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Veterinarian vs. Human Doctor Options
thanh n
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 7:07:26 PM
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A lot of people say that being a doctor is a very rewarding experience, getting to save people's lives in a whim. But what type of doctor were they talking about? A vet or a people doctor?

What are the pros and cons of being a vet? What are the pros and cons of being a human doctor?

Would it be better to be a vet? Or a human doctor?

Why?
grammargeek
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 7:34:29 PM
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thanh n wrote:
A lot of people say that being a doctor is a very rewarding experience, getting to save people's lives in a whim. But what type of doctor were they talking about? A vet or a people doctor?

What are the pros and cons of being a vet? What are the pros and cons of being a human doctor?

Would it be better to be a vet? Or a human doctor?

Why?


As far as I know, all doctors are human, so I guess I'll go with that answer. Dancing

But saving lives on a whim? I don't think so! A whim is more of a spur of the moment idea. The time it takes to become a doctor is anything but a whim.
bugdoctor
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 7:46:08 PM
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thanh n wrote:
A lot of people say that being a doctor is a very rewarding experience, getting to save people's lives in a whim. But what type of doctor were they talking about? A vet or a people doctor?

What are the pros and cons of being a vet? What are the pros and cons of being a human doctor?

Would it be better to be a vet? Or a human doctor?

Why?


I agree with grammargeek. The word 'whim' doesn't make any sense here. I have cream in my coffee on a whim.

As for what type of doctor, Both vets and MDs can have rewarding experiences. Some do. Some don't. The latter are the ones I don't want treating either me OR my dog.
thanh n
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 8:34:38 PM
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okay okay, so not on a whim. I used that word a bit too freely, but come on now, work with me here :]
bugdoctor
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 8:55:25 PM
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thanh n wrote:
okay okay, so not on a whim. I used that word a bit too freely, but come on now, work with me here :]


IF you want to be a VET, you'll find that it may require a college GPA equal to or maybe even higher than Med School. I know this sounds strange, but it's true. I used to be an undergraduate adviser for the biological sciences, and I had a number of pre-med and pre-vet students. If you fall much under 3.5 you'll find it harder to get into a reputable school. For Med students, the MCAT is equally important, and the lower your MCAT, the higher your GPA needs to be.

If you're serious about either as a career, seek some advice from a counselor at the undergraduate institution you wish to attend. He/she will talk with you about course requirements, etc. That will give you a good idea about whether you wish to continue on that track or choose another. It is NOT an easy road, but- yes - it can be a very rewarding one.
TYSON
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 9:05:54 PM
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grammargeek wrote:


As far as I know, all doctors are human, so I guess I'll go with that answer. Dancing

But saving lives on a whim? I don't think so! A whim is more of a spur of the moment idea. The time it takes to become a doctor is anything but a whim.
[/quote]

DR Who was from Gallifrey. He was not human. Fictitious, but non-human nonetheless.
Steve
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 4:51:30 AM
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grammargeek wrote:
thanh n wrote:
A lot of people say that being a doctor is a very rewarding experience, getting to save people's lives in a whim. But what type of doctor were they talking about? A vet or a people doctor?

What are the pros and cons of being a vet? What are the pros and cons of being a human doctor?

Would it be better to be a vet? Or a human doctor?

Why?


As far as I know, all doctors are human, so I guess I'll go with that answer. Dancing

What thanh n meant by "human doctor" was a doctor for people. Of course thanh didn't mean a doctor that was a dog or a mongoose. (unless you were kidding grammargeek, then I guess I missed the joke. :) )

But saving lives on a whim? I don't think so! A whim is more of a spur of the moment idea. The time it takes to become a doctor is anything but a whim.


thanh n meant that the process of diagnosing a patient and getting treatment can be efficient, almost on a "whim". Not the actual training to be a doctor. But I agree, it was an odd choice of words.
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 4:57:36 AM
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Steve wrote:
What thanh n meant by "human doctor" was a doctor for people. Of course thanh didn't mean a doctor that was a dog or a mongoose. (unless you were kidding grammargeek, then I guess I missed the joke. :) )

