Feb 17, 2012
91
0
Athens, GA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Currently I work in a lab, but instead of mice, I work with food animals. I really like my job (university worker) and this summer I have been invited to become even more involved with several projects. I really like the research we are doing; some is comparative medicine (developing animal models) while the other directly impacts food animal health. I love working with food animals and my original plan for vet school was to apply with Food as my focus, but I've become increasingly aware that the market may not support another food vet with tons of debt. However, becoming a Research Vet seems to require more schooling and I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that most research vets deal mostly with "little squeakers".

I guess I was wondering if there was anyone out there that might shed some light on the topic of Research Medicine. And yes, I've been to ACLM site and seen the power-point presentations :)

I just wanted to see if anyone had any first hand knowledge or experience.
 

SnowyRox

Pennwe c/o 2016
Jan 30, 2012
655
2
Status
Do you need a DVM to do the type of research you enjoy?

I worked with a DVM/PhD on a gila monster project who strongly regretted the DVM portion. He didn't feel as though it added to his career and was just a waste of time and money.

I tried really hard during undergrad to find an aspect of research I enjoyed enough to do a PhD because I think it's a more sensible career path. Obviously I failed b/c I'm headed to vet school this fall. lol. It just makes more sense to get paid for going to school instead of paying.
 
OP
pigsatuga
Feb 17, 2012
91
0
Athens, GA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Do you need a DVM to do the type of research you enjoy?

I worked with a DVM/PhD on a gila monster project who strongly regretted the DVM portion. He didn't feel as though it added to his career and was just a waste of time and money.

I tried really hard during undergrad to find an aspect of research I enjoyed enough to do a PhD because I think it's a more sensible career path. Obviously I failed b/c I'm headed to vet school this fall. lol. It just makes more sense to get paid for going to school instead of paying.
Well, the person I work under is not a DVM, so I guess you don't need to be one for that particular research :laugh:.

However, he doesn't actually work with the animals (or at least not much); he works in the lab and helps design the project around feedback from other professionals, such as the vet. He defers to the vet for the actual surgery, herd health plan, major animal care decisions etc etc. Then there are the animal care folks who make sure the animal's welfare is always considered, they are headed up by vets too I believe.

I do some lab work too, but the real enjoyment is taking care of the critters and making sure their quality of life is as good as it can be. Plus, the PhDs end up writing a lot of grant proposals, lol!
 
Jan 18, 2006
16,861
14,876
Status
Veterinarian
Honestly, yes. You need a PhD. A DVM really doesn't help you too much in specialized research. In order to do any sort of real research, as opposed to being an occasional consultant, you pretty much NEED a PhD in today's economy. Think about it - why would a lab pay extra for a DVM when they can just get a PhD who probably is more skilled that that particular area than a DVM, and pay them less? A DVM is a clinical degree - not a research degree. You can't possible expect to be as experienced and well-versed in a potential lab's research as a PhD, who likely has done a lot fo research similar to that lab already (hence why they would hire them). PIs want people with research experience. Take it from me - my goal is a career in academia with some research attached, and there are NO jobs out there that do not also require a PhD.

Lab animal vets (requires lab animal residency) may mostly work with rodents, but they also have to know about other animal models. The lab animal vets here work with goats, pigs, sheep, etc in addition to rats, mice, gerbils, monodelphis, etc
 

JosephKnechtDVM

7+ Year Member
May 12, 2009
133
10
Status
Veterinarian
AMEN WhtsThFreq. If only the supposedly "smart" people recruting for veterinary schools would learn those facts of the world outside veterinary academia.

However, if the OP is liking the research in food animals, then maybe pursuing research along an animal science in a good college of agriculture and life sciences would be something to look into. I get the alumni report from my undergraduate school where they do some really important research on food animals/poultry with real world applications like reducing Salmonella in poultry through vaccination. I can only believe that type or work with very real world applications is very satisfying and possibly pays well if you get into the animal health pharmaceutical/biologicals industries. I think any type of research helping to feed the world better would be satisfying to me.
 

that redhead

7+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
10,375
8,401
It depends what you want to do. If you want to be the one doing the research, PhD is probably where you should point yourself. I personally am more interested in working alongside researchers and less into doing research myself (although to become a DACLAM you need to be the primary author on a research paper, so I'd plan to do at least that).

As for the species, it's one of the biggest draws of LAM to me: having the ability of working with a variety of species. Rodents are far and away the most commonly used animal model, but there are definitely places where food animals are kept as models - maybe you could focus your efforts to applying to those jobs, assuming you got your DVM.
 
