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Veggiegirlie

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:
 

PrincessButterCup

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

What experiences do you have with large animals? I don't know what concerns or objections you have to AI, etc., but you may (or may not!) find that your opinion changes after you gain experience for yourself.

On gaining experience - there's a lot of information on this forum already, so you'll be able to find some good advice by searching around a little bit. Again, I'd encourage you to seek out large animal experience. To give you an idea, these are some of the things I've done: shadow a large animal vet, tour dairy and feedlot operations, and volunteer on dairy and beef cow research trials to gain hands-on experience. It will depend on where you are and what's available to you.
 

katashark

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

Part of going to veterinary school is learning about many aspects of the field. You may not personally agree with it, but you should still learn about it. Until you learn about it from a veterinarian's perspective, you are missing a key part of the picture. Please go into things with an open mind, especially since you are still young and don't have a lot of experience in this field. You can also always contact schools about how they obtain cadavers, etc. Midwestern is very responsive to applicant questions. Some schools let you have some leeway with how much large animal medicine you take. There is usually still a minimum requirement though. Those things are part of that industry and you should learn all sides of it.

You should get some veterinary experience and see if this is what you really want to do.

@hazelmoo might have some more advice for Midwestern specifically.
 
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mmmdreamerz

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

Keep an open mind and get some experience. You may find that the reality of these things isn't quite what you think.
 

hazelmoo

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

Hi @Veggiegirlie, welcome to SDN! I'll start off by saying what everyone else has already said... learning about LA medicine is really important in our field. If you really want to be a vet, you need to be open to learning about ALL aspects of the field, especially since the NAVLE will test you on more than just small animal medicine.

As far as Midwestern goes, I love my school! We do not partake in terminal surgeries, but instead do surgeries on humane society animals to better serve our community and help them get adopted. We DO do dissections on dog cadavers for anatomy lab, and some of these animals were humanely euthanized at various shelters across the country. They are not euthanized specifically for us... they would have been killed either way, and we just put their bodies to good use. Others, however, died from various issues or were euthanized due to a medical problem (for instance, my dog was hit by a car and euthanized due to a slew of complications from that). It does make me sad sometimes to think about our dead dogs, but I'm also glad something good could come from their deaths and that I get to learn the basics of anatomy to help animals one day, using the cadaver as my teacher.

I got my bachelors in zoology before school, and think that's a great major to obtain a scientific background before diving into vet school. Get some experience working at a vet, there's a lot of great info on here as to how to go about that! Make sure you are aware of the classes required for each vet school before you start signing up for classes, it's not the same for each school!

Good luck, feel free to message me if you have any questions!
 
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bullyb

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So a lot of good info has been said on here already, but I figured I could fill you in on the applying and classes part a little bit.

Most of the vet schools have one main application site called VMCAS, so that's where you will send out most of your information to. A lot of the schools have secondary/supplemental applications do to along with the VMCAS app as well. These usually open up in May prior to the year of matriculation.

I would definitely start looking into specific schools that interest you and see what their specific prerequisites are! A lot of them will be the same like ochem, genetics, physiology, etc, but some have special ones that they want, like animal nutrition.

So far, I've only been to the Midwestern interview and it was very conversational, but of course difficult in the sense that you are super nervous (or at least I know I was)!!

Definitely keep an open mind when thinking about what will dictate your future. It will be extremely hard to learn anatomy from a computer and then apply it to a real life situation in surgery. I think you learn more than just what things look like when working with cadavers, like how to cut into specific areas and what that feels like. It's definitely hard to work with dead animals, but as a vet you are going to have to be very emotionally stable and death will be something that unfortunately comes up a lot in this field.

Good luck and let me know if you need any help! I'm a senior in college and just got accepted to midwestern, which sounds like it may be your top school!
 

WhtsThFrequency

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

Something to think about - in veterinary medicine, you will be put in situations where you have to do things that go against your personal ethics or preferences. Putting animals down with treatable diseases simply because the owners can't or won't pay, for example. Putting down animals with behavioral problems that people aren't willing to work with, because you know that if you just refuse and send the animal home they're just going to shoot it in the head. Maybe even ear crops because even though you disagree with them, the owner is just going to go home and crop the ears themselves with no anesthesia or pain relief if you don't. Doing health/preg/puppy checks on backyard breeders, even though you hate their practices, but because the health of the animal is more important. Stuff like that. Of course, these are simple examples, and some vets can and do refuse some things, but I guarantee you that your morals will be tested in this field.


