Life with a Blind Cat – Stevie’s Story Continued

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Stevie

Stevie enjoys going outside.

It’s been almost a year since I brought home my blind kitten. She’s now a blind cat! If you came to visit her at my house, you would never even guess that she’s completely blind. She jumps on the furniture and runs around like a normal cat. She even loves sitting in the window sills. We have a fully fenced in back yard, and I occasionally let Stevie run around in our backyard. She hasn’t figured out how to climb the 6’ privacy fence yet, but she does get in the lower branches of our weeping willow. There’s a cat that lives in my neighborhood and frequently hops into my back yard. He’s a neutered, male named H.B.   H.B. technically belonged to the people who lived in my house before my family moved in. Since they left him behind, I see to it that he’s fed, well vaccinated, and has a warm place to sleep. I do believe H.B. considers us invaders to his home rather than his new family. When Stevie becomes aware of H.B.’s presence, she tries to follow him around. H.B. responds in much the way an older brother responds to his annoying little sister… Their interactions remind me of Garfield and Nermal. I’m pretty sure H.B. would ship Stevie to Abu-Dhabi in a heartbeat if he could figure out how.

Nermal

Garfield was always trying to send Nermal to Abu Dhabi.

Anyway, my little blind cat has adjusted well to life at home.   She’s a loveable, snuggly cat, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything!

 

Peace and Love, y’all!

Dr. Katie

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Life with a Blind Kitten – Stevie’s Story

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By  Dr. Katie

Hello everyone!  A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about how many pets I have (How Many Pets Does a Veterinarian Have?).   Well I have an addition to my household, and here’s the scoop on my newest edition….

Dr. Katie snapped this photo on the first day she got Stevie.  You can tell her eyes are not normal

Dr. Katie snapped this photo on the first day she got Stevie. You can tell her eyes are not normal

Early in September, 3 college age ladies brought a tiny 1 pound kitten to My Zoo Animal Hospital.  They found the little kitten under a bush near their apartment complex.   The kitten clearly had a problem with her eyes, and the ladies were concerned that some sort of trauma had occurred to injure the kitten’s eyes.   They named her Stevie (after Stevie Wonder).  Since she’s a girl kitten, I tend to think her as named after Stevie Nicks now.  The kind-hearted young women decided to bring this little kitten in for an exam and her first vaccinations even though their apartment didn’t allow pets.

Stevie is wondering what the glasses are.  Are they another cat toy?

Stevie is wondering what the glasses are. Are they another cat toy?

Well, I fell in love with the adorable little creature.  Since the ladies couldn’t keep her, I offered to take Stevie and find her a good home.  I took her home that day and started treating her eye infection.  It’s been 5 weeks, and I think we can safely say that Stevie’s going to stay in my home.   She follows the sound of my footsteps as I work around my house.  She sits on my shoulder when I sit on the couch.   Her playful antics and adorable personality have won my heart.  It doesn’t bother me a bit that she has severe congenital defects with her eyes.   Part of her eyelids didn’t develop (eyelid agenesis) and her eyes are too small for her head (microphthalmia).   I believe she is almost completely blind, but she hasn’t let it slow her down.   In my house, I am careful to keep her environment safe.  When I’m at work, I keep her in a small room away from my dogs so she doesn’t get into any trouble.  As she grows, I’ll see how her eyes continue to develop.  There’s a possibility I may have to perform surgery to make sure she stays a happy, comfortable cat, but for now…I’m enjoying watching my blind kitten grow up!  They grow so quickly!

 

Stevie is pretty sure ponytails are just another form of cat toys.

Stevie is pretty sure ponytails are just another form of cat toys.

Stevie isn't a great companion for naps.

Stevie isn’t a great companion for naps.

You can even tell from this picture that Stevie has defects with her eyes.

You can’t even tell from this picture that Stevie has defects with her eyes.

Dr. Katie's blind kitten and her greyhound share a water bowl.

Dr. Katie’s blind kitten and her greyhound share a water bowl.

