, but vets should still make much more money than they currently do... they are way undercompensated for their knowledge and training.

Every single person in society is going to put a different value on animals than they do on people, I know some people where people >>>>>>> animals, I know some where yeah people > animals, I know some that say this people = animals and I even know a few that would do this people < animals.


You sound really bitter about having chosen vet med over human med though. Perhaps it is just me... but that is how your posts are sounding and that vets should just stop trying to do anything to get any value placed on the profession because they don't deserve it, but MD's do.
 

julieDVM

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And this is where we get into the value that society places on humans vs. animals.... I won't get into that.... but this is partly why I think human doctors DO and SHOULD make more than vets, but vets should still make much more money than they currently do... they are way undercompensated for their knowledge and training.

Every single person in society is going to put a different value on animals than they do on people, I know some people where people >>>>>>> animals, I know some where yeah people > animals, I know some that say this people = animals and I even know a few that would do this people < animals.


You sound really bitter about having chosen vet med over human med though. Perhaps it is just me... but that is how your posts are sounding and that vets should just stop trying to do anything to get any value placed on the profession because they don't deserve it, but MD's do.

I'm actually not bitter at all. I love my job. And i'm not saying that our profession doesn't deserve respect for what we do. I do not believe that we are equivalent to MDs and it REALLY irritates me when I hear pre-vets and vet students complain about how the two professions are equal and we should be viewed by the public as MDs for animals.

As for placing value in our profession? I think that once people get out of school and into the trench, your views will change on how value is placed on our profession... because I really believe the majority of people think what we do is wonderful. Are they willing to pay for it? thats a different story... Veterinarians have created an economic disaster for ourselves... its not up to the public to rectify that - as a profession we are going to have to make some tough choices going forward, and I think it starts by decreasing enrolment and the number of grads entering the market.
 

DVMDream

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I'm actually not bitter at all. I love my job. And i'm not saying that our profession doesn't deserve respect for what we do. I do not believe that we are equivalent to MDs and it REALLY irritates me when I hear pre-vets and vet students complain about how the two professions are equal and we should be viewed by the public as MDs for animals.

As for placing value in our profession? I think that once people get out of school and into the trench, your views will change on how value is placed on our profession... because I really believe the majority of people think what we do is wonderful. Are they willing to pay for it? thats a different story... Veterinarians have created an economic disaster for ourselves... its not up to the public to rectify that - as a profession we are going to have to make some tough choices going forward, and I think it starts by decreasing enrolment and the number of grads entering the market.

My question: I spent 7 years working as a vet tech, do you really think that once I step into the exam room as the vet those clients are suddenly going to have a different view of vet med in front of me as a vet than they did in front of me as a tech?

I agree about the last part and have posted about that numerous times already in this thread... I am not going to repeat it, those posts are on the thread for people to read. I still think we could benefit from the public having even a *slightly* better view of the education that vets do receive, but perhaps I am alone in that thought.
 

julieDVM

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My question: I spent 7 years working as a vet tech, do you really think that once I step into the exam room as the vet those clients are suddenly going to have a different view of vet med in front of me as a vet than they did in front of me as a tech?

.

Yeah actually I do. Its completely different.
 

DVMDream

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Yeah actually I do. Its completely different.

:laugh:

Ok, then, which view point that the client spins is really the one that they believe?

The one that they tell the tech, or the attitude that they give the vet as soon as the vet enters the room... because their attitudes do definitely change between the two...

Clients so often say one thing to the tech and another to the vet... I think the true colors of the client's perception about what they are *really* thinking are often not voiced to the vet but to the support staff. (I have actually seen this many, many times).
 

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My question: I spent 7 years working as a vet tech, do you really think that once I step into the exam room as the vet those clients are suddenly going to have a different view of vet med in front of me as a vet than they did in front of me as a tech?

I think its totally different. The interaction between clients and the doctor vs techs is very different. How many times as a student have you started an appointment, you go back to your attending clinician with the history etc, and when the attending clinician walks into the exam room the whole dynamic changes?

You are going to be treated completely differently as a DVM and peoples attitudes are going to be very different.
 