As a sidenote, I can understand the slaughter and meat production stuff given that you are vegan, even though I don't agree with it....what exactly is unethical/inhumane about AI? That seems a bit extreme. I suppose I also don't understand how using the body of an animal that was going to be put down anyways to advance medical knowledge is unethical. Shelters do not "needlessly kill" animals. They (as unfortunate as it is ) DO need to euthanize when they run into lack of space, lack of funds, or health issues. It sucks, yes, but it's not "needless".

You're only in high school - I think you really need to get out there and learn both sides of the story.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:
Large animal medicine does not mean "watching animals die or suffer" so it's important you realize that. The whole point of covering this stuff in vet school is so that you are prepared to practice large animal medicine in a way that prevents suffering.

Also, this is just my opinion, but I don't feel you can adequately learn the anatomy of animals without true dissection. The sheer amount of variation you'll see in your class's cadavers is one reason, getting a sense of where things are with your hands is another. A computer or simulation just won't do it for you. There are plenty of schools that never do terminal surgeries, too, although those can be good learning opportunities in their own right.
 
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Lab Vet

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Hi guys! I am a senior in high school and I knew I wanted to be a vet my entire life. I'm taking college classes to get ahead and I'm opting for a bachlor's in biology or zoology.
I recently turned vegan and I found that it really conflicts with my desire to attend vet school. I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals). Did your school have alternatives or have humane (computer/inanimate objects) teaching methods? Specifically if you attended Midwestern University.

Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:
OP-

I highly recommend that you expose yourself to the BROAD, inclusive profession that vet med is. Each veterinary graduate recites the same oath- to use our training to relieve animal suffering and promote the well-being of society. I assume you're a companion animal person (dog, cat private practice). If you decide that vet med is for you, you will have MANY colleagues, mentors, and instructors who work on the production side of the business. I'm a lab animal person, so my professional goals align closely with those of my food animal kin. We (herd medicine, production folks) care just as much about the well-being of our chosen species as you care about dogs, cats, etc. In fact, we work grueling hours for often meager pay to ensure that these species have the best quality of life possible, despite daunting circumstances.

Do you really believe that, throughout decades of companion animal practice, that you'll never be asked your opinion on a production medicine issue? As a pet owner myself, let me assure you that the response 'I'm a vegan,' won't cut it (at least not with a client like myself). As a veterinarian, I expect you to have basic fluency in discussing food animal issues. It's not your place to make up the client's mind- that's their job, and their right. Your job is to provide them with a balanced, unbiased account of facts so that he/she can make an informed decision for him or herself.

You need to keep an open mind in vet school. Some things may appear horrifying at the outset, but profs that you trust/respect can provide you with a different perspective if you give them the opportunity. In fact, this has been one of my greatest joys in vet school. Like the title song from Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 'Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong.' It's a humbling, gratifying experience.

Throughout my career, I have euthanized many animals. In vet school, I performed this procedure on species to which I had little prior exposure. This is a timely conversation. My swine medicine prof told me just TODAY in lab- As a veterinarian, you will be EXPECTED to be better at the business of death than any other professional in existence. You have a RESPONSIBILITY and MORAL OBLIGATION to get it right.

Throughout your first three years in the didactic curriculum, you'll learn a dizzying array of diseases. Well over half of them will be predominantly associated with food animal species. It's also your responsibility and professional duty to inform your dog/cat clients about the potential pathogens that may be lurking in precious Fluffy's 'raw' food diet, that may negatively impact her human family. If you're remiss, you may be found guilty of professional negligence. Oh, and let's not forget about those pesky board exams. Lots of food animal questions will show up there as well.

Veterinary medicine is a wonderful profession. I have found my calling, and couldn't be happier. Conduct your research carefully, OP. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Veterinary medicine is a whole lot more than dogs and cats.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Actually...since the OP brought it up-do any vet schools actually make students watch slaughters? I've never heard of that happening before, but perhaps that's because I never had the same concerns that OP does so I've never asked. Perhaps on a food animal rotation or something?
 

WhtsThFrequency

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Actually...since the OP brought it up-do any vet schools actually make students watch slaughters? I've never heard of that happening before, but perhaps that's because I never had the same concerns that OP does so I've never asked. Perhaps on a food animal rotation or something?