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A Normal Day – A Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #7

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7:20 amWoke up.  I rolled out of bed, let the dogs out, got dressed, and trudged down the hall.

 7:30 am – I started the day by eating a cup of yogurt and watching the local news.   I always check the weather.   During the hot days of summer, I always worry about animals getting too hot.  Remember to provide shelter and water for your animals.  Pets can over heat too!

7:50 am – Arrived at work. Before starting appointments at 8 am, I poured a cup of coffee and checked the schedule and files of patients coming in.   I perform physical exams on any patients here for surgery to make sure they are healthy enough for anesthesia.  Usually I don’t get to sit and finish my coffee and end up gulping down the last bit when it’s already cold!

 

8-8:45 – Spayed a cat.  The most common surgeries we perform here are castrations and spays.  Interestingly, the term neuter refers not just to males but also to spaying a female animal as well.  We blogged about neutering pets in an earlier blog post (http://www.myzooanimalhospital.com/ruby-speaks-out-on-neutering-pets).

9:00- about noon – During this time I saw appointments.  Today, I gave an 8 week old puppy her first set of vaccinations and started her on heartworm prevention.  Puppies can still get infected from heartworms even though they are young, so it’s important to start them on prevention around 8 weeks of age!  During this first visit, I also dewormed for common intestinal worms.   I also saw a sick 17 yr old cat.  We performed blood work on the cat and found out that this cat’s kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should.  This is a really common problem in older cats, and one that can be managed with a special diet and keeping the pet appropriately hydrated.   During the afternoon appointments, I also saw a dog with low thyroid, a cat with flea allergies, and a family of 3 healthy cats for routine vaccinations. I also cleaned up a wound on a dog’s paw, and applied a medicated bandage.

Gus is sleeping with his nub hanging of the shelf

Gus is sleeping with his nub hanging of the shelf

12:30 – Lunch.  I went home to let out my geriatric greyhound.  While our technicians were caring for lodging animals, I headed home to take care of my dogs.  I have an old greyhound who depends on a regular bathroom schedule.   Gary has written quite a few blog posts about caring for older dogs (Care of the Older Dog , and Avoiding Heat Stroke).   During lunch I also checked on my 3 chinchillas who are usually sleeping at that time.  They are just so cute when they sleep!  My 3 legged chinchilla (Gus) was sleeping with his nub hanging off the ledge today!

 

1:30 – Closing – During the afternoon, I continued to see appointments.   During this afternoon, I performed examinations and gave vaccinations to 3 more dogs and 2 cats.   3 of these animals were overweight so I discussed weight loss plans and took measurements that help me calculate a healthy weight.  Overweight pets are more inclined to have arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, and other issues.   Overweight pets have a shortened life expectancy and a decreased quality of life!  Around 3:00pm, I saw a 19 year old cat who no longer was enjoying life.  After discussing numerous options, the owners decided that it was time to say goodbye.  I performed euthanasia to ease this pet’s suffering and let her rest.  As a veterinarian, this is the hardest part of my job, but I know that it’s one of the most important tasks.   Guiding a suffering pet to a peaceful rest is the final act of service I can perform to help an animal.  I gave the owners a great big hug as they headed out the door.   Around 4:00pm we performed x-rays on a patient we diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago.  The lungs were still free of visible metastases!  Hooray!  I saw a couple more appointments before closing: 2 more puppies, a constipated cat, a limping Yorkie, and a beagle with ear issues.

 

6:00pm – Around 6:00pm I headed home for the evening.  I took my dogs on a walk while I warmed up for a jog.  My dogs are old so they don’t like running, but they do enjoy the warm-up walk!  Then I met a neighbor and we ran together for 3 miles.   We’re preparing for a 5K in July to benefit orphans in Haiti.   I watered my flowers, and cleaned up after the run.  Last night, my husband cooked a stir-fry dinner that was ready around 9:00pm.  After dinner, I get ready for bed and the next day!

