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Vet Students: Most Helpful Courses

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by neocia, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. neocia

    neocia Class of 2019 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    Hi, curious to those of you who are vet students (or vets) browsing the pre-vet forum... what were some of your courses in undergrad that you felt were the most helpful once you got to vet school? (Other pre-vetters can feel free to pipe in as well if there was a particular class that helped you, such as at the clinic you work for currently, etc.)
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  3. NStarz

    NStarz Ohio State c/o 2016 7+ Year Member

    Sep 25, 2009
    I really wish I had taken a physiology course.
  4. DVMDream

    DVMDream Don't disturb the snowflakes Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2009
    The Dragon School
    Parastiology. Pay attention in biochem (I think it helps to understand certain things in vet school), cell biology helps quite a bit. Anatomy helped as well (I took human anatomy in undergrad but a good majority of it applied to vet med), physiology was useful too as I already had some foundation for vet school then.
  5. Frozenshades

    Frozenshades Naps > School Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2012
    Second this. It was a required class for my major and one of the few I skipped out on to leave early.

    I learned some basic histology in undergraduate, took a gross anatomy class with a full canine dissection that was almost on par to a vet class and that was amazingly helpful to me, and just a lot of biomedical related electives. My major had classes like animal nutrition, wildlife diseases, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, etc. I think taking a second semester of biochem may have helped me retain some of that stuff a little better as well.

    Even if you don't get into the finer details, I at least like having the familiarity of having a subject not be entirely new and strange. So I think really any veterinary related classes you can get into will be beneficial. It won't kill you not to have them though, so don't stress about what you could be missing and don't kill yourself trying to take every science class ever.
  6. Trilt

    Trilt love doc + puppy snuggler extraordinaire Veterinarian Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    A legitimate anatomy course would have been SPLENDID, along with a good physio one. My major had a combined anatomy/phys taught by a miserable lecturer and it did not prepare me as well as I wish it had.

    And an immunology course would also have been really nice, especially if it were actually taught well...
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
    dalmatiandoc17 likes this.
  7. that redhead

    that redhead Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    Honestly? None. The most valuable thing for me has been my clinical and animal experiences.
  8. bbeventer

    bbeventer Illinois 2016 5+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Histology helped... Cell biology was useful.
    I second Trilt about taking an Immuno course.
  9. WelshCob

    WelshCob Florida c/o 2017 5+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2011

    This. Though I do kinda of wish I took an anatomy course. Oh and I took an in depth animal reproduction course the one Im in now in vet school is actually way less in depth, than my animal science course.
  10. Coquette22

    Coquette22 Shinigami Veterinarian Silver Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Histology. It was human, but a lot of the stuff is the same. And biochem. AVC doesn't require biochem like some other schools, but I was really glad I took it.
  11. evilsquirrel

    evilsquirrel Don't hate one eight. Purdue '18

    Oct 4, 2013
    Your closet
    Are there any language classes in particular that are helpful? Just curious.
  12. selisona

    selisona 2+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  13. orca2011

    orca2011 PennWe c/o 2016!!! Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Rhode Island
    If you want anything language related, I would just brush up on your greek/latin medical roots. I took 5 years of Latin in high school and I can honestly say I didn't use it much...or at least I'm not aware that I'm using it. I never really sit and think about breaking down the words. When I do remember to it, yeah, it helps, but it doesn't come to me as quickly as it did when I was in high school. And I feel like so many of the words are actually Greek related and we only briefly did some Greek stuff in my Latin class.
  14. racccjlm

    racccjlm Iowa 2014 grad; Ophtho resident 7+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Molecular biology, immunology, and histology
  15. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Plymouth, MN, USA

    My undergrad biochem class helped get me through the first of five exams in vet chool biochem class. Big deal. That's the only time I really remember saying "Oh wow; I already have some of this in my head."

    There is one class that regularly pops up around the edges from my undergrad days that I'm glad I took: Statistics. I have no idea how I would go about reading a journal article without having taken it.

    A lot of this other stuff ... histo, physio, whatever ... you're going to pay to learn it in vet school, so I don't see much additional value in doing it in undergrad unless a) it's really interesting to you, b) it's a specific professional interest that you want to understand more deeply than you'll get in vet school and you want a more solid foundation, c) you really want every last edge in vet school because you're worried about surviving.

    It's not that the classes won't help and won't prepare you. Sure they will. But I would be *just fine* in vet school had I not taken a single one of the pre-requisites (aside from the whole "getting into vet school" issue).
  16. JaynaAli

    JaynaAli Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different. Veterinarian Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    I agree with TRH, WelshCob, and LIS. The most helpful things to me were from my clinical experience. We learn about parvo (for example) and I remember that puppy that we treated for it, how it presented, and maybe even what we tried to treat it. It gave me a very basic head start on pharm because I'd ask why certain drugs were chosen which in turn helped because I could think okay, cephalexin, that's an antibiotic we gave for skin problems because it kills these bacteria etc. That way it wasn't just memorization. I guess it gave me a frame of reference, in essence.