We were required to watch one as part of a public health/food safety part of one of our classes...might have been a foodie class, I can't quite remember.

However, you were allowed to leave the room if you wanted for the actual bolt-gunning + exsanguination. You did have watch the carcass breakdown and learn what types of things inspectors look for, etc.
 
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Doctor-S

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Agree with the comments posted by @PrincessButterCup, @katashark, @mmmdreamerz, @SandstormDVM, @hazelmoo, @WhtsThFrequency, @Lab Vet.

It will be valuable for you to gain more exposure to the joyful aspects, as well as the harsh realities, of veterinary medicine. Although I wholeheartedly respect your ethical and personal beliefs, your values (and your conscience/sanity) will inevitably be tested by the harsh realities of vet school and practice. At times, practice can be heartbreaking and discouraging ... and at other times, it can be joyful, inspiring and invigorating. It happens to everyone.

@WhtsThFrequency has already identified some of the harsh realities in veterinary medicine ... things such as ... dealing with a pet owner who adored Morris-the-Cat when Morris was a 3-month-old cuddly kitten, but now doesn't want to pay for Morris-the-2-year-old cat to receive prompt treatment for acute urinary blockage. Or a dog owner brings in Lassie-the-pregnant-collie who needs an immediate C-section, and then the owner says "I'll be back later for Lassie," but disappears, and never returns for Lassie. In many instances, your principles and values will be sorely tested by human owners, and not by the animals. Once again, it happens to everyone.

Several posters have already mentioned that you're likely to be enrolled in vet med school classes related to feed animals and lab animals. Plus, other posters have mentioned that animal shelters engage in humane euthanasia: many animals lose their lives every week. To me, that is heartbreaking because I want all pets to enjoy a loving home. However, in vet school, these precious animals (who lost their lives) are treated with dignity and respect, at all times. They will help you to become a skilled veterinarian, and you can consider *that* to be their final legacy: to pass it forward, to teach you how to provide optimal care and treatment for other animals, with respect, compassion and dignity.

Throughout your vet school training (and later), you will observe certain things that may (or may not) cause pangs of discomfort or distress. Everyone reacts differently to these things, because we're humans, with our own personal likes and dislikes, thoughts and feelings. In vet school, you may encounter other students who are vegetarians just like you; actually, I'm aware of two aspiring veterinarians who are, in fact, vegetarians.

In short, it's advisable to be emotionally and physically prepared (well, as much as you can be prepared, which isn't always easy) before spending a significant amount of time, money and energy pursuing a DVM degree. After all, you want to look forward to becoming a veterinarian, and not awaken every morning, feeling anxious, conflicted and dreading your chosen career. So, feel free to gain experience, shadow veterinarians, volunteer in an animal shelter, discuss your concerns with others, read about the pros-and-cons of veterinary practice, do research in an animal lab, etc. ... before you ultimately chose your career ... it's all good.
 
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TerraVet

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There are lots of people on here with lots of experience who are giving you good advice. I have just a couple thoughts...

1. The ethical issues you bring up are being more and more spoken about. Obviously, human medicine can't use humans for terminal surgical practices to gain skills. For a long time animals were used, but more recently models have become more common.
2. My school, at least, does not take the ethical issues of using animals in research, terminal exercises, or as practice for students lightly. We had several lectures on the subject and a year-long course on ethics in veterinary medicine. The takeaway message is it's not always black and white and ethical decisions are often in shades of grey.
3. In our school, there are no terminal surgeries. Instead we do surgeries on community animals (shelter animals or animals who's owners normally could not afford the kind of surgery they need). We are also in the process of setting up a clinical skills lab for practicing blood draws, catheters, etc.
4. I'm just putting this there...we read a study in my ethics class that vet students tend lose some of their sensitivity and empathy for animals over the course of their four years in veterinary school. I think this is something we all need to be mindful of when criticizing someone who is or appears to be "naive." I'm not saying that anything people have said is wrong, per se, but we should also remember that holding onto some idealism (within reason and rationality) is not something to denigrate or dismiss. Obviously we need to face the realities of our profession, but we also need to be careful not to lose touch with the love of animals/people/environment that inspired us to do this job in the first place.
 
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Lab Vet

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There are lots of people on here with lots of experience who are giving you good advice. I have just a couple thoughts...