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How many pets does a veterinarian have? – Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #6

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In response to a question asked on Twitter, today I’m going to blog about my pets and how I got them.   I have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 chinchillas, 1 betta fish, and a 10 gallon tank of tropical fish.  How did I come by all these animals?

 

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

Gary the Greyhound – When I was finishing up my last year of college, I started researching what type of dog would be a good companion while I went to vet school.  I was looking for a low energy, low maintenance dog with a good temperament. It was also important to me that I rescued an older dog instead of purchasing a puppy.  Greyhounds, contrary to what you might think, are actually couch potatoes at heart.  During vet school, I took Gary on 3 small walks per day (he preferred to walk less than ½ mile per walk).   Occasionally, we’d go to a dog park so he could run.   A run lasts for all of about 30 seconds before he’s ready to go back to the couch!  Gary is now 11 years old, and he’s in great health for an old dog (other than being skinny!).  I feed him 6 to 9 cups of prescription b/d (for healthy brain and aging). He’s on a special food to help him with “cognitive dysfunction.”

Here's a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

Here’s a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

 

Here's Ruby after Dr. Katie dewormed, spayed, and fed her a high quality food for a couple of months.

Here’s Ruby after Dr. Katie dewormed, spayed, and fed her a high quality food for a couple of months.

 Ruby the Mutt – In the summer of 2009, just before Chase and I got married we found a dog and 3 puppies in the woods.  We were looking for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker (an endangered bird in Southern Arkansas), but we found a litter of puppies instead!  We didn’t plan on keeping any of them, but no one wanted the little momma dog.  Her fur coat was rough, her eyes were dull, she was very skinny, and her mammary tissue was saggy from nursing puppies.   We gave her a silly name R.C.W.  (named after the bird we were looking for) since we weren’t keeping her.   Well it’s been 4 years, and you can guess that Ruby isn’t going anywhere!  Chase fell in love with her and decided we could keep her.  The funny part about all of this is…Chase does not consider himself a dog person, and I warned him that since he was marrying a veterinarian dogs would just find me!

Home Boy

Home Boy the CatChase and I bought our first house in June of 2012.  Unexpectedly, our house came with an asthmatic, indoor/outdoor cat named “H.B” (short for Home Boy).  The name seemed appropriate so we didn’t rename him.  The first week I had him, I decided he needed to have some vaccines boostered.   He’s a good cat, and he’s now  well adjusted to his new owners!

 

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

The Chinchillas – I got my first chinchilla (Chimi) shortly after graduating vet school.   He was given to me from a family who didn’t really have enough time for him, and they wanted to find him a new home.  We loved Chimi from the start, and what could be more cute than a chinchilla?   We decided that we wanted to get him a buddy so I posted on Facebook that I was looking.  One of my colleagues quickly responded that she had a customer who was looking to rehome a chinchilla.  So that’s how we acquired Bert.  Now my third chinchilla (Gus), I’ll have to confess…I got him off Craigslist!   Gus is a 3 legged fellow and we just couldn’t resist.  We’re up to 3 chinchillas, and that’s probably the number we’ll stick with.

 

Merlin the Betta – Merlin the betta lives in a 5 gallon tank on my desk at My Zoo.  When I have spare time, I work on trick training.  So far my betta will go through a hoop on command for a treat.  I’ll try to write a blog with picture proof in the future!  I got the betta to prove that even a betta fish could be taught tricks!

 

The Fish – we have a 10 gallon tank with 1 swordtail and 6-ish platys.  The platys are constantly reproducing, but only 1 or 2 babies survive each time.  Why do we have fish? Well, my husband and I bought a Betta (named Iroh) 4 years ago.  We bought our betta a 10 gallon tank with some bottom dwelling fish (corydoras).  Well the corydora fish harassed Iroh endlessly, so we moved our poor old betta back to a smaller tank.  Then we purchased more fish for the 10 gallon tank.

 

Question? or idea for a blog post?  Just leave a comment here, tweet us, or post on facebook!