    I took a great undergrad animal reproduction course, and in Therio and repro anatomy I was leaps ahead of my classmates who didn't take a course like that. That's the only class that I feel gave me a definite leg up.
    that redhead likes this.
  17. BlackDog17

    BlackDog17 AVC c/o 2017 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    The Great White North
    Most helpful was definitely the pathology course I took in junior year of college. The professors conducted it similar to a vet/med school course, I learned a ton, and I still remember a lot of it which has been helpful in most classes. Biochem was really helpful for first semester physiology.

    My college anatomy course was useless, but believe it or not the anatomy elective I took in high school has actually come in really handy. It was very well taught, and we did a lot of histology of normal tissues which I was surprised to discover I remembered quite a lot of when I got to vet school histology. I've been tempted to write my old high school teacher a thank you email just for that.
  18. neocia

    neocia Class of 2019 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    We don't have many animal-specific classes at my school, unfortunately. We do have human anatomy, human nutrition, etc all of which I'm taking/took, just for some background on it. Have to take an animal nutrition class online though, of course!
  19. TooLove

    TooLove 2+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    I agree with redhead that my clinical experience has been the most helpful for me. It's not just because I may know things that some of my classmates don't but mostly because I can relate what we are learning back to specific cases I remember and that helps solidify the material in my mind. It's nice to be able to relate clinical experience at this point because a lot of times it's not discussed.

    I wouldn't say that any one course I've taken previously was overly helpful so far in vet school. If anything, I've just been able to draw bits and pieces from my entire educational career - for example I took an animal science vocational program in high school, which has come in handy for parasitology, breeds, and a few other things, I took a behavioral neuro course in undergrad that was useful for the neuro portion of anatomy, and some others. Basically, as long as you are taking the prereqs you'll be well prepared...that's why they're required. Like someone else said, you're going to learn it all eventually when the time comes so I wouldn't get too worked up over it.
    that redhead likes this.
  20. equineconstant

    equineconstant Purple & Gold 2017 5+ Year Member

    May 16, 2012
    I agree that clinical experience is the most useful, especially right now as we're in PBL. When you have a case and have to look up, say, what antibiotic to give with surgery, it helps to have seen surgeries and be able to think of one rather than just randomly googling. I also feel like that would be the most helpful for actual practice, too, seeing client interactions and such. There's all sorts of reasons you need it to get into vet school.

    In terms of classes, I took a "comparative vertebrate physiology" course in undergrad. I thought pretty much all I got out of it was countercurrent exchange, but that course also had a little bit of histology and a little bit of anatomy that were helpful last semester. I also took an immunology course, which I'm hoping will help me when we're going through the alphabet soup probably faster than I originally learned them. My neuroscience course was somewhat helpful for cell signaling, but it also gave me a false sense of security for the neuro part of that anatomy exam, so I didn't study as much as I should have...

    Some of my classmates had embryology or some sort of animal reproduction class that really helped them in our theriogenology class (especially since we had that one with the third years, which was a little overwhelming for me at least), and some animal nutrition or general farm animal stuff from animal science is coming up in our current PBL case. I'm only one semester plus one week in, though, so take from that what you will.
  21. SocialStigma

    SocialStigma OVC c/o 2015 7+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2009
    Midwest, US
    Anatomy, physiology, and immunology were the most useful undergrad courses that I took. Even though I took human (vs. comparative/mammalian) courses, there was still a lot of crossover and a lot of 1st year ended up being review for me. I wish that I had had the option of taking: parasitology, virology, and bacteriology.
  22. CanHardlyWait

    CanHardlyWait VMRCVM c/o 2016 2+ Year Member

    Anatomy and comparative anatomy for sure. I took a year long anatomy/phys course, then took a comparative anatomy course (then was a TA for it) and I found I was much less daunted by the anatomy course in vet school as a result. I had to still work to do well, but I had the confidence to know it could be done instead of feeling overwhelmed by it all. Comparative helped because I had a background in remembering organ or structure differences across species.
    And histology, for the same reasons.
  23. jmo1012

    jmo1012 SGU (NCSU) c/o 2015! Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Under the Sea
    :thumbup: +1. and i'll throw in the snarky comment too - sleep.
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  24. BlackDog17

    BlackDog17 AVC c/o 2017 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    The Great White North
    What's that? I don't think that's offered at AVC . . .
  25. CalliopeDVM

    CalliopeDVM 7+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    I wish there had been a "Latin and Greek for med students" type of course -- if anything like that is offered, grab it. Knowing the roots of the terms makes them much easier to learn and remember.