1. The ethical issues you bring up are being more and more spoken about. Obviously, human medicine can't use humans for terminal surgical practices to gain skills. For a long time animals were used, but more recently models have become more common.
2. My school, at least, does not take the ethical issues of using animals in research, terminal exercises, or as practice for students lightly. We had several lectures on the subject and a year-long course on ethics in veterinary medicine. The takeaway message is it's not always black and white and ethical decisions are often in shades of grey.
3. In our school, there are no terminal surgeries. Instead we do surgeries on community animals (shelter animals or animals who's owners normally could not afford the kind of surgery they need). We are also in the process of setting up a clinical skills lab for practicing blood draws, catheters, etc.
4. I'm just putting this there...we read a study in my ethics class that vet students tend lose some of their sensitivity and empathy for animals over the course of their four years in veterinary school. I think this is something we all need to be mindful of when criticizing someone who is or appears to be "naive." I'm not saying that anything people have said is wrong, per se, but we should also remember that holding onto some idealism (within reason and rationality) is not something to denigrate or dismiss. Obviously we need to face the realities of our profession, but we also need to be careful not to lose touch with the love of animals/people/environment that inspired us to do this job in the first place.
That's fair. I support this perspective.
 

pinkpuppy9

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There are lots of people on here with lots of experience who are giving you good advice. I have just a couple thoughts...

1. The ethical issues you bring up are being more and more spoken about. Obviously, human medicine can't use humans for terminal surgical practices to gain skills. For a long time animals were used, but more recently models have become more common.
2. My school, at least, does not take the ethical issues of using animals in research, terminal exercises, or as practice for students lightly. We had several lectures on the subject and a year-long course on ethics in veterinary medicine. The takeaway message is it's not always black and white and ethical decisions are often in shades of grey.
3. In our school, there are no terminal surgeries. Instead we do surgeries on community animals (shelter animals or animals who's owners normally could not afford the kind of surgery they need). We are also in the process of setting up a clinical skills lab for practicing blood draws, catheters, etc.
4. I'm just putting this there...we read a study in my ethics class that vet students tend lose some of their sensitivity and empathy for animals over the course of their four years in veterinary school. I think this is something we all need to be mindful of when criticizing someone who is or appears to be "naive." I'm not saying that anything people have said is wrong, per se, but we should also remember that holding onto some idealism (within reason and rationality) is not something to denigrate or dismiss. Obviously we need to face the realities of our profession, but we also need to be careful not to lose touch with the love of animals/people/environment that inspired us to do this job in the first place.
Partially agree. OP is naive. We all were at some point, and we all still are in different ways. No reason to potentially make a career decision in high school based off of something you've "heard." Go and find out for yourself.

Frankly, what she's "heard" sounds a lot like what I've read on vegan/animal rights activist message boards that condemn veterinarians, zookeepers, etc. Certainly doesn't mean that's where her information came from, but it's the bad info being taken as truth that was being criticized, not that the OP has different ideals than others. Also, for the record, being able to accept food animal practice for its realities doesn't make one less empathetic or sensitive to food animal patients.
 

TrashPanda

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Partially agree. OP is naive. We all were at some point, and we all still are in different ways. No reason to potentially make a career decision in high school based off of something you've "heard." Go and find out for yourself.

Frankly, what she's "heard" sounds a lot like what I've read on vegan/animal rights activist message boards that condemn veterinarians, zookeepers, etc. Certainly doesn't mean that's where her information came from, but it's the bad info being taken as truth that was being criticized, not that the OP has different ideals than others. Also, for the record, being able to accept food animal practice for its realities doesn't make one less empathetic or sensitive to food animal patients.

"It's the bad info being taken as truth that was being criticized, not that the OP has different ideals than others"- could you clarify what "bad info" you're referring to?
 

pinkpuppy9

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"It's the bad info being taken as truth that was being criticized, not that the OP has different ideals than others"- could you clarify what "bad info" you're referring to?
"I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals)." Frankly, I think it would do more good than harm if vet schools shared with their students where they got cadavers from. I know that there are some animals that come from dealers or auctions (at least for my school), but so many come from shelters and were euthanized regardless of a vet school needing them. To assume cadavers are needlessly killed is very incorrect.
 

DVMDream

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There are lots of people on here with lots of experience who are giving you good advice. I have just a couple thoughts...