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Vet School Clinical Rotations – Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #5

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Here Dr. Katie is getting ready for surgery during clinical rotations

Here Dr. Katie is getting ready for surgery during clinical rotations

Welcome to fifth entry in our “Day in the Life of a Veterinarian: Dr. Katie” blog series!  I’ve already blogged about why I wanted to be a veterinarian, high school and college preparation, and the classes of veterinary school.  Today’s entry is about the last 2 years of veterinary school: clinical rotations.

In October of my third year of vet school, I earned my white coat and started my clinical rotations.  Clinical rotations are the part of vet school when vet students start to make the transition from student to doctor.   As a student on clinical rotations, we see patients and start learning procedures.  We work side by side with a clinician (a fully trained and licensed veterinarian that works in the teaching hospital) to examine, diagnose, and treat patients.

Each clinical rotation lasts from 6 to 8 weeks, and each student rotates through the different services.  The core services every student must complete are as follows:

  • Equine Medicine and Surgery
  • Food Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiology (x-rays and diagnostic imaging)
  • Neurology/neurosurgery (brain and nerves)
  • Oncology (cancer)
  • Ophthalmology (eyes)
  • Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery (surgery involving the bones)
  • Diagnostic Pathology
  • Small Animal Community Practice
  • Small Animal Internal Medicine
  • Theriogenology (fertility and reproduction of animals)

 

In addition to the “core” rotations, students must also complete around 12 to 14 weeks of elective courses.  Students can also elect to repeat core rotations for more experience in particular areas of practice.   Here are the rotations I chose to fill my elective time:

  • Cardiology
  • Small Animal Community Practice
  • Small Animal internal Medicine
  • Ophthalmology

 

Over the course of the 2 years of clinical rotations, students have 12 weeks of time off clinical.   During this “time off,” we complete externships, study for licensing exams (boards), and interview with prospective employers.  I spent 4 weeks in Houston, TX and completed externships in 2 different small animal clinics.  I also spent 3 weeks in North Carolina and completed an externship at a high volume spay and neuter clinic.  If your free block falls over a holiday, students get that holiday off from school, but if you are on rotation during a holiday…there’s no guarantee you get that holiday off!

 

To give you a feel for what clinics are like, here’s an excerpt from my own journal (January 30, 2011).

“Today marks the 5th day into my Internal Medicine rotation. Although, I’ve been the busiest I’ve been since starting vet school, I’m enjoying almost every minute of it (well aside from the hours of S.O.A.P.s [medical records] and paperwork). Every day is full of learning – and not the sort of learning where you try to cram thousands of seemingly irrelevant facts into a tired, already full brain – the sort of learning where you think through disease processes and APPLY everything for the benefit of your patient. It’s invigorating to actually try to use what you’ve learned to save a life. I’m early to rise and late to bed for the sake of my patients, but it’s worth it to see the clinical signs and blood work improve little by little, day by day.

I have to say though, my ability to keep up with the housework has dwindled to next to nothing. “Poor” Chase [husband] has had to pick up almost all of the household chores (like taking the dogs out every morning b/c I leave before my dogs care to get out of bed) and cooking dinner. And as for “me” time…well, there’s just no fitting it into my schedule.”

 

Advice for students on clinical rotations:

  • Start studying for board exams about 1 year in advance.  I did Vet Prep and passed on the first try with no problem.
  • Use your free blocks to network and experience as many veterinary clinics as possible.
  • Sleep when you can.   Don’t stay up late if you’re not on call!  There will be plenty of sleepless nights!
  • Speak up in rounds (even if you’re wrong).
  • Be nice to your classmates.  I know it’s hard to always be nice when you’re around someone 24/7, but you’re all stressed and tired.  Be as nice as you can!  What goes around comes around.
  • Respect your clinicians.   Most clinicians are board certified, veterinary specialists with YEARS of experience.  Even if you don’t agree, respect them!
  • Communicate with owners!  Explain how the teaching hospital works, and that you are a student working under a highly qualified clinician.
  • Keep the referring veterinarian up to date.  When I send a patient over to the VMTH [Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital], I still worry about those patients.  Please keep us up to date!
  • Don’t go to sleep until you’ve gotten all your medical records done.   It’s easy to get buried under paperwork, so don’t let it pile it up!  When you’re SOAPing on internal medicine, you can cover one part of a disease every day.  If you put it all in your first SOAP, you’ll run out of subjects if the patient stays for a long time!
  • Be nice to the employees in accounting and medical records.  They are just doing their jobs and trying to keep you out of trouble!

