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A Day In The Life...

Learn what a "typical" day is like working in a veterinary career

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Part of a continuing series. See the archive for more Day in the Life stories.

From your Guide...

I have worked as an employee veterinarian and as a relief veterinarian, so I have experienced many different office schedules, coworkers, and clients. The following is a "typical" day gleaned from all of these experiences.

The day begins...
All animals that have arrived from the overnight emergency clinic or were brought in first thing are examined first. If a pet needs surgery or hospitalization, they are admitted. The emergency clinic doctor usually calls to discuss any cases referred in from the emergency clinic.

This is followed by the morning rounds -- all patients currently in the clinic are examined and the owners phoned with progress reports. At the same time, animals being admitted for surgery are examined and the procedure discussed with the owner. After being admitted, the technicians (or doctor in some cases) draw blood samples for pre-anesthetic blood work.

Next, it is time for appointments or surgery. Personally, I like to do surgery as early in the day as possible. This allows the patient to recover throughout the day while plenty of staff are around to monitor progress.

Appointments range from new puppy or kitten visits, vaccinations, sick animals, checking lumps and bumps, suture removals, and the like. Sometimes there is an appointment for euthanasia.

The most common surgeries are spays, neuters, tumor removals, dental cleanings, and tooth extractions in the practices where I have worked.

Lunch...maybe
Most clinics stop taking appointments for an hour or two over the lunch hour. With more than one vet, appointments continue and still allow each vet to take a lunch break.

Lunch is time to finish surgery, return phone calls, check on animals recovering from anesthesia, check on hospital patients, occasionally see an emergency appointment, and hopefully...eat lunch.

Afternoon to closing time
The afternoons are spent seeing more appointments. Sick and injured animals are examined and evaluated for stability. If an animal appears critical or needs monitoring overnight, they are referred to the emergency clinic. This requires owner transport and cooperation, but most owners are more than willing to take the extra step. Afternoon treatments are done for hospital cases, phone calls returned, and final notes made in records before the day ends. Once the clinic closes, most vets go home, and many continue to think about the cases of the day...getting ready for tomorrow.

Additional Reading:

Long Distance Learning
Earn your Veterinary Technology degree on campus or via the web. An interview with Guy Hancock, DVM, MEd. the Program Director for the Veterinary Technology Distance Education Program at St. Petersburg Junior College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veterinary Technician Links
For more information about a career in <b>Veterinary Technology</

Pre-Vet and Career Forum
Stop by for advice, support, or to just vent your school frustrations!

Veterinary Career Links
For information on becoming a veterinarian and veterinary careers in general.

Special note to veterinarians:
Our profession is very diverse, interesting, and yes...at times hectic, but if you have some time, please vetmedicine@aboutguide.com share what YOUR day is like. Large animal, small animal, exotic/zoo, specialty/referral, holistic/alternative, non-practice careers -- all are welcome to share your day!

Text: Copyright © Janet Tobiassen Crosby. All rights reserved.

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