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bunnity

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Agreed. For research purposes, that's different. But for clinical treatment....that is a whole nother kettle of fish. I know Penn does it, but I cannot justify it.

This is potentially another whole kettle of fish, but I've seen the surgery and the pre- and post- care and I don't see anything objectionable about it. I'm a shelter med person (talk about a different type of medicine than what they do for humans, haha) so I'm not big into radical treatments but I really didn't find the kidney transplant bad at all. I think it's a lot more humane than other "go all the way" treatments I've seen and it's really not a different recovery or experience for the animal, than any other major abdominal surgery.

I think it can get a little questionable ethics-wise when it comes to sourcing donors, but the program we have here selects young, healthy, friendly shelter cats that would likely be put to sleep at our city shelter, and the donor cat is always adopted by the recipient cat's family. I think if I was the cat I would rather spend a year being spoiled by nurses, have a nephrectomy, and live out my life in a home, than sit in a metal cage for a few weeks, get a URI, and get the needle at the shelter.
 

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Agreed. For research purposes, that's different. But for clinical treatment....that is a whole nother kettle of fish. I know Penn does it, but I cannot justify it.
Why shouldn't there be kidney transplants out of curiosity? I am just curious because I know absolutely NOTHING about kidney transplants and to me if someone wants to spend a huge amount of money to do kidney transplants then why not? I have heard of one clinic in Chicago that does it and I heard that they make you adopt the cat/dog that you get the kidney from for you own pet. I am not trying to be confrontational about this or anything. I am truly just curious and want to learn more about why you guys don't think it should be done whether it be for ethics or some other reason.
 

DVMDream

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I think its totally different. The interaction between clients and the doctor vs techs is very different. How many times as a student have you started an appointment, you go back to your attending clinician with the history etc, and when the attending clinician walks into the exam room the whole dynamic changes?

You are going to be treated completely differently as a DVM and peoples attitudes are going to be very different.

Yes, I agree, clients act and treat the vet much differently than the support staff....

My question was: Which of the two "attitudes" is the one that is of how the client *truly* feels... the one in front of the vet? OR the one in front of the supporting staff?
 

julieDVM

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:laugh:.

Clients so often say one thing to the tech and another to the vet... I think the true colors of the client's perception about what they are *really* thinking are often not voiced to the vet but to the support staff. (I have actually seen this many, many times).

Of course you have. My mistake.
 

WhtsThFrequency

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This is potentially another whole kettle of fish, but I've seen the surgery and the pre- and post- care and I don't see anything objectionable about it. I'm a shelter med person (talk about a different type of medicine than what they do for humans, haha) so I'm not big into radical treatments but I really didn't find the kidney transplant bad at all. I think it's a lot more humane than other "go all the way" treatments I've seen and it's really not a different recovery or experience for the animal, than any other major abdominal surgery.

I think it can get a little questionable ethics-wise when it comes to sourcing donors, but the program we have here selects young, healthy, friendly shelter cats that would likely be put to sleep at our city shelter, and the donor cat is always adopted by the recipient cat's family. I think if I was the cat I would rather spend a year being spoiled by nurses, have a nephrectomy, and live out my life in a home, than sit in a metal cage for a few weeks, get a URI, and get the needle at the shelter.

Why shouldn't there be kidney transplants out of curiosity? I am just curious because I know absolutely NOTHING about kidney transplants and to me if someone wants to spend a huge amount of money to do kidney transplants then why not? I have heard of one clinic in Chicago that does it and I heard that they make you adopt the cat/dog that you get the kidney from for you own pet. I am not trying to be confrontational about this or anything. I am truly just curious and want to learn more about why you guys don't think it should be done whether it be for ethics or some other reason.


My objection is indeed about the donor process.

You are essentially taking a healthy animal (and what if there are no good organ matches at the shelter? Some people volunteer their own cats from the same household which I find terrible) and removing its kidney. You are doing this to MAYBE increase the lifespan of an already old and/or sick cat by a tiny bit You are essentially screwing over the other cat, because when it gets kidney failure (as it inevitably will, as a cat) it can and likely will go downhill much more quickly (and painfully...renal failure cats are some of the saddest things ever) than if it had its other kidney to help compensate. I don't care if it gets adopted, it is still very ethically questionable.
 
