Jul 14, 2009
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I am planning to apply to vet schools this year (have all my pre-reqs completed and confident I'll get in) but I noticed I started having serious fear of snakes. Do you have to work with snakes or anything that slithers in Vet school? Will I be doomed and should I choose another profession?
:scared::scared::scared: :scared:
 

Angelo84

Tufts Class of 2011
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I am planning to apply to vet schools this year (have all my pre-reqs completed and confident I'll get in) but I noticed I started having serious fear of snakes. Do you have to work with snakes or anything that slithers in Vet school? Will I be doomed and should I choose another profession?
:scared::scared::scared: :scared:
It depends on the school you go to. If you come to tufts yes. In clinical skills during the reptile section (one day) and during your wildlife rotation in the wildlife clinic they have a very docile snake that they use to teach people like you how to handle them. They sometimes show up in the exotics service as well.

So I don't think your doomed. Could you bring yourself to touch one if some one else was restraining?

Once in practice you can easily avoid them!
 
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Jul 14, 2009
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Thanks for not thinking I'm doomed. Maybe I'll stay at home that day (or days) and pretend I'm sick. I'll probably settle for a 'barely' passing grade.

I don't know if I could bring myself to touching one even it is restrained. The thought of a snake, worms (or anything that slithers) gives me the hives. I go to panick mode and squish them. I know its terrible. Maybe I need therapy for my ophidiophobia.

Do you know which fictional character suffers from ophidiophobia?

(indiana jones) - I'm glad I'm not alone. Thanks again for your advice - angelo84.
 
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1CellNtheSea

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A fear of worms could cause potential problems. Parasitology spends a lot of time focusing on worms as they are a very common thing you come across in vet med. In the lab, you have to "handle" them (with forceps and gloves usually) and spend time digging through poo to look at them. (Oh how I miss Parasit lab... :D) If it's more of a "they're gross" thing, you could easily get over that I bet, as you will see far more gross things, and the constant exposure may cause you to simply accept that they exist and will be part of your job.
 
OP
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Jul 14, 2009
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Thanks for the advice. You're right I can probably deal with worms (and if they are dead - even better), BUT snakes... I don't know. :( Dead or alive... snakes don't sit well with me and it sounds like from Angelo84, I will have to work with snakes 2-3 times in vet school.
 

rugbychick16

KSU CVM Class of 2012
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Again, it depends on the vet school. I believe as long as you don't do a rotation in exotics at K-state your senior year, you could avoid handling them, as we don't have any clinical skills classes dealing with reptiles.

I have forced myself to learn to handle them a little bit, so I can appear in control of myself should a client ever bring me a snake and expect me to deal calmly with it...
 
Jun 23, 2009
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I doubt you're doomed but you might want to check into what exotics requirements your prospective schools have so you're not unpleasantly surprised after admission.

At my alma mater we had some required exotics classroom course material, but the exotics rotation itself was an elective. The residents and clinicians were very aware that some people don't like things like spiders or snakes and did their best to work with the students. I took the exotics rotation and they told us that even on that, if a client brought in an animal we were not comfortable with, we didn't have to sign up for the case. The crazy monkey lady was quite the experience...

You might want to work on overcoming your fear, though, just in case someone does bring you a snake in practice some day. Running from the room screaming might be seen as unprofessional! :) Although I'd be right behind you if the client also brought in a tarantula.
 

No Imagination

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You might also want to consider getting help for this phobia. You've already acknowledged its a phobia, and therefore irrational. Why not try and talk to someone so you can overcome it?

If not for vet school, for yourself as a person and a vet. If I saw my vet get squeamish because I or someone brought in a snake in, I'd have serious second thoughts about that person/vet.

Being uncomfortable around, even afraid of certain animals is one thing, but not being able to touch/work with them due to that fear is pretty serious IMO.
 
OP
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Jul 14, 2009
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Thanks BeagleOne and Imagination for your advice.

Personally, I don't think I need to get 'formal' help for my phobia of snakes to be a successful Veterinarian. Neither do I think that my phobia should stop me from being a Veterinarian nor should it be an indication of how good I will be as an animal clinician. Snakes makes up small percentage of Veterinary medicine. I know my skills as an animal clinician and my passion for the profession, in spite of my snake phobia, will be a great contribution to the ever growing need for Veterinarian across the globe.

Regarding professionalism, I know I have to handle myself professionally in front of my clients and leave my hang-ups at home. As for seeing snakes in my future, in my career or practice, I have the following comment:
(1) Snakes are considered exotic and I will make sure that my practice informs snake clients that I am not an expert in reptiles.
(2) I will make sure that I have referrals for people with snakes, and the likes before they even make it to my practice.

Thanks for sharing your ideas. They allow me to think hard why I want to be a Veterinarian in spite of adversities, ie my phobia. :)
 

lailanni

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Oh don't worry. That's a very common phobia and there's nothing wrong with it. There are so many people who are terrified of rats and bugs too! You'll be fine just as long as you don't want to be a snake specialist!

Most people have something that gives them the heebie jeebies (one of our vets here hates snakes) and it doesn't get in the way of work.
 
Jan 18, 2006
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It's a pretty common thing, don't worry ;) as others have said

I haven't been required to have any reptile exposure in school thus far. I was scared of snakes in my teenage years, now I own four! :laugh: including some big ones so it is definitely something you can work with. I think it is the fact that they are so different than humans, i.e. you can relate better to a dog because it has skin, hair, and legs (like us) whereas a snake has nothing that looks human on it.

As a sidenote for a laugh, my little western hognose snakes work as "therapy snakes" (I kid you not) for Virginia Tech's Phobia project in their Psychology/Child Education department (though they see all ages). They generally see four or five snake phobia cases a year and the results are usually very good cause my little guys are extremely docile (and cute with their little turned up noses!)