 

I’m happy to answer any questions I can.  Just leave a comment here, tweet us, or post on facebook!

Dr. Katie

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Dreams of a Veterinarian – Episode 1

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As some of you may know, I love chinchillas.  My husband and I currently have 3 male chinchillas.  Last night before I retired for the night, we let the chinchillas play out of their cages for about 3 hours.  We love watching them run, jump, and chase each other around our “pet room.”  After the chinchillas were safely back in their cage, I crawled into bed and fell asleep.  In my dreams, I dreamed about a house with 23 chinchillas.   I have no idea why I was in the house in my dream, but I was there when the police were arresting the owner.  The police (in the dream) decided to shoot all the chinchillas.  I was so horrified; I volunteered to save them all!  So I spent the rest of the dream moving the 23 chinchillas into my house.  In this dream, my husband and I decided we would save the 23 chinchillas and work to find them new homes.

-Dr. Katie

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A Day in the Life – Dr. Katie 4: Veterinary School Classes

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The Vet School Experience:  HOLD ON TIGHTLY!

The Vet School Experience: HOLD ON TIGHTLY!

From 2008 to 2012, I attended veterinary school at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.  What’s it like? Well let’s just say it’s like you are really, really thirsty for knowledge.  Vet school is like trying to drink from a fire hose.

Here's what my desk looked lick most of the time during my first year of vet school.

Here’s what my desk looked like most of the time during my first year of vet school.

Year 1 – The first year is all class room work covering “normal:”   anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, virology, microanatomy, immunology, genomics, parasitology, pathology, nutrition, and an assortment of other classes.    I’ll be honest, the first year is extremely difficult, and about 10% of my class dropped out or failed out during the first year.   Just as a note, Mizzou’s classroom curriculum for veterinary students isn’t broken into semesters but instead “instructional periods”  Basically 2 instructional periods equals 1 semester in terms of time, but each IP still covers a full semester of material.  Vet school classes move much faster than undergrad.  It was my observation that students tended to be good at either physiology OR anatomy and not both.   I was a physiology-minded student, and I despised anatomy.  During this year, I had to constantly remind myself why I was there, and that I chose to be there, and that there were many people who wished they could be in vet school.

 

Year 2 – The second year of vet school is all about what can go wrong in animals.  Classes include clinical pathology, internal medicine, community medicine, exotic animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, pharmacology, surgery, and other classes.

If you’re entering vet school and about to start your first year…here are some thoughts that helped me through the first 2 years:

