Thursday, November 7, 2013

In Awe of Equine Vets

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a veterinarian.  Not for large animals,  but for small.  Long story short,  I never even applied to vet school and chose a different path.  I had the grades, the gumption, and the love,  but I lost my passion for the job.  After shadowing a couple vets at a hospital,  I decided that I didn't want to put animals to sleep,  perform daily neuter and spay operations and to top it off,  my allergies were so horrendous that there may not be enough immunotherapy shots on the planet to have kept them at bay.

More than a decade after graduating college,  I am still happy with my decision and more convinced than ever that I would not have been happy as a vet.   Although I was not going for large animal medicine,  I see what my vet does now and I am consistently amazed.   How does she do it?   I am so thankful that there are individuals out there who can:

  • Work ten to twelve hour days regularly.
  • Explain patiently and with tact the nuances of an animal's medical condition.
  • Be available on weekends, evenings, holidays, and will leave special events to attend a call.
  • Eat on the run for every meal and every day (Seriously.  When does my vet eat?  She is constantly moving from call to call.).
  • Maintain a business from the field.
  • Shake off a nasty kick from a "patient" (I watched my vet get pinned and then kicked by a big pony; she barely took five before continuing with her work.).
  • Stay focused and calm in critical medical situations.
  • Say what needs to be said with an animal's best interest at heart.
  • Maintain composure when transitioning from a tragic call to a new patient and client.
  • Show empathy when a beloved animal is lost (My vet honestly and sincerely cried after putting one of our older horses to sleep.).
  • Give the injection that ends suffering.
I have always admired my vet, but I admire her even more now because I have a baby and am working so hard to juggle everything.  My vet is also a mother.  I just can't fathom how she does it.  She must be a super woman. 

Harley has been doing better with his coughing.  I was inspired to write this post, because no matter how late it is,  whenever I see or speak to my vet,  she is never on her last call of the day.   Equal praise goes to her faithful assistant.  The two of them are my heros.


  1. Glad to hear Harley is doing better with his coughing!
    Most vets are saints. They are truly special people. I know I could never do half the things they do. You and Harley are lucky to have a good one!

  2. I've watched the good vets - there are some who are not so good - and they are amazing - they care for the animals, work very, very hard and do amazing service.

  3. They do seem able to do it all and keep going don't they? I know I couldn't do it even if I wanted to, the pace is crazy. And I could never put an animal to sleep except maybe if it was really suffering.

  4. I agree!! I love my vet and have no idea how he does it all!

  5. I've been working at an animal hospital as a tech for 7 different doctors. My 8 hour shift consists of shadowing them and assisting with everything from annual vaccines to bad news to euthanasias. After the end of the day I remind myself why I will never become or want to be a veterinarian. They're amazing people and I think I'd rather see one than a regular doctor.

  6. Great post. I completely agree with you and I'm sure your vet appreciates your admiration!

  7. I knew early on I couldn't be a vet, if I can't give my horses routine shots there's no way I could be a vet.

    One of my vets was pregnant about 2 years ago. I called her out for something late in her pregnancy and watched as she struggled to get out of her truck because her belly was so big. I remarked on how work must be getting difficult for her and she said, "yeah, I floated teeth today- I don't think I can do that again for a while." EEK! Vets are made of tougher stuff than I.


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