Apr 11, 2012
330
19
AB, Canada
Status
Veterinary Student
An interesting dilemma...

I had considered doing a MSc in veterinary medicine. So I looked at the professors at my local vet school and which ones were looking for MSc/PhD candidates. However none of the research spoke to me, so I went back on the path to a DVM.

After discussions with some of my co-workers and friends, I am happy I did not go that route. At least where I live, getting a MSc or PhD does not mean you get a job afterwards. I believe it all depends on where the funding comes from and what happens to you when the funding ends.
 

Foxhunter

Year 4 of 7 (9? I think)
5+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2011
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Take it from me - my goal is a career in academia with some research attached, and there are NO jobs out there that do not also require a PhD.
I thought you wanted to work for a diagnostic lab like IDEXX or something. Guess you've resigned yourself to the PhD then?
 
Jan 18, 2006
16,861
14,876
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Veterinarian
I thought you wanted to work for a diagnostic lab like IDEXX or something. Guess you've resigned yourself to the PhD then?
Pretty much. Jobs not requiring a PhD (ie state or corporate diagnostic lab jobs) essentially don't exist right now in veterinary pathology, at least not for freshly boarded pathologists. A few will pop up from time to time, but the level of competition is outrageous.
 
OP
pigsatuga
Feb 17, 2012
91
0
Athens, GA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
It depends what you want to do. If you want to be the one doing the research, PhD is probably where you should point yourself. I personally am more interested in working alongside researchers and less into doing research myself (although to become a DACLAM you need to be the primary author on a research paper, so I'd plan to do at least that).

As for the species, it's one of the biggest draws of LAM to me: having the ability of working with a variety of species. Rodents are far and away the most commonly used animal model, but there are definitely places where food animals are kept as models - maybe you could focus your efforts to applying to those jobs, assuming you got your DVM.
Yes, I am not really interested in doing research per se, but rather in playing a supportive role as the vet assigned to take of animals involved in various different research projects. I would like to collaborate with the researchers and take care of/maintain populations of animals.

Based on the other comments, it sounds like maybe I would need to go the PhD/DVM route if that's what I would want to do or just go PhD and commit to getting involved in the research more.

Or just go Food Animal like I originally wanted. :laugh:
 

Foxhunter

Year 4 of 7 (9? I think)
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Pretty much. Jobs not requiring a PhD (ie state or corporate diagnostic lab jobs) essentially don't exist right now in veterinary pathology, at least not for freshly boarded pathologists. A few will pop up from time to time, but the level of competition is outrageous.
what's another what 3-5 years of school? it's not like you'd ever want a real job or something...
 

Foxhunter

Year 4 of 7 (9? I think)
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Dec 9, 2011
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i have this nightmare where years from now my kindergartener goes to school and the teacher asks "what does your mommy do" my child responds, "she's in school" and the teacher thinks to herself "oh that's so nice a woman in her 30s going back to school"

funny because it's totally going to happen....
 

zoovet

c/o 2016
Jul 28, 2010
178
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Currently I work in a lab, but instead of mice, I work with food animals. I really like my job (university worker) and this summer I have been invited to become even more involved with several projects. I really like the research we are doing; some is comparative medicine (developing animal models) while the other directly impacts food animal health. I love working with food animals and my original plan for vet school was to apply with Food as my focus, but I've become increasingly aware that the market may not support another food vet with tons of debt. However, becoming a Research Vet seems to require more schooling and I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that most research vets deal mostly with "little squeakers".

I guess I was wondering if there was anyone out there that might shed some light on the topic of Research Medicine. And yes, I've been to ACLM site and seen the power-point presentations :)

I just wanted to see if anyone had any first hand knowledge or experience.

Isn't there a huge difference between lab animal vet and research vet?

Here at NIH, I've shadowed a lab animal vet that is responsible for the animals that are used in research (not just mice), who also has to work with research vets that design and oversee the experiments, but mostly in an IACUC sort of way. I've also talked to a bunch of research vets about their work. The research vets are more generally PI's with specialized projects. Also, if you want to actually work with the animals, maybe being a research vet isn't the best idea because it may require you to spend most of your time writing grants/etc. more than actually physically working with the animals.

Can't you do both food and lab animal and then just find a job that utilizes both sets of training?

Sorry, I guess I should read the rest of the thread.... it just caught my eye that you said you want to be more on the taking care of the animals side, and not on the discovery side of the research, and it reminded me of how surprised I was when I actually started to shadow the lab vet and realized how limited his role in the actual research process was...

Also, sorry if this was too stream-of-consciousness-y and all over the place