  • Happiness = reality – expectations.  You might have been a straight A student in college, but in vet school that goal may not be reasonable.    Do the best you can and focus on learning the material for life and not for the test.  After school, the test comes first, then the lesson (and sometimes it is a hard lesson indeed).
  • Do something fun EVERYDAY!  You will likely spend most of every day studying.  I used to wake up at 4am and study for a couple of hours before school started.  I would come home, walk my greyhound, eat dinner, and then resume studying.  For the first 3 instructional periods (1.5 semesters), I didn’t spend much time doing fun things.  When I started painting (something I enjoy) again in IP 4, my grades dramatically improved as did my happiness (finishing anatomy might have helped my happiness too).
  • Sleep.   You will feel like pulling all nighters during your first year, but studies show that sleep is more important.  If you don’t know the material by then…it’s probably too late!
  • Take care of your body.  You will have a hard time focusing and studying if you neglect taking care of yourself.  Remember to eat nutritious meals regularly, exercise, brush your teeth every day, and bathe!   As a student, you pay for a membership to the student gym and the student health center with your fees.  No, you can’t opt out of paying the fees so you might as well use both facilities! If you are sick, go to the doctor!
  • Make friends.    I made some wonderful friends during vet school.  We spent a lot of the 4 years of vet school together:  studying, eating, celebrating, and commiserating. They are still very important to me although now they are miles away.
  • Be nice to teachers.  Contrary to how you might feel about them, teachers really do want you to succeed.  Your ultimate goal is to pass your “boards” (federal and state) so you can “practice veterinary medicine.”   Your teachers are there to teach you the information you need to know to pass boards and become an excellent veterinarian.  Ask them politely for help and how you can do better in their class.  They are a treasure trove of information.
  • Utilize resources.  Did you know the vet school has a counselor employed just to listen to you?  He came in a couple days per week when I was a student, and he can help you address little problems before they become big problems.   You’re paying for him with your tuition and fees!  Get your money’s worth!
  • Live frugally.  Those loans are no fun to pay back!  Talk to a financial planner at least a couple of times to help you!  The vet school has one that is very knowledgeable about loans for veterinary students.  Your tuition also pays for him!  I wish I had lived a little more frugally during vet school, because now I’m paying off my loans.  My monthly loan payment is more than (much more actually) than my mortgage and home insurance combined.

 

This picture was taken just after the Class of 2012's White Coat Ceremony.

This picture was taken just after the Class of 2012’s White Coat Ceremony.

Right around fall of your 3rd year of vet school, you have a “white coat ceremony.”   This ceremony marks the end of your classroom years, and the start of clinicals.   During this ceremony, someone very important to you “coats” you.  My husband, Chase, helped me put my white coat on since he supported and encouraged me through the challenging classroom curriculum!

 

The next blog post will be about surviving clinics in Veterinary School!

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A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian – Dr. Katie 3: Becoming a Veterinarian

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One of the most common questions I get asked by people (especially children) is… “How did you become a veterinarian?”   Well I can tell you, it was a long journey!   Of course it all started with deciding that becoming a veterinarian is what I wanted, and that’s covered in the last blog post (link here).   Becoming a veterinarian takes just as much education as becoming a human doctor:  4 years (most of the time) of college and 4 years of veterinary school.  After vet school, you have to take exams to make sure you learned everything you need to learn to practice veterinary medicine.  I’ll pick up the rest of my journey in middle school when I started to decide what type of veterinarian I wanted to be.

In middle school, I met Jane Goodall in person after one of her lectures. I was impressed by her intelligence and passion for helping animals and teaching people, and I dreamt of emulating her example.  Going to exotic locations to study wildlife sounded fun and exciting!  During middle school, I started to build a good foundation in studying math and science so I’d be ready for advanced courses in high school.

During high school, I really focused on my grades and gaining more experience with animals.  I studied really hard and excelled in math and science courses.  Veterinary Medicine is a lot of science, so gaining a strong background in the sciences is very important!  For more animal experience, I started volunteering at the Little Rock Zoo.   Since I love working with people and animals, I chose to volunteer in the petting zoo area with the sheep, goats, and miniature horses.  I loved every minute of it, but I still wanted more of an intellectual challenge.  During high school, I also started shadowing a few local veterinarians (including the zoo veterinarian).  I kept a record of every hour of experience with animals.  If you want to be a veterinarian, I recommend you keep a log too, because you will be able to list every hour of animal experience on your veterinary school application.

I decided to get my bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at the University of Arkansas (I come from a long line of Razorback fans).   During college, I made sure to always take a high course load (greater than 15 hours per semester) and get all the required courses to enter vet school.   Every vet school has different prerequisite courses, so you should check with the schools you are interested in attending.   I also took every animal science course I could fit in my schedule.  During the summers I worked at a small animal veterinary clinic and I loved it!  I loved the relationship humans and pets have, I loved the challenge of not knowing what cases would walk through the door.  In college, I was also very involved with extracurricular activities (Pre-vet club, honors college, Block and Bridle, Equine training, and Sisters for the Lord).  Taking difficult classes and being active in extracurricular activities demonstrates to veterinary schools that you can handle the rigors of vet school!

