Tufts c/o 2018!!
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2010
Hanover, NH
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  1. Veterinary Student
Hi all,
Forgive me if there's already a thread about this, but it was hard to find one by just reading thread titles.

I'm an international student who goes to school in the US and will be applying to a vet school in the US.
I consider my situation a little odd because the way I have things planned out I will have a lot of animal/vet experience in areas other than small animal medicine. If things work out as planned I will have hundreds of hours in the two fields I'm most interested in (equine and wildlife, both animal and vet experience), around 20-50ish hours for large animal other than equine-specific stuff, around 20-30ish hours of random small animal clinic stuff, and 20-30ish hours of shelter vet stuff. I also have a lot of animal experience for horse stuff because I ride, and I'm going to try to do something at a greyhound rehab place nearby (but that's not a sure thing). I also just got accepted on a research trip for 10 weeks doing tropical ecology related research in Costa Rica with a lot of independent research stuff that I'm super excited for.

The reason I'm like incapable of doing a lot of small animal stuff is because I have to make a lot of careful plans about my summer and term breaks - it's a mix of going home to Asia and working with vets there, where I only really have connections to horse vets and it's kind of unheard of / not encouraged to work at a small animal clinic if you're just a student - OR setting up kind of more formal internships in the US for summer breaks, where I find myself a place to live and work with a vet - but these are NEVER small animal vets, I've been able to find wildlife ones and equine ones only.

The only way I'd do small animal is part time, which I've tried, but I don't have a car to get to the nearest clinic and the public transport in my college town has terrible schedules, plus the vets in the area are really unfriendly (the hours of shelter vet med I got on spring break in a different state were the best experience I had, because they were near a vet school and were used to kids coming in and shadowing. SOOOO unlike the new england town I live in now).

I'm a sophomore in undergrad now and I'm trying to plan out a timeline of when I'm getting all this experience and I wanted to know if I'm totally screwing myself over by not trying to get more small animal hours. I am interested in equine medicine and have a lot of ways I can get involved in that but I just feel like everyone else has tons of hours working at SA clinics and I'm the only one who doesn't have this kind of given thing.

Help? :)


Full Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2011
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  1. Veterinarian
I was in a similar situation - I'm an international student studying here in the US too and have mostly equine experience. I only really started getting small animal experience and actual vet experience in my junior year of undergrad and was pretty worried about my chances. But I applied this past cycle and got into several schools. I think as long as you show that you're making the effort to put yourself out there and that you can handle school + internships/work you'll be ok. Feel free to PM me with any questions though!
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Full Member
Feb 18, 2012
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  1. Pre-Veterinary
I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I want to focus on wildlife, and the majority of my vet hours will be in wildlife (specifically marine mammals) with a little in SA and that's about it. I've been told it's more important to have experience in your area of interest than a bunch of various experiences with a few hundred hours each. I've also been told that I can relate the experiences that I do have with other branches of veterinary medicine to show that I have an understanding about what different veterinarians do. You seem to have a good amount of diversity in your hours, so I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially since you're getting most of your hours in your area of interest. (I haven't applied yet, but this is pretty much what everyone else has been telling me).


Skipping the light fandango
10+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2011
Plymouth, MN, USA
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  1. Veterinarian
I am interested in equine medicine and have a lot of ways I can get involved in that but I just feel like everyone else has tons of hours working at SA clinics and I'm the only one who doesn't have this kind of given thing.

I think you're underestimating the number of people that come into vet school with relatively no small animal experience. There are plenty of people in my class who are totally comfortable around horses and cows but don't know the first thing about how to handle a cat or dog.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2008
Vancouver, BC
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  1. Veterinarian
I also had minimal small animal experience and it wasn't a problem. The majority of my vet experience was in wildlife (500 hours), horses (100 hours) and then maybe 20 hours of small animal. (I also had a lot of animal experience with horses, having ridden my whole life).

I was accepted into multiple schools both in the US and UK.
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