? to ask when shadowing vets

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May 9, 2009
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Hi everybody I am new to the site and totally excited about the wealth of knowledge. I am working on my pre-reqs and need to get more experience. I am thinking of shadowing a vet during the summers and was wondering what I need to retain from the experience that would help me when I apply?

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I always tried to be the doctors third and sometimes fourth hand. If they needed an instrument or pretty much anything else, I was there to hand it to them. Once I had spent a fair amount of time there, I also picked their brain on vet school (any info helps :)). You will also find that questions will come to you when different cases come in. I always enjoyed when the doctor would be diagnosing a case and I would find myself chiming in to try and figure it out too. You will slowly begin a relationship after volunteering for a while, which could also end up with a job opportunity. So good luck to you and have fun:D
Keep track of your hours, and note down any procedures/illnesses/etc you observed that day.
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Thanks guys I will be picking your brains alot more in the future.
Keep track of your hours, and note down any procedures/illnesses/etc you observed that day.

YES. I didn't know you had to record hours, not just dates, until about six months ago (how this piece of vital information escaped my notice I have no idea), and now i'm stuck trying to reconstruct the hours I put in over the past two summers based solely on my day planner entries :bang:. Arg!
Anything at all that you can retain will help you:
What's the difference between Frontline and Advantage? Comfortis and Revolution? Sentinel and Capstar?
What are some of the names of the antibiotics that are prescribed?
What are the names of the instruments used?
How does the veterinarian deal with difficult clients?
What are the patterns of ailments with young pets? old pets? female pets?
What are the vaccinations given to pets at that clinic? When are they given? What about indoor only pets does that make a difference?
What's the normal temperatures for cats? dogs?

I'm sure you can come up with another 1,000 questions too :)
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We have a board at our clinic that is updated several times a day with patient name, problems and/or diagnosis and doctor name. I try and write down the problems and diagnoses every day and look them up when I get home.
I also ask thinks about what they like and dislike about what they are doing? How did they get to this position/point in their career? What is the hardest thing and favorite thing they do? What is the most unusual thing they have seen? If they could convince all pet owners to do 1 thing, what would it be?

every vet I have talked to has some intereting tales and experiences to share. Also, vets have a lot of different perspectives on what makes their job great, or what drags it down.
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I asked the LA vet whether he was concerned about hormone use in cattle and if there was any reason to be concerned about antibiotic resistance....

asked the equine vet about horse racing and slaughter......

I asked a question about everything that I didn't know such as

"how do you treat that? is it transmissible to humans? how did you diganose that?" etc etc etc.

Just ask anything that you don't know and want to know!!!!!

I once asked a veterinarian if/how he kept his emotions out of the job when he had to tell a client that his dog had cancer. (In case you're wondering, he told me that he wasn't the type of person who kept emotions out of anything.)
so today was officially my first ever real vet/animal experience and yeah...i was pretty much a newb.

like....i got to see a spay surgery, dental cleaning, and stuff....but the whole time...i'm like trying to think of what questions i could possibly ask! or like...if i should even ask that question [cause it seems like a common sense thing but i just don't know]! and like...."when" i can ask Q's....are the dr.s and vet techs to busy concentrating on their work or can i just ask them...like...when is it appropriate?

ahhhh idkkkk. i'm deff still nervous && excited though!

any hints/tips or what not on how to make this volunteering a worthwhile learning experience? lol
Watch and just start off by seeing what they are doing. Figuring out what the normal things are that they are doing. Then start asking why for the things you don't understand.

Once you start seeing whats normal or routine, ask about anything that is done in a non-routine fashion. Why does one species get a 2 layer closure versus a 3 layer. Why does one cat neuter get a different drug protocol than another. Why do IV fluids? Why are some meds given before surgery while others are only after?