Jan 29, 2020
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  1. Veterinary Student
Hello, I am currently trying to look for shadowing/ volunteering opportunities in a small animal clinic or shelter clinic. I have my Bachelors in Biology where I was focusing on going into the research field. I decided it was not for me and I want to pursue animal health. I am not too far from this field being that my education is Biology, but I am finding it difficult to transition myself into this new field. I decided Vet school is not for me currently as I should increase my experience in animal health. I have some experience in volunteering at an animal shelter, and I figured the next step was to start working in a clinic. I started applying as Vet assistant but have had no success so far. Maybe my next step would be to shadow/ volunteer in the clinic, but I am concerned that it will be a very very long process as I need something that is flexible with my work schedule. I greatly appreciate any recommendations, personal experience, or anything that will help me get more knowledge. Thanks!!!!!!!


U of I c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
Perpetual state of disarray
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  1. Veterinary Student
So I saw in the other post that you are in the Houston area.

Unfortunately, it will probably be harder to get a shadowing gig over an actual vet assistant position as clinics right now are having to deal with a lot of struggles linked to COVID. Many veterinary students have had their externships and such cancelled due to the pandemic, and pre-vets are unfortunately lower on that totem pole. Clinics need all hands on deck and may be understaffed, so applying as a vet assistant very well may be your best shot. There's also the sense that some clinics cannot risk having an unknown person come in and potentially infect the staff for the sake of that person getting veterinary experience.

If working for a veterinary facility isn't in the cards and you have to volunteer, volunteering at rescues would possibly be your best way to get your foot in the door. You'd likely be placed in areas like animal care and such and would need to to spend extra time outside your volunteer duties to get in with the veterinary staff at that particular rescue. Just like veterinary clinics, it's all hands on deck in rescues, particularly in the south. They need someone who is going to be an asset to the rescue.
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vmcvm '25
May 11, 2020
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  1. Pre-Veterinary
It never hurts to call/email around and simply ask about shadowing. Just explain your situation and be understanding if they decline due to COVID. Some vets are willing to take someone on if they sound polite and dedicated enough during initial contact.
Also, look for receptionist positions in vet clinics while you're searching for assistant positions. You can learn a lot about terminology and dealing with clients in that position, and it'll get your foot in the door to spend some extra time shadowing in the back.
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