1. The ethical issues you bring up are being more and more spoken about. Obviously, human medicine can't use humans for terminal surgical practices to gain skills. For a long time animals were used, but more recently models have become more common.
2. My school, at least, does not take the ethical issues of using animals in research, terminal exercises, or as practice for students lightly. We had several lectures on the subject and a year-long course on ethics in veterinary medicine. The takeaway message is it's not always black and white and ethical decisions are often in shades of grey.
3. In our school, there are no terminal surgeries. Instead we do surgeries on community animals (shelter animals or animals who's owners normally could not afford the kind of surgery they need). We are also in the process of setting up a clinical skills lab for practicing blood draws, catheters, etc.
4. I'm just putting this there...we read a study in my ethics class that vet students tend lose some of their sensitivity and empathy for animals over the course of their four years in veterinary school. I think this is something we all need to be mindful of when criticizing someone who is or appears to be "naive." I'm not saying that anything people have said is wrong, per se, but we should also remember that holding onto some idealism (within reason and rationality) is not something to denigrate or dismiss. Obviously we need to face the realities of our profession, but we also need to be careful not to lose touch with the love of animals/people/environment that inspired us to do this job in the first place.

1. A model just can't simulate things appropriately. I think they are great for some things but they are not a replacement. There's nothing like the real deal removing a spleen and having the splenic vessels not stop bleeding. You also can't simulate how the animal will react under anesthesia when something like that occurs. Models are great, but not at all a decent replacement in my mind.

2. I don't know of a single veterinary school that doesn't teach ethics. And all schools must follow IACUC guidelines in responsible use of animals.

3. Yup, shelter surgeries happen at all schools. However, getting to handle intestines, spleen, liver, in a surgery setting is incredibly valuable. It is difficult to recreate just how friable and easy a liver bleeds and falls apart. It is nice experiencing that in school for the first time instead of in practice on a client's dog with you being directly responsible for the outcome.

4. I haven't lost my sympathy or empathy for animals in the slightest. I've lost a lot of faith in humanity but that is different. And vet school makes some people a bit jaded but I don't think it is in regards to their sympathy towards animals and instead in regards to the schooling process and other aspects of the profession.

The OP is naive. Naive doesn't equal bad, she just needs more experiences. It isn't a big deal and hopefully a lot of what she has heard here will encourage her to expand her experiences and really learn about those things she is hesitating on. There's a lot of misinformation on the web about food animals, animal research and terminal surgeries and I hope some of this discussion helps the OP to realize that.
 
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TrashPanda

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"I am wary about doing terminal surgery or dissections from nonethically obtained cadavers (needlessly killed stray or shelter animals)." Frankly, I think it would do more good than harm if vet schools shared with their students where they got cadavers from. I know that there are some animals that come from dealers or auctions (at least for my school), but so many come from shelters and were euthanized regardless of a vet school needing them. To assume cadavers are needlessly killed is very incorrect.

I think this really comes down to what you consider "needlessly killed" (as well as specifics about what OP believes), especially since you acknowledged that not all cadaver animals would have been euthanized anyway.

I see zero evidence of OP taking bad information as truth. She's here asking questions, and people are largely ignoring the majority of her questions while piling on about how she's wrong (I don't mean to pick on you in particular). Yes, she comes across as naive. She's also 17 or 18 and newly vegan. I think we should give her a bit of a break.

Overall, my beliefs line up nicely with the veterinary profession as a whole, but I wish this forum would be a little more accepting of others' beliefs when it comes to the use of animals. If you object to taking any part in large animal medicine even as a student then veterinary medicine is probably not the right career for you, but that doesn't mean that your beliefs are wrong. The same applies for any number of other ethical issues.
 
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Lab Vet

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There are lots of people on here with lots of experience who are giving you good advice. I have just a couple thoughts...

