Here are a few boxes to check before starting on your path to veterinary school and joining this profession.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s a phrase that many of us have uttered to our parents at some point during our childhood. It’s an all too common response to the age-old question that children get asked as they age — what do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a veterinarian. I want to work with animals and play with puppies all day long.

It’s a noble cause and, from an unbiased standpoint, I personally think it’s one of the best jobs in the world. I don’t believe there is any other option in medicine where you can go straight from extracting a tooth into a semi-complex abdominal surgery and then finish your day working up a complicated medicine case. …

When dealing with student loans, it all starts with defining your fixed costs and identifying your priorities.

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Photo by Diane Helentjaris on Unsplash

Graduate school is one of the best experiences that life has to offer. It is an opportunity to expand your knowledge and achieve personal fulfillment as you enter the adult world. It does; however, come with a few notable tradeoffs. For one, you have to commit an additional 2–4 years to your overall higher education which translates to more time not collecting a salary. Additionally, the costs of graduate school can be quite high and you may or may not receive funding to help offset these costs.

In general, there are two financial categories of graduate level of education. The first type offers some sort of stipend which offsets the cost of tuition and serves as a salary of sorts. This would be typical of getting a Ph.D. in one of the hard sciences (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). This salary would often total between $15,000–$60,000/year depending on where you live and your program type. The bulk of the salary generally covers tuition with the remainder going towards the cost of living. …

Professional Advice

What to do when this inevitably happens to you.

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Photo by Victor Grabarczyk on Unsplash

Similar to our fingernails, dogs are equipped with nails of their own. In dogs and cats, they are more appropriately referred to as claws. The total number that they have ranges from 16–20 depending on if they’re blessed with dewclaws or not. The potential issues that come with having claws are effectively the same as what we face with our nails.

For starters, they require trimming from time to time to keep them from overgrowing. I was recently faced with a more dramatic problem than a simple prophylactic nail trim, though. In the late evening, I received a text message and a somewhat graphic picture from a friend of mine asking what they should do about their dog’s broken nail. If you’ve ever experienced this issue before you know that it can be an absolute mess due to the profound blood supply to the structures beneath the claw. A good, clean break of the claw will bleed extensively. …

My thoughts on, “The classic novel of life and death in an American hospital.”

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Recently, I’ve made a change in my career and life path, and with it, I’ve come into some time that I didn’t normally have. This has allowed me to catch up on all of the reading that has been stacking up on my bookshelf since I graduated from veterinary school.

This book was recommended to me by a peer in a group forum discussing burnout in the veterinary profession. I hadn't been heavily invested in reading this thread, but for some reason, the post about this book had caught my eye. So, when I did my last round of book acquisition I added it to the list. …

Professional Advice

Now what?

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Photo by Luzelle Cockburn on Unsplash

You’ve planned for months. Maybe you have been searching the local shelter’s website day in and day out trying to find your next pet. Perhaps every time you thought you found the perfect fit, they were scooped out from under your nose. Or, perhaps you prefer to purchase from a breeder. You’ve been eagerly watching the updates they send you each day monitoring your fluffy friend’s progress towards adoption day.

Whatever the case may be, you’ve reached the end goal. The furball was plopped into your arms, you signed some paperwork, received some paperwork in return, and then the process is all over. …

The hardest part of quitting is admitting that you’re a quitter.

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Photo by Jornada Produtora on Unsplash

I recently found myself in a difficult position. I found that despite my career goals always having been centered around achieving the job that I currently hold; my mind was exceedingly more aggressively urging me to look for something else.

It started with a quiet voice in the back of my mind many months ago.

“Is this right for you?”

Or maybe…

“Can you do this for 30 years?”

As time progressed, it became more than a whisper. It became more conversational, and then it became a shout. …

PET OWNERSHIP

A veterinarian’s insight on the most difficult question of a pet owner's life.

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Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash

Pets make our lives so much better. Whether you prefer to surround yourself with cats and dogs, horses and cattle, or rabbits and reptiles. I think we can all agree that they provide something we often didn’t even know we were missing.

Our pets stay by our sides through all of the ups and downs that we experience. They will celebrate your greatest accomplishments and console you after your greatest failures. So, it’s fitting that we should be there for their ups and downs as well.

We have the blessing of owning pets, but the curse of inevitably outliving them. We’re along for the journey as they grow from puppy (or kitten, or kit, or egg depending…) to adults. We see them in sickness and in health, and we strive to provide the best possible life to them. …

There are thousands of wrong answers, “I don’t know,” isn’t one of them.

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Photo by Simone Secci on Unsplash

I pursued a career that requires 8 years of education following high school. For better or for worse, that translated to a ton of time studying. The constant pursuit of knowledge breeds an inherent distaste within yourself for not having said knowledge.

As I progressed from high school to college, and then into veterinary school, I realized that with each step in the process there was not a sudden leap in what I knew. It wasn’t as if when I graduated from college with my degree in Biology that I was suddenly granted limitless knowledge on Biology. …

Animal Anecdote

Seeing life through a puppy’s eyes

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Photo by Hendo Wang on Unsplash

I’ve recently been writing a lot about my favorite visits to the veterinary clinic each day. All visits have the potential to be fun, but of course, puppies and kittens are the most. Now, one might think that these visits are all that fill a veterinarian’s day; but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

We see the whole gamut of animal illness, and sometimes that leads to tough decisions and discussions. The reality is that some weeks can be long and emotionally draining.

Lately, work had been that way for me. During a period of feeling sorry for myself, my dog taught me five lessons that brightened my outlook and inspired me to be more pawsitive (I know. I’m sorry! …

Some strategies that worked well for me during veterinary school.

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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

It’s been a little while since I roamed the halls of the Colorado State University Veterinary School, but I have to say I remember it fondly. I often think about the people that I met and all of the experiences that I had. However, there are days that I remember much more fondly than others.

For example, the near all-nighters studying carry a less favorable slot in the figurative memory folder than the intramural football games I played with some of my classmates on many cool Colorado fall evenings.

Post-baccalaureate studies offer some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of the modern educational system. It’s a time when one must enroll in the most difficult coursework of their educational career while at the same time develop lifelong professional contacts. …

About

Robert Sedam, DVM

Small animal veterinarian hoping to provide honest insight into the veterinary profession. Find me at pawspressplay.com. Contact: pawspressplay@gmail.com

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