How Did You Get Your Animal Experience?

QUESTION:

Thank you so much for all of your helpful advice in past posts! I am actually in high school right now, and was wondering how you got all of your animal experience. I live on a small farm so I have worked with a variety of animals, just not "officially." I know if I am getting accepted to vet school in the future I need to start now, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 


ANSWER:

It's great that you are being proactive in your quest to go to vet school. Here are some prep tips to help you along the way (they worked well for me).

1. You mentioned you live on a farm and have worked with some animals, but not in an "official" capacity. Guess what? You are already developing skills that some first year vet students don't possess. Focus on learning things like breeds of the different species, lingo, animal handling, and the different kinds of meds used on the farm, including when they are used. Knowing this information at an early stage makes remembering concepts second nature (and sometimes easier to learn certain material) by the time you get to vet school. For Example: You may not know the mechanics of why a bottle of calcium gluconate is used on a cow that just freshened (gave birth), but years later when you learn about down cow syndrome, you'll remember how you generally treated cows who had the same clinical signs back on your farm.

2. Usually veterinarians are excited to teach and mentor young students who want to become...veterinarians. It's as simple as picking up the phone, calling a clinic, and telling them your goals or going in person and doing the same. Most likely, it will be volunteer work. However, being able to shadow in a clinic is priceless. You will learn terminology, learn how to perform diagnostic tests (ie. How to make a fecal float to check for parasites), and more. If you can turn it into a paid job... even better!  

-Dr.G