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Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by cubs11, May 14, 2007.

  1. cubs11

    cubs11 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2007
    Have any of you experienced situations that could possibly keep you from doing what you would love to do for the rest of your life? Out of nowhere last June, I ended up in the hospital because my back went out and I was in the worst pain ever. After many x-rays, 2 MRI'S, consultation with a neurosurgeon, and 11 epidural shots later...I have a bulging disc in my back. A year later the disc has still not healed, and I'm still in physical therapy. So now I'm finding it extremely difficult to find volunteer opportunities because of the work involved.

    Although I can't lift or pull right now, my doctors have been optimistic that over a long period of time, if I continue physical therapy to strengthen the muscles holding my spine in place, and stretching daily to release pressure on my back, that I'll be able to have a normal life. However, the problem is gaining experience now, over these next two years, in attempt to get into vet school.

    Anyone else experience their own roadblocks or difficulties like this?

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  3. silverelf

    silverelf Tufts Class of 2011 2+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    maybe try something like doing research or working with lab animals to get experience rather than restraining horses and dogs and will still count as experience, and you should probably be able to do it even with a bad back.
  4. cubs11

    cubs11 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2007
    oh ok! do you know what types of facilities i should look into for lab animals and research? i'm only familiar with areas involving clinics and hospitals for small animals, large animals, and exotics.

    for research, do you mean research through my school or specific animal research institutions?
  5. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    The easiest way to get involved with research is probably to go through your school, since profs will be used to having students help out for a summer, or a year, or whatever, and move on.

    You could also see the advice on the "how do I get clinical experience" thread about shadowing - most of the time, due to liability issues, you don't actually get to do much while shadowing. So as long as you can stand for a few hours at a time, you can gain veterinary experience without having to clean, lift, or restrain anything. If you are actually interested in research and lab animals, you could get a double-whammy by shadowing the vets at your school's animal facility, or even try to contact vets at freestanding animal research institutions if you happen to have any in your neighborhood.
  6. cubs11

    cubs11 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2007
    kate thanks so much for the information. that's what struck me as odd when i was talking to this particular vet today, because i was just trying to shadow her. she acted like she didn't know what i was talking about. i told her i was interested in just following her throughout the day a few times a week, to watch her in different scenarios. i think i might just try another vet to see if they are familiar with shadowing...just as observing rather than physical interactions at the beginning.

    i'll check out the other thread you mentioned.

    i am not aware of any lab animal research institutions in my area. i'll try to contact vets, professors, and advisors to check. thanks again!
  7. jfitzpatri8

    jfitzpatri8 Trying my darnedest... 2+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2007
    Lansing, MI
    I had exactly the same experience as you, but I was a surgical candidate, and only suffered for 4 months beforehand. It happened during my "year" in between applications, and I really thought that since I hadn't had much of a chance to get any new things done, re-application would be pointless. But, I went ahead and tried, and here I am.

    In your situation, I would probably focus really hard on academics, and plan to take a year after finishing pre-req's to get the hands-on stuff done. Hopefully by then you will be much more capable physically, and better able to handle the stresses, both physical and mental, that go with Vet School.

    Check out my post in getting experience, there is some good stuff there about finding a vet to get experience with (if I do say so myself)

    on a personal note... perhaps a second (or third?) opinion is in order regarding your back. It turned out I had no herniated disk, but a bone spur that would not have regressed given time. It was only during surgery that this was discovered- MRI's don't show bone, and radiographs won't show problems within the spinal canal (blocked by other bone). I saw 4 doctors before I settled on one to perform the surgery... all the others wanted to get to my cervical spine going through the front of my neck... ouch!

    off to find another soapbox.

  8. OSJ

    OSJ Michigan State CVM 2012 5+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2006
    It might help to check online (a place like or a city job search engine) for research tech jobs. Alot of them involve animals. I know alot of the hospitals in the Boston area hire for research techs or lab animal care techs. The ones I know of are Mass General, Children's, Dana Faber, I think there are a few more. Any research will always help, even if it's chemistry or something not directing involved in handling animals.

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