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cdndvm

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My objection is indeed about the donor process.

You are essentially taking a healthy animal (and what if there are no good organ matches at the shelter? Some people volunteer their own cats from the same household which I find terrible) and removing its kidney. You are doing this to MAYBE increase the lifespan of an already old and sick cat by a tiny bit You are essentially screwing over the other cat, because when it gets kidney failure (as it inevitably will, as a cat) it can and likely will go downhill much more quickly than if it had its other kidney to help compensate. I don't care if it gets adopted, it is still very ethically questionable.

I completely agree with this
 

DVMDream

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Of course you have. My mistake.

Obviously, you don't believe me.

But it is true.... and I really would like some opinions... which attitude portrayed by the client is most sincere? The one they show to the vet or the one they show to the tech/receptionist?

I have been in with absolutely outright rude clients, go back to the vet go over the history, then go back into the exam room with the vet and the attitude changes completely. You would be amazed the things that clients will tell a tech/receptionist but won't dare say to the vet.
 

LetItSnow

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You are essentially screwing over the other cat, because when it gets kidney failure (as it inevitably will, as a cat) it can and likely will go downhill much more quickly than if it had its other kidney to help compensate. I don't care if it gets adopted, it is still very ethically questionable.

(I know nothing about the process other than what bunnity's post said, so.....)

I don't get how you're screwing over the cat that was going to get euthanized. It's better for it to get euthanized? (Genuine question, no snark intended.)
 

bunnity

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My objection is indeed about the donor process.

You are essentially taking a healthy animal (and what if there are no good organ matches at the shelter? Some people volunteer their own cats from the same household which I find terrible) and removing its kidney. You are doing this to MAYBE increase the lifespan of an already old and sick cat by a tiny bit You are essentially screwing over the other cat, because when it gets kidney failure (as it inevitably will, as a cat) it can and likely will go downhill much more quickly than if it had its other kidney to help compensate. I don't care if it gets adopted, it is still very ethically questionable.

Yeah, I get where you're coming from.

To clarify, there are like 300 cats at any given time at this shelter so maintaining a pool of matchable donors isn't an issue. Roughly 40-50% of the cats that enter this shelter are PTS.

We just had an 11 month old cat who almost had a transplant... he ate lilies and didn't urinate for 2 weeks. He was on dialysis (wayyy harder on the cat than the surgery, and perhaps another discussion) and was scheduled for transplant when he finally started urinating on his own. But certainly a cat that would have put a lot of miles on that new kidney :)

And I agree that the donor cat is going to get hit harder with any kidney issues, but I think that's kind of a moot point if it's kidney failure at age 12 versus euthanasia at age 1. If it's an owned, somewhat older animal, I think it's a lot more questionable.

I think your opinion is totally legit though. I think a big part of my being okay with it is my familiarity with the particular shelter these cats come from and knowing how crappy their chances are there.
 
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cdndvm

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(I know nothing about the process other than what bunnity's post said, so.....)

I don't get how you're screwing over the cat that was going to get euthanized. It's better for it to get euthanized? (Genuine question, no snark intended.)

Many people would argue its more ethical to euthanaize a cat then put a perfectly healthy animal through very invasive abdominal surgery, recovery and then predispose the donor to early renal disease (given they are so predisposed to it in the first place).
 

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Yeah, I get where you're coming from.

To clarify, there are like 300 cats at any given time at this shelter so maintaining a pool of matchable donors isn't an issue. Roughly 40-50% of the cats that enter this shelter are PTS.

We just had an 11 month old cat who almost had a transplant... he ate lilies and didn't urinate for 2 weeks. He was on dialysis (wayyy harder on the cat than the surgery, and perhaps another discussion) and was scheduled for transplant when he finally started urinating on his own. But certainly a cat that would have put a lot of miles on that new kidney :)

And I agree that the donor cat is going to get hit harder with any kidney issues, but I think that's kind of a moot point if it's kidney failure at age 12 versus euthanasia at age 1. If it's an owned, somewhat older animal, I think it's a lot more questionable.