In June 2005, I engaged in my very own primate adventure in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.  For two weeks, I observed the feeding habits of Central American Spider Monkeys.   During those 2 weeks, I learned just how much I missed interacting with people on a daily basis (and not to mention how much I love running water and electricity).

Here's a picture of a spider monkey that Dr. Katie snapped while in the jungle.

Here’s a picture of a spider monkey that Dr. Katie snapped while in the jungle.

Your application to veterinary school is due almost a year before you start vet school!  Most schools use an online application system so you can apply to multiple schools at once.  I applied to multiple schools, but after visiting Mizzou, I knew Mizzou was the school for me!   My whole family came to visit with me, and we all just loved the faculty and facilities of the Mizzou Veterinary School.  In 2008, I graduated with my Bachelors of Science from the University of Arkansas (4 years of undergraduate), and in August 2008 I headed out to start my first year of veterinary School!

 

Dr. Katie and her family during a visit to the Mizzou Campus before vet school.

Dr. Katie and her family during a visit to the Mizzou Campus before vet school.

Advice for people who want to be a veterinarian:

  • Keep a record of every experience you have with animals.  This includes all the farm work, volunteering at zoos, animal classes, shadowing veterinarians, and anything else with animals!  Try to get as much experience in different areas as you can!
  • Study hard in school.  You’re going to need exceptional grades and an excellent foundation in education to get into and succeed in vet school.  Study! Study! Study!   This goes for students of all ages!
  • Volunteer!  Volunteering not only helps your community but it helps you gain experience in working with a variety of people and animals.
  • Remember that people are important too!  If you don’t like people, veterinary medicine may not be the job for you!  Be sure to explore many career options and get experience in the veterinary field to make sure it’s the right fit for you!
  • Be well rounded.  I know that I’ve stressed grades are important, but it’s also important to get real world experience as well!

 

I’ll be blogging next about what veterinary school is like, because I think that deserves a blog post or two all of its own!

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A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian – Dr. Katie 2: Why?

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Top.BMP

Many people spend their entire lives trying to discover their passion. I found mine as a child who loved her dog.  Corky was a feisty, little Corgi-mutt, who entered the family when I was five. He was my loyal defender for eleven years, defending me from friends, parents, neighbors, and everything else he deemed dangerous. Growing up, I always knew there was nothing scarier than my dog under my bed.   As a child, I always enjoyed accompanying him to the veterinarian’s office and plaguing the vet with questions. Even though Corky tried to bite the vet every single time except for his last visit, I wanted to be a veterinarian so I could help pets and their people.  This is the only profession that provides new challenges every day and fulfills my passion for helping animals and people.

So, is veterinary medicine everything I thought it would be?  Every day is a little different, and I never know what cases will walk through the door.   I enjoy the challenge of diagnosing and treating animals’ maladies, and I love meeting new people with their pets.  I truly enjoy learning something new every day.  However, there are difficult things about being a veterinarian.  For example, there are diseases (like cancer) we can’t cure, and patients we can’t save.   When I’m faced with those, I offer the very best that new technology and medicine have to offer, and hope and pray for the best.

 

This post was all about the why I decided to be a veterinarian; next up will be how I got there.

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A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian – Dr. Katie: Introduction

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Dr Katie Darr DVM
Hi everyone!  This is Dr. Katie!  I’ve been asked quite a bit about what it’s like to be a veterinarian.  Why did I become a vet? How did I become a veterinarian?  How long did it take?  What sort of education did I have to receive?  What is a regular day like?  How many pets do I have?     To answer some of these questions, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts (called A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian) over the next couple of months.

 

If you have any burning questions that you’ve always wanted to ask a veterinarian, submit your questions here as comment, on our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MyZooAnimalHospital), or on our Twitter account (https://twitter.com/MyZooAnimalHosp).

 

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