What are some bad things about being a veterinarian?
A veterinary tech feeds and cares for animals, prepares them for procedures, collects specimens for tests and assists the veterinarian in giving treatments. Other duties include taking and developing x-rays and preparing the instruments before surgery. (see Reference 2) If you enjoy being around animals, the opportunity to work with them is a major advantage to a vet tech career. The job has other advantages, but it also has some disadvantages.
Education and Certification
A vet tech education puts you in the work force much sooner than the eight years it takes to become a veterinarian. (see Reference 6, How to Become One) A two-year associate degree in veterinary technology qualifies you to work as a veterinary technician, although some colleges offer a four-year bachelor’s degree program. A bachelor’s degree qualifies you for greater responsibility as a vet tech, including in research facilities. Programs at both levels receive their accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AMVA. In most states, vet techs must also pass a licensing exam, usually the Veterinary Technician National Exam.
A vet tech also has the advantage of choosing work among many different industries, according to the AVMA. Although most techs work in private animal practices, opportunities are also available in zoos, wildlife preserves, animal control departments and humane societies. Other jobs are available with the food industry and with pharmaceutical companies, animal feed businesses and biomedical research facilities.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can anticipate excellent job prospects. The BLS predicts a 52 percent job increase between 2010 and 2020, much higher than the 14 percent average for all jobs. Advances in veterinary medicine and the importance people give to pets will help increase demand for vet techs. The number of new graduates will lag behind the growth in jobs, and workers who leave will open up even more positions, the BLS predicts.
Hours and Stress
Veterinary techs sometimes endure difficult working conditions. Many vet techs must work irregular shifts in clinics and labs, including holidays, evenings and weekends. They may also be called in unexpectedly to assist with emergency care. The job can be stressful emotionally because they see sick, abused and dying animals. They often perform unpleasant procedures, such as collecting urine specimens or helping to euthanize sick animals.
The Disadvantages of Being a Veterinarian
The path to becoming a veterinarian begins with a compassion for animals. This is combined with a college education in science followed by four years in veterinary school and state licensing exams. Veterinarians treat sick animals by conducting physical examinations, prescribing medicines and performing medical procedures. They also educate animal owners and provide preventative treatments to animals. The work can be rewarding, especially when a vet sees a sick animal return to health. Veterinarians, however, acknowledge that there are some disadvantages to their job.
While some veterinarians work for government agencies and large organizations, such as zoos, the majority work in private clinical practice. A veterinary clinic can be time-consuming and costly to set up and maintain. A self-employed vet needs office space, examining rooms and a secure storage area for medicines. The veterinarian might also hire office staff to take appointments and assistants to help with the animals. Additional expenses include the cost of medical supplies, equipment, furniture, office supplies and advertising.
Veterinarians often respond to emergencies that can occur at any time of the day or night. Some vets, particularly those who work with large animals, may need to travel to where the animals are located. This might mean traveling to a farm in the middle of the night to assist with an animal birth emergency. Unless there are other vets in the same office or area to share the work load, a veterinarian might find it difficult to schedule vacation days.
Veterinarians are compassionate people and often have to deal with the fact that they cannot cure or treat every sick animal they encounter. This can be emotionally draining on a veterinarian, as he deals with both his own emotions and provides advice to grieving pet owners. He might struggle with his obligations towards people who have sick pets but cannot afford to pay for veterinary care. Vets also encounter animals who suffer from abuse and neglect.
Treating animals is a physically demanding job, particularly with large animals. Since treatment of a large animal generally requires an out-of-office visit, the vet might end up working in a barn or stable, far away from the sanitary and convenient conditions of a clinic. Regardless of size, a sick animal can also be difficult to control and a vet runs the risk of personal injury and damage to expensive medical equipment. While there are disadvantages to the job, veterinarians find variety in their work and the privilege of working with animals.
Hardest Things About Being A Veterinarian
Being a veterinarian can be one of the most gratifying careers in the world. We have the ability to heal companions, which for many, are part of the family. But being a veterinarian also has its share of challenges. It this blog, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what I think are the top 3 most difficult aspects of being a veterinarian.
Often times, clientele comment on how euthanasia must be the hardest part of my job. While it can be very emotionally taxing, the truth is euthanasia is not the hardest part of my career. As a veterinarian, it is a double-edged sword. Euthanasia is often a wonderful service to be able to provide to a suffering animal, or one that has terminal disease and no longer has an acceptable quality of life. That being said, many times a veterinarian develops a personal relationship with not only the pet owners, but the animal as well. Sometimes it is very difficult to not break down and cry during a euthanasia. Sometimes it happens.
If you’ve ever looked into the innocent eyes of an animal that has an unexplained fear of people, an animal that quivers thinking it could be beaten at any time for reasons that aren’t understood, then you know what type of gut wrenching feeling that invokes. Animal cruelty can occur in more forms than just physical violence, it can also include negligence, hording, and abandonment to name a few. I see cases on a routine basis where an animal owner doesn’t even realize that they are being negligent to their pet. Domesticated animals rely on their owners to not only provide food, water, and shelter, but a nurturing environment as well. As veterinarians, we are ethically bound to report suspected cases of abuse.
The Inability to Treat
In my opinion, the very toughest aspect of being a vet is having a young, mostly-healthy animal with a solvable problem- but no resources to correct the issue. The truth is, even the healthiest of animals can run into unexpected illnesses or accidents. This is the main reason I’m such a huge pet insurance enthusiast. Cat and dog insurance can often mean the different between affording care for your pet, or having to opt for euthanasia because of cost alone.
Sometimes pet illnesses and accidents can be very demanding both emotionally and financially. Repeatedly, veterinarians are in a situation where we feel we could cure a pet, but there just aren’t the funds to treat the patient. Many people don’t realize that veterinary clinics are businesses, not charities. Given the very large overhead associated with running a hospital, many clinics have very little financial wiggle-room to keep the business in positive numbers, let alone donate products and services. Too often clients enter a veterinary clinic with the expectation that regardless of what they are able to pay, their animal will receive the care it requires. As an animal lover, it is so hard to tell someone that their pet won’t receive that care. It’s even harder to watch that animal walk out the door without the medical attention it needs. These circumstances leave us with such an unsettling feeling of helplessness and sorrow. There are few things worse than knowing that a decision about life, or the quality of it, came down to money.