I think your opinion is totally legit though. I think a big part of my being okay with it is my familiarity with the particular shelter these cats come from and knowing how crappy their chances are there.

Dialysis is a whole different ball game - another procedure I'm not sure we should be offering to veterinary patients.
 

LetItSnow

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Many people would argue its more ethical to euthanaize a cat then put a perfectly healthy animal through very invasive abdominal surgery, recovery and then predispose the donor to early renal disease (given they are so predisposed to it in the first place).

Would they argue that it's just as unethical to put the animal through a spay? That's equally as invasive. Just because it's a routine procedure doesn't make it less invasive.

But, I take your point. I guess, though, if I were in the to-be-euthanized cat's shoes, I'd personally opt for "lose a kidney," but ...
 

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Would they argue that it's just as unethical to put the animal through a spay? That's equally as invasive. Just because it's a routine procedure doesn't make it less invasive.

But, I take your point. I guess, though, if I were in the to-be-euthanized cat's shoes, I'd personally opt for "lose a kidney," but ...

The level of complexity in a spay vs. a nephrectomy (and the complication rate) are very different.
 

bunnity

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Many people would argue its more ethical to euthanaize a cat then put a perfectly healthy animal through very invasive abdominal surgery, recovery and then predispose the donor to early renal disease (given they are so predisposed to it in the first place).

If you had an owned cat that was otherwise healthy but needed a nephrectomy (trauma, ureteral obstruction, whatever) - would you euthanize the cat or would you do the nephrectomy? (and put the animal through a surgery, recovery, early renal disease).

I guess I don't see why it's any different to say if you have a cat that is otherwise healthy but needs a nephrectomy to live (aka it needs a ticket out of the shelter or it will die, which is 100% accurate here in the lovely city of Philadelphia) - wouldn't your answer be the same?
 

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If you had an owned cat that was otherwise healthy but needed a nephrectomy (trauma, ureteral obstruction, whatever) - would you euthanize the cat or would you do the nephrectomy? (and put the animal through a surgery, recovery, early renal disease).

I guess I don't see why it's any different to say if you have a cat that is otherwise healthy but needs a nephrectomy to live (aka it needs a ticket out of the shelter or it will die, which is 100% accurate here in the lovely city of Philadelphia) - wouldn't your answer be the same?

There is a very big distinction between a patient with a medical problem that requires a procedure to save its life, vs. a completely healthy cat that does not need surgery, and you doing surgery for the sake of adopting it out. I dont think kidney transplants should be used as a 'method of adoption.'

So yes, I would euthanize the shelter cat, and perform surgery on the first cat.
 

LetItSnow

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The level of complexity in a spay vs. a nephrectomy (and the complication rate) are very different.

First off, you said invasiveness, not complexity. And second, that seems pretty arbitrary. My response would be to say "Ok, what complication rate is acceptable, then?"

I dunno... I am absolutely not criticizing you, but the bottom line is that both are invasive procedures being performed on the animal. I'm not sure I buy that one is ok because it's "less complex"... I think if one is ok, the other probably is, too. I think it's just easy for us to say a spay is ok because it's so commonplace and routine.

Dunno. I'd have to think about it more. I really know nothing about it.
 

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First off, you said invasiveness, not complexity. And second, that seems pretty arbitrary. My response would be to say "Ok, what complication rate is acceptable, then?"

I dunno... I am absolutely not criticizing you, but the bottom line is that both are invasive procedures being performed on the animal. I'm not sure I buy that one is ok because it's "less complex"... I think if one is ok, the other probably is, too. I think it's just easy for us to say a spay is ok because it's so commonplace and routine.

Dunno. I'd have to think about it more. I really know nothing about it.

Most shelter spays are performed through a keyhole incision and take a shelter vet 10 minutes (on average).

Nephrectomy is performed through a much larger incision, requires much more extensive dissection, takes much longer, and has a different set of complications. So I do believe it is much more invasive.
 
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