breenie

Weenie 2015
Apr 5, 2010
1,519
4
0
MO
Status
Veterinary Student
Hey y'all, I'm a long time lurker, first time poster!

I was just wondering if anyone had some similar experiences to what I'm having at the moment and if anyone has any tips/suggestions?

I work part time at a SA clinic, which is great and rewarding and all, but I don't have a ton of LA vet experience. I've got mountains of animal experience, but, you know, I have to work on being "diverse" and all that. :rolleyes: So, lately I've been trying to squeeze some shadowing in when I have time.

The only problem is... clinics aren't all that receptive! I live in a college town that also has a vet school, so there are mobs of pre-vet kids you have to compete with just to get a chance to shadow. Most vets seem a little worn down from the constant assault of requests, and it can be difficult just to get someone to take your resume and and info 'round here!

I have a horse, and my horse's vet is very friendly and said she'd be happy to let me shadow, but I am having a horrible time navigating through the office ladies' shadowing gauntlet. They've lost my resume, tell me they are going to be gone for awhile and can't deal with it, are always sick, etc. etc.

It's been pretty difficult to ride along with either food animal or equine vets in the COUNTY! I've found some vets out of the county who are open to it, but it requires ~1hr of drive time, and it's hard to do when they're taking calls all day and you've got a full class schedule. Soooo, I guess I'm just frustrated. LA is my area of interest... but I'm not going to look super credible when I apply and almost all of my veterinary experience is at a SA clinic!

Oh well. Keep trying, right?
 

BlacKAT33

UPenn c/o 2014!! :)
Jul 1, 2009
2,381
4
0
Status
Veterinary Student
Sorry about the situation. This does happen a lot with both LA and SA shadowing/interning/job opportunities. It sucks but as long as you are proactive about it (and you are) you will eventually find something. If not during the school year, then during the summer. Also, if you still can't find anything at all for LA experience by the time you want to apply to schools, don't worry about it hurting your chance of being a LA vet. When you go through vet school they teach you everything and even if you lacked undergrad experience in LA that doesnt mean you cant be a LA vet. Dont give up!!
 
Jan 31, 2010
872
0
0
Minnesota
Status
Veterinary Student
I have a horse, and my horse's vet is very friendly and said she'd be happy to let me shadow, but I am having a horrible time navigating through the office ladies' shadowing gauntlet. They've lost my resume, tell me they are going to be gone for awhile and can't deal with it, are always sick, etc. etc.
Obstructionism is an office lady's middle name :D
If you can weasel a way to go over their heads, I'd suggest that that's your best bet. I have never been able to finagle shadowing through office staff - every time I've gotten access to a shadowing experience, I've gone directly to the vet or through the vet's friends. I secretly suspect that vet office staff have a union bylaw that states that all résumés received from students are to be deposited immediately in the nearest shredder.

If you are having trouble getting your foot in the door, maybe you could try exploiting your SA clinic vet's and horse vet's connections. They probably both know several area vets through referrals & school and could maybe connect you (and your résumé!) to the right people much more efficiently.

Of course, if you've already tried that and you're still stuck, there's nothing to do except keep banging your head against the wall!

Oh well. Keep trying, right?
It's all we can do! :laugh:
 

Allthingsequine

WSU CVM c/o 2014
10+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2009
88
0
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I definitely had the exact same problem as you. Large animal medicine is my area of interest, and I had a ton more small animal experience than large animal when I applied. In my personal statement and interview I really tried to highlight what I had been able to get from my animal and veterinary experience with large animals, and why I was interested in that side of the field. Finding large animal experience can be tough, and at least for me it seemed like small animal vets were much more willing to take on shadows or volunteers. I finally ended up finding some experience over a summer while I was away from my college town by mailing my resume and a cover letter to literally twenty clinics within a two hour drive of my home town. And I finally got one to say yes, so it worked out! Getting large animal experience can be really inconvenient, but its definitely possible, and its also possible to get into vet school as a person with large animal interests and primarily small animal experience. Just do your best to get as much large animal (and other diverse experiences) as you can before you apply. Persistence seems to be key. Good luck!
 