1. The ethical issues you bring up are being more and more spoken about. Obviously, human medicine can't use humans for terminal surgical practices to gain skills. For a long time animals were used, but more recently models have become more common.
2. My school, at least, does not take the ethical issues of using animals in research, terminal exercises, or as practice for students lightly. We had several lectures on the subject and a year-long course on ethics in veterinary medicine. The takeaway message is it's not always black and white and ethical decisions are often in shades of grey.
3. In our school, there are no terminal surgeries. Instead we do surgeries on community animals (shelter animals or animals who's owners normally could not afford the kind of surgery they need). We are also in the process of setting up a clinical skills lab for practicing blood draws, catheters, etc.
4. I'm just putting this there...we read a study in my ethics class that vet students tend lose some of their sensitivity and empathy for animals over the course of their four years in veterinary school. I think this is something we all need to be mindful of when criticizing someone who is or appears to be "naive." I'm not saying that anything people have said is wrong, per se, but we should also remember that holding onto some idealism (within reason and rationality) is not something to denigrate or dismiss. Obviously we need to face the realities of our profession, but we also need to be careful not to lose touch with the love of animals/people/environment that inspired us to do this job in the first place.
I just want to mention one thing here in relation to the comparison made between human and vet med. Human physicians are required to complete an internship and residency of variable length before they are licensed to practice. Many go further than this, completing fellowships (post-residency) in their chosen fields. Vet med is very different. We don't have compulsory residencies, but are still expected to be competent in 'basic surgery' immediately upon graduation. In my opinion, this goal simply isn't achievable unless students practice on living things- complete with a heart beat and blood pressure. @DVMDream mentioned that you can't simulate an unexpected, crisis-level bleed on a model. That's a fact. There's simply no substitute for the real thing- particularly with regards to the practitioner's emotional response. The same goes for anesthesia. Students need to experience, feel, and work through the panic of an acute episode of hypotension on an actual animal where life is at stake. Otherwise, the exercise is merely 'a simulation.'

The poster should also note that terminal animal procedures are frequently used for training purposes in human medical schools. My first summer experience of vet school, I was completing an internship in lab animal med at a large, academic medical school. Surgery residents were completing a terminal swine training exercise whereby instructors would cause a 'mystery' abdominal injury in situ (pigs deeply anesthetized). It was the job of the residents to locate the defect and repair it successfully within a set amount of time. Terminal animal procedures are also frequently employed in training the response to traumatic (i.e. battlefield, car wreck) injuries.

As for @TrashPanda's comment re: the right of students to hold diverse points of view (and even disagree with the profession's official stance on some species/procedures)- I agree, and think that students should adhere to their deeply-held convictions. What I won't abide is that individual's judgement of colleagues who work with said species or participate in said procedures. Other than that, they are welcomed to disagree.
 
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DVMDream

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I see zero evidence of OP taking bad information as truth. She's here asking questions, and people are largely ignoring the majority of her questions while piling on about how she's wrong (I don't mean to pick on you in particular). Yes, she comes across as naive. She's also 17 or 18 and newly vegan. I think we should give her a bit of a break.

.

I sure have not seen anyone tell her she is wrong. Maybe I missed the post where someone said, "you are wrong". I don't think people are really "piling on" her either. People are simply explaining other aspects of the profession and things she may not be aware of at this very early point in her venture into veterinary medicine. I don't see how anything anyone has posted is piling on to her. What exactly do we need to give her a "break" from? We are simply explaining other aspects of this career and things the OP should consider, if that is not something we should do for young people interested in this career, then I have no further idea as to what we are here for. What are you looking for us to do? Hold her hand and guide her through every step of the process piece by piece while never mentioning any other aspect of veterinary medicine or explaining to her the things she may have to do or see? I think that would be doing her a big disservice to be honest.
 
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DVMDream

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Also, I have been researching every vet school and it seems they all have courses in large animal medicine. I am curious about your experiences in that course and the clinicals, specifically what procedures you've done. I heard that they will make you artificially inseminate cows, and watch animals get slaughtered and analyse the meat. I'm just terrified of what I'll have to do that goes against my ethics.
And how did you go about in applying to vet school? What classes did you take and how did you gain experience? Was the interview difficult?

Any other advice, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated! Thank you :cat:

Yes, you will have to take courses in large animal medicine. Becoming a veterinarian, you will be expected to be able to provide medical care to all species of animals, minus humans. The main species learned include: dogs, cats, cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, camelids and chickens. Some schools have great exotics programs and you can add in rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, reptiles, etc. The NAVLE (big licensing exam that you have to take to be able to practice as a vet) has questions involving a vast range of animal species, so you need to learn about all of them, regardless of what animals you will work on. Personally, I never had the desire to work with large animals or horses, but you do learn a lot from learning about those species and often times medicine is very similar across species. So even if you are not interested in those species, you can still learn a lot from them.

I never had to artificially inseminate a cow during my veterinary schooling. Having to do this really depends on what school you attend, if the school tracks its final year (small vs food vs equine) and what courses you take. I am sure those who took the reproductive rotations probably did some AI, maybe, depending on the clinician and if there was a resident or intern who was first in line to do the procedure over a student. I probably wouldn't be too worried about having to do this procedure in school, but it does exist and is a possibility.