    Basic algebra. I use it daily at work, and I'm glad I was comfortable with basic math (not the calculus level, but basic algebra) so it is fast and easy.
    And, as others have said, physiology and anatomy.
  26. Coquette22

    Coquette22 Shinigami Veterinarian Silver Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Yes it is. They just call it epidemiology instead.

    (For the record, I'm not dissing epi as a field. I find it kind of interesting. I'm just really not a fan of the professor at AVC. The one that my class had was great, but the prof that 2016 and 2017 have... Yeah, just sleep. You'll be less confused.)
    that redhead likes this.
  27. emacc

    emacc c/o 2021 2+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2013
    Charleston SC
    Not directly related to my undergrad, but VSPN CE courses have been really useful for learning things like anesthesia protocols and acceptable use of things like induction chambers, understanding ECGs and bloodwork, etc. They're pretty cheap too.
  28. WhtsThFrequency

    WhtsThFrequency Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    I gotta say Biochemistry. However, that's probably because I was a biochemistry major and therefore inundated with it. Biochem is so fundamental to medicine - sadly, it is often taught badly at many institutions. I was lucky enough to have a lot of very good professors.

    All the inner workings of the body come down to molecules. You can't be a good doctor with only a basic understanding of macroscopic signs and whatever drug Plumb's tells you to give.

    Physiology was made easier because I could understand the molecular processes behind it e.g. the gradients in the kidney that keep things filtering correctly. Pharm too - knowing what type of drug it was meant I had an idea of the structure, and then could guess how it acted even if I didn't know. Same with anesthesia. Same with nutrition. And don't get me started on clin path - biochem was so helpful for that I can't even describe!

    In more general terms, biochem taught me to be able to think in a logical, stepwise pattern. We have this molecule and this molecule, if we combine them what do we make? If we change this group here, how does it affect the structure? This type of thinking was essential for me to be a good diagnostician. Ok, we have this clinical sign and this lab value - how can we work this out? What could be causing this? Ok, we gave this drug and this has improved but not this - what is happening on a cellular level here that we need to address?
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  29. Lupin21

    Lupin21 Do Not Disturb Staff Member Moderator Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Behind the green curtains
    I agree Biochem was my solid foundation for vet school. I had a wonderful teacher and I would have continued down that path if I hadn't wanted to go down the vet path.
  30. jmo1012

    jmo1012 SGU (NCSU) c/o 2015! Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Under the Sea
    ah yes, now that you mention it, this course is indeed offered in vet school. many times actually.
  31. orca2011

    orca2011 PennWe c/o 2016!!! Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Rhode Island
    This is making me realize how much I wish I had awesome biochem professors. Definitely think my foundation is shaky in some parts.
  32. TooLove

    TooLove 2+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    I agree. My biochem professor was absolutely brilliant but not in a way that he could present the material for us to understand it well. I completely blew off lectures and just taught myself.
  33. Rainheart

    Rainheart Mizzou c/o 2017!!! 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2013
    North Carolina
    For me, so far, I think just an anatomy and physiology class has been helpful. Not to the point of any material we actually cover in vet school- but just as an introduction to some of it. Having familiar things to latch onto has been helpful. Nutrition has been a good class as well since I'm in GI phys and Nutrition at the moment and everything seems to be what I've been through already. I also think my Repro course is going to come in handy for developmental anatomy and down the line. I definitely agree with what others have posted in regard to clinical experience being helpful- it definitely has for me as well!
  34. lailanni

    lailanni c/o 2012 Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    Clinical experience would be my #1, followed closely by Greek and Latin for medical students. I had that at my undergrad and used it frequently in school - when you know the terms, the disease name pretty much tells you what's going on. Useful!

    Honestly, you can walk in with just the required classes for your school and not worry. They teach you everything you need to know.
  35. Jamr0ckin

    Jamr0ckin UTK c/o 2016 5+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    East TN
    I will have to agree that my clinical experience is the most helpful, but I am thankful for some of my undergrad courses.

    I worked mostly with small and exotic animals, so I am thankful for my large animal-based Animal Science degree. It has helped with me with basic rumen anatomy/physiology as well as some other things.

    As far as general science courses... I was very, very thankful I took Immunology. I honestly didn't study for any immunology test more than an hour or so, and I walked away with a solid B. I was able to concentrate my time on other classes which was helpful for me.

    I took a human A&P course, and it did help with the kidney physiology, which can be overwhelming when trying to to decipher the counter-current exchange mechanism...

    I also took 3 years of Latin in high school and an online medical terminology course in undergrad. Honestly, think it helped very little.

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