HopefulAg

Texas A&M CVM c/o 2014!
10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2007
2,378
18
251
Status
Veterinarian
Same problem as you. There were like, two LA clinics in my college town (also had a vet school) and one of them outright refused to deal with students since they were absolutely besieged with them every year, and the other never had any openings. Only other option was the LA clinic at the vet school (I'm assuming you've tried yours?) but again, no openings.

So I had to get all my LA experience back home over the summers.
 

breenie

Weenie 2015
Apr 5, 2010
1,519
4
0
MO
Status
Veterinary Student
Obstructionism is an office lady's middle name :D
LOL! So true...

Thanks for the imput, guys! It's nice to know that I'm not he only one having issues with this. My vet boards her horse where I keep mine, so next time I run into her I'll try and bring it up. I always worry I'll seem too pushy, but dang it, I want to shadow!

Good to know, too, that having a little less LA experience might not be a deal breaker. :)
 

smilin1590

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2009
282
1
91
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I feel for you. I was in this same boat not very long ago at all. I spent all this past summer, fall, and early part of winter finding any vet anywhere practically in my state (slight exaggeration) that would take me on for a shadowing position. Best advice I can give you is keep trying really hard. I eventually fell upon a place late in january, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it but I didn't care at that point, it ended up working out great...still there now. Doctors are cool and so are the techs! Just work connections if you have any (I didn't) and just try and get yourself out there. Drop resumes off anywhere and everywhere you can and if possible ask to speak directly to the doctors because unfortunately many receptionists don't relay messages about these sort of situations (I felt like many were confused about just exactly I was looking for no matter how well I tried to explain it). Good luck finding LA experience. Please let us know the second you get that great shadowing position you're looking for :)
 

scb44f

Llamas and cattle and sheep, oh my!
7+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2009
2,025
496
181
MO
Status
Veterinarian

lalzi22

The OSU CVM c/o 2014!!
Nov 10, 2009
623
11
0
Status
Veterinary Student
Maybe try something other than LA? I had the same problem as you- went to 9 different equine/LA vets and after 2 months I gave up and went to an exotic vet who took me immediately....AND she was great.
 

bamitsme

c/o 2014 :)
10+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2008
19
0
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
i had this problem and eventually gave up. i got into vet school with 0 hours of LA/equine/etc. experience. you seem pretty deadset on getting some experience though...just figured i'd throw that out there
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
16
151
NC
Status
Veterinarian
I would show up to talk to the vet that said you could shadow. happily and cheerfully wait in the lobby till she can either give you a start date/time or till you get to speak to her. bring brownies or cookies. kill with kindness (even if you want to throttle the gate keeper.) bring a book or something to study. If you have any idea of what her schedule is like, use that to your advantage (ie if she checks in the office in the morning and then is ambulatory, bring in croissants first thing. If she is generally there till lunch, come in mid morning and bring sweets.)

Also, if you have contact with other vets and/or any animal people in the area, spread the word that you are looking to shadow; you are happy to help out or to stay hands off, and you will show up on time, everytime. Ask for names as well as asking them to hand out resumes, etc. I found some shadowing quite a few years ago by calling stables, hobby farms, and cattelmans associations.
 

cowgirla

Oklahoma 2014
7+ Year Member
Oct 6, 2009
3,623
1,982
181
mid-atlantic
Status
Veterinarian
I got the opportunity to observe some really great specialty equine vets by having a connection at a local boarding facility. They'd call me when the vet was coming out, or when they were trucking to the vet, and I'd "just happen to be there" and bypass the whole gatekeeper thing.

Could be worth a shot, especially if you know horse people in the area.
 

breenie

Weenie 2015
Apr 5, 2010
1,519
4
0
MO
Status
Veterinary Student
Thanks for all the great recommendations, everybody! The AAEP mentorship program has a few people in my state, but they're all kind of far away. :(

I'll keep trying to get my foot in the door around here, and maybe look for some other opportunities in the meantime. I love an excuse to bake!