Dream7Catcher

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Mar 7, 2016
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Hello! I apologize in advance if there's a thread similar to this. I searched, but didn't see anything.

I have been interested in genetics for a long time--in fact, before I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian, my plans were to be a geneticist. I am especially interested in the study of genetic diseases: how they work, how they (the diseases) develop, and, most importantly, how they can be cured.

I have looked up and down for information on veterinarians who study genetic diseases, but I haven't found much. Are there research veterinarians that study genetics? Would that require animal testing?

Lastly, would I need to do a DVM-PhD combination degree to be competitive?

Thanks! :)

Edit: Sorry, I thought I posted this in Pre-Vet!
 
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It depends on the depth and if you are talking about veterinary genetic diseases only, or animal models of human genetic disease. Especially as research funding for the former is pretty paltry; if you want a viable research career in it, 9 times out of 10 you're likely going to be focusing on animal models (which, to be fair, can have implications for veterinary patients anyways).

If you want to get into well-funded, serious genetics research as a veterinarian (especially for the latter focus area), then you will need a PhD and likely a postdoc as well. If you just want to be a "normal" vet who participates in patient clinical trials on the side, you won't need one - but that is a much more hands-off approach.

What exactly do you mean by "animal testing" ? Most subdisciplines of biomedical research rely heavily on animal experimentation and if you are interested in studies of genetic disease, I can almost guarantee you that you will be working with them. Of course, it would depend what you were studying specifically, and if you could get away with simply in vitro stuff. However, I would be wary of going into genetics research at all if you have significant issues with the use of laboratory animals.
 
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Dream7Catcher

Dream7Catcher

I'm on a Horse
Mar 7, 2016
16
3
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Pre-Veterinary
Thank you for your in-depth response!

As I am also fascinated by working as a "normal" vet, doing on-the-side research would probably be ideal for me. As for animal testing, I know that the majority of animals that are tested on are treated very kindly, but I am not sure how I would feel actually participating in it.

When I think of working with genetic diseases, I imagine studying a genetic code, trying to pick out the disease, and then working with a team and try to cure it (which I know can take many years, or never even be done in my lifetime).

However, I think I would also be interested in studying animal genetics themselves--not just from a medical standpoint, but which genetics cause which traits, which may contribute to disease, etc. Even something less in-depth, like reviewing the genetic material gleaned from a blood sample to see if an animal has x disease, intrigues me (that is pathology, isn't it?) I am not sure if opportunities for this exist much within the veterinary world, opposed to the human medicine world; I know MDs often get a lot more funding than DVMs.

I've considered using genetics as a "back-up" plan. If I didn't get accepted into veterinary school, I'd get a masters or PhD in genetics and go into research. However, my main goal is to attain my DVM. At the root of things, I do believe I'd be satisfied as a "normal" veterinarian, if opportunities as a veterinary geneticist did not pan out.
 
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kcoughli

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Thank you for your in-depth response!

As I am also fascinated by working as a "normal" vet, doing on-the-side research would probably be ideal for me. As for animal testing, I know that the majority of animals that are tested on are treated very kindly, but I am not sure how I would feel actually participating in it.

When I think of working with genetic diseases, I imagine studying a genetic code, trying to pick out the disease, and then working with a team and try to cure it (which I know can take many years, or never even be done in my lifetime).

However, I think I would also be interested in studying animal genetics themselves--not just from a medical standpoint, but which genetics cause which traits, which may contribute to disease, etc. Even something less in-depth, like reviewing the genetic material gleaned from a blood sample to see if an animal has x disease, intrigues me (that is pathology, isn't it?) I am not sure if opportunities for this exist much within the veterinary world, opposed to the human medicine world; I know MDs often get a lot more funding than DVMs.

I've considered using genetics as a "back-up" plan. If I didn't get accepted into veterinary school, I'd get a masters or PhD in genetics and go into research. However, my main goal is to attain my DVM. At the root of things, I do believe I'd be satisfied as a "normal" veterinarian, if opportunities as a veterinary geneticist did not pan out.
You should get some genetics research experience. See if there's a lab at your undergrad doing genetics research and reach out and see if they can let you shadow or volunteer or something. I can almost guarantee that genetics research will have animal models in use and if you're hesitant about that aspect you need to figure out if it's really a good back up for you.

Sent from my VS876 using SDN mobile
 
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Dream7Catcher

Dream7Catcher

I'm on a Horse
Mar 7, 2016
16
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
You should get some genetics research experience. See if there's a lab at your undergrad doing genetics research and reach out and see if they can let you shadow or volunteer or something. I can almost guarantee that genetics research will have animal models in use and if you're hesitant about that aspect you need to figure out if it's really a good back up for you.

Sent from my VS876 using SDN mobile
Thank you! :)
 
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Dream7Catcher

Dream7Catcher

I'm on a Horse
Mar 7, 2016
16
3
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Pre-Veterinary
I thought of another question. What about people who read genetic test results--are they veterinarians? For example, if you send a few strands of your horse's hair to see if it carries the pearl gene or HYPP (etc) are the scientists that conclude those results veterinarians?

Such as if you sent a sample here: https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/horse.php

Edit: I see that some carry PhDs and some have both PhD and DVM.
 

nyanko

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I actually work in a lab that does exactly these things right now, as a post-doc. You can PM me if you'd like and we can discuss it further.
 
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