We had to spend a day at a food animal auction. I know some schools had students watching slaughter, I don't think that happens at all schools. I did have to learn about meat analysis, through lectures and pictures.

Right now, you need to consider where you want to go to undergrad. You can major in anything, but be sure you take the pre-reqs necessary for the veterinary schools you wish to apply to. You can find these pre-reqs on each vet school's website.

I started off working as a kennel in a veterinary hospital, I was then eventually trained to be a veterinary assistant/receptionist, working mostly as an assistant. Some people don't get jobs, some people just shadow vets. Some people volunteer at animal shelters with their vets. It really just depends on what you can find. Get a broad range of experience, many schools want to see you step outside of just small animals and dabbling in with horses, cows, sheep, etc.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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I think this really comes down to what you consider "needlessly killed" (as well as specifics about what OP believes), especially since you acknowledged that not all cadaver animals would have been euthanized anyway.

I see zero evidence of OP taking bad information as truth. She's here asking questions, and people are largely ignoring the majority of her questions while piling on about how she's wrong (I don't mean to pick on you in particular). Yes, she comes across as naive. She's also 17 or 18 and newly vegan. I think we should give her a bit of a break.

Overall, my beliefs line up nicely with the veterinary profession as a whole, but I wish this forum would be a little more accepting of others' beliefs when it comes to the use of animals. If you object to taking any part in large animal medicine even as a student then veterinary medicine is probably not the right career for you, but that doesn't mean that your beliefs are wrong. The same applies for any number of other ethical issues.
But, she didn't ask everything as a question. Her post, word for word, stated that she was second guessing her career goal over some things she heard, some of which weren't true. She didn't even ask anyone to verify what she has 'heard.' She just asked for advice on applying or how she can get around doing the things she "heard" vet students have to do. For the record, OP, I'm not trying to pick on you.

What's there to argue about? I don't give a rat's hiney about her beliefs, as long as she doesn't use them to condemn my own. You'll find that to be true of the vast majority of vet med when it comes to those who view things differently.

It has nothing to do with her beliefs (even though I already said it before...), it has everything to do with informing yourself rather than going with with you "hear."

For the record, I never said that some animals would have never been euthanized. By dealers, I was referring to the dealers who pull the animals who can't be rehomed out of shelters and euthanize them for research purposes, or the undesirable cattle/ponies that probably had their days numbered for reasons other than educational purposes. Perhaps I didn't write my post as clearly as I thought. I can't speak for every school out there, though.

Edit: Also, just putting this out there....in my experience, the ones who give people crap for having beliefs that conflict with their own are the people who refuse to give different aspects of vet med a try, even if it's just to learn.
 
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WhtsThFrequency

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I see zero evidence of OP taking bad information as truth. She's here asking questions, and people are largely ignoring the majority of her questions while piling on about how she's wrong (I don't mean to pick on you in particular). Yes, she comes across as naive. She's also 17 or 18 and newly vegan. I think we should give her a bit of a break.

Overall, my beliefs line up nicely with the veterinary profession as a whole, but I wish this forum would be a little more accepting of others' beliefs when it comes to the use of animals. If you object to taking any part in large animal medicine even as a student then veterinary medicine is probably not the right career for you, but that doesn't mean that your beliefs are wrong. The same applies for any number of other ethical issues.

You're confusing a few things here.

If someone comes on here with a set of beliefs, they are absolutely allowed to. However, they cannot expect to never be questioned, debated, or even told they are wrong. I am very accepting of her right to have said beliefs and her right to express them; however, that doesn't mean I am not going to voice my opinion about them when she puts them out there on a public forum. I may be very accepting of someone who has beliefs based on incorrect information, but I am damn well going to try to correct them. If they have beliefs based on correct information that I don't agree with for other reasons, I accept that as well, but it doesn't mean I won't question them or try to sway them.

Questioning someone's belief (or even flat out saying it is wrong and explaining why you think so) isn't about not being accepting. If you are going to put your beliefs out there - and her worries about ethical issues DID compose the vast majority of her post, so it is not as if we are ignoring it and picking on one little thing - you need to back them up in face of questioning and debate, especially when these beliefs they have are important issues given the field they want to go into.
 
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