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Research/vet/animal experience distinctions

1yr Master's in Biomedical Sciences
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JRockyS

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Hi Everyone,

I will be applying this cycle and have some questions regarding how different experiences are distinguished, as well as how well rounded my application will be. For some background, I am 31 and currently just left a biomedical PhD position after 3 years to pursue this path. My grades and scores are as follows:

Biology BA: 3.9
Biochemical Toxicology MS: 3.9
Toxicology PhD (3 years): 4.0
GRE 314 (Verbal + Math), 99th percentile writing.

With regards to my experiences, I feel that most of them could be categorized in many different ways. For example, my research experience tallies to over 7,000 plus hours. The vast majority of my research utilized animals including mice, rats, rabbits, zebra fish, goats, sheep, and insects. During this time I not only was doing actual research, but was also feeding, cleaning, providing supportive care, giving medication, performing minor surgeries, injections, and performing euthanasia almost daily. In our animal facility on campus we had several veterinarians on site that we collaborated with here and there to provide support for our disease model animals. Given all that, it seems to me that these hours included aspects of animal, vet and research hours. So my question is, how do I account for all of this on the application? Can I list this experience as vet, animal and research? Having read the VMCAS guidelines it seems that they want an experience to count for only one category, but it doesnt seem as cut and dry with my situation.

Additionally, for the last few years I have maintained a small scale reptile breeding program out of my home, as well as a an informal sporadic reptile rescue. Currently we have 25+ reptiles in our home, ranging from boa constrictors, reticulated and burmese pythons, to sulcata tortoises and leopard geckos. I have spent anywhere from 10-15 hours a week, for the last 4 years cleaning, feeding, socializing, and providing medical care for all the animals. Sporadically we will come across an unwanted reptile in the community, rehabilitate it and find it a new home. So again my question is, how do I classify these hours? I know that some schools do not count animal hours for pets at home, but this situation seems much different than just having a dog or cat.I would really hope that I could count hours spent trying to give a Baytril injection to an angry 15 foot burmese python, as well as helping a large boa constrictor give live birth.

Here is the sum of my experiences:

Volunteer in small animal emergency vet clinic: 450 hours
Temporarily employed full time at county animal shelter: 400 hours
Animal Research: 7,000 hours
Volunteer ranch work with horses/cattle: 250 hours
Reptile breeding/rehabilitation: ~2500

Please let me know what you all think, I find it crazy that working with multiple different kinds of research animals every day for years wouldnt count as animal experience as well as research.

Thanks everyone! Sorry for the long post.
 

lilylilac

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In regards to your PhD research question, you would list it under research. I did that for my PhD research as well, even though it also involved SEVERAL hours of hands on animal experience and interactions with the lab animal vets and staff. The admissions committee will see that you worked with different kinds of animals, but it's still primarily research. You shouldn't separate the hours into the various sections.

I would think your reptile breeding/rescue could be counted as animal experience.
 

mmmdreamerz

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While I wasn't working on a PhD, what you describe above is very similar to a lot of what I done with my research (only with cows). I listed it all as research on VMCAS.
 

vetmedhead

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    I listed my own experiences breeding leopard geckos (and rehabbing various other scaly critters) under Animal Experience. Your own reptile breeding/rehabbing should go there unless all of it was explicitly supervised by a veterinarian.
     

    Doctor-S

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    Agree with all of the previous posters about "research" experience hours and "animal" experience hours.

    You have a lot of research hours. Your academic credentials, GPAs and GRE scores are excellent - well done!

    Here is a VMCAS chart ("Experience Categories") that might be useful to you:

    https://portal.vmcas.org/vmcasHelpPages/instructions/supporting-information/experiences/

    After you review the VMCAS chart, you might want to answer the following questions:

    1. Are any of your 450 hours in the small animal emergency vet clinic categorized as "veterinary-supervised" hours?

    2. Were any of your 400 hours at the county animal shelter supervised by a DVM?

    3. Were any of your 250 hours for your volunteer ranch work (horses/cattle) supervised by a DVM?

    Thank you.
     

    JRockyS

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    Thanks for all the responses everyone, I appreciate the information.

    To respond to your questions:

    1. Yes, all of the 450 hours in the small animal emergency vet were directly supervised by a DVM. Each shadowing session I would be attached to the same vet, and she would let me hold animals during treatment, x-rays etc, and we would discuss rads, diagnosis, treatment for each patient.

    2. Yes, the vast majority of my 400 hours at the animal shelter were supervised by a DVM. For most of the day we were under the instruction of our in house DVM giving vaccines, giving medications, doing euthanasia, testing for various diseases, surgical prep etc. Directly responsible for the medical care of the animals.

    3. No, most of my hours at the ranch were not supervised by a DVM. This was mostly an animal experience doing feeding, cleaning, branding and other ranch work.
     
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