...I guess you missed the joke.
peterhewett
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 6:47:28 AM
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I agree both would be rewarding. I suppose it depends on what motivates you to choose either profession as to how rewarding or otherwise it turns out to be. Failure to save or heal, for the doctor is more far reaching since he/she is dealing with fellow humans, and the consequences are more keenly felt. Sad as it is one can always, say, replace a dog, but a child...father ...mother?
bugdoctor
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 7:57:29 AM
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peterhewett wrote:
I agree both would be rewarding. I suppose it depends on what motivates you to choose either profession as to how rewarding or otherwise it turns out to be. Failure to save or heal, for the doctor is more far reaching since he/she is dealing with fellow humans, and the consequences are more keenly felt. Sad as it is one can always, say, replace a dog, but a child...father ...mother?


As an aside, it's bizarre that in some cases the punishment for ill treatment of a pet carries harsher penalties than similar treatment to humans.
peterhewett
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 10:52:05 AM
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bugdoctor wrote
As an aside, it's bizarre that in some cases the punishment for ill treatment of a pet carries harsher penalties than similar treatment to humans.

Peter said

Yes so true. It is similar to the way judge's sentence. The destruction of property and stealing of goods/money is treated far more severely than the taking of life... at least it is in the UK. The Great Train Robbers got something like forty years each, whereas a murderer gets, on average 12 years and serves eight. In serial killing cases, or of premeditation, it is usually longer.
early_apex
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 12:09:52 PM
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To choose veterinary medicine over a "standard" medical career, one should answer the question, "Do I like animals?". The answer may come that yes, I like housepets, but I am not fond of horses, cows and goats. That would lead to a decision to practice in the city rather than in a rural locale. If you have an interest in treating livestock along with house pets, I would recommend reading some or all of the James Herriot books. If you read only one, I would recommend All Creatures Great and Small. It is a true-to-life account of the everyday work of a rural Vet.

An interesting fact about veterinarians is that they must diagnose their patients without asking questions. I believe greater skill is required there in diagnosis.
thanh n
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 9:56:00 PM
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Thanks everyone for voicing their opinion :] it really helps me out.

bugdoctor I did not know that the gpa for being a vet had to be higher than a medical doctor, but that would not faze me at all. Challenges is what makes life so grand and fun.

early apex I'll try reading those books that you recommended. I truly do love animals, hahaha especially horses and cows and goats. If I were to go into the vet profession, I was aiming to be a big animal vet.

peterhewitt I treasure human life as much as an animal life. For me, I can't distinguish the difference between the two because I treat my dog as part of the family. She's not just another thing that lives under the roof, you know? I know that comment is going to bring up a lot of talk, but let it's a forum, anything can happen.

hahaha, and thanks to grammergeek for that bit of humor, and thanks Steve and Tyson for backing me up. I'll keep my vocab in check next time ;]
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 10:35:31 PM
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than n wrote:
I treat my dog as part of the family. She's not just another thing that lives under the roof, you know?


My dogs are my family! No joke.
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 5:35:59 AM
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No it isn't ajoke, our animals are our family.Living in out back Australia we have to travel very long distances to see a Vet.I have had phone calls in the middle of the night (from the vet) to check on how we arrived home. Such great empathy for our animal friends. Strangely I have never had a call from our Doctor, 'just checking'.
Tovarish
bugdoctor
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009 5:13:59 PM
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Tovarish wrote:
No it isn't ajoke, our animals are our family.Living in out back Australia we have to travel very long distances to see a Vet.I have had phone calls in the middle of the night (from the vet) to check on how we arrived home. Such great empathy for our animal friends. Strangely I have never had a call from our Doctor, 'just checking'.
Tovarish


That IS sad. When I've been REALLY ill, my family doctor does call to see how I'm doing. Do you have the option to change physicians? I'm not familiar with the health system in Australia.
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009 6:41:19 PM
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I suppose you can always say 'compared to what',so our health system is probably good, but country doctors are so over worked. It is difficult to get doctors to come to rural areas as apposed to working in the cities, saying that the quality of life is better in the countey, but they are on call all the time. eg the closest dermatologist is 100k from me and there is a 10mth waiting list to see her. We do have Medicare that provided health care for all in public hospitals, but you really have to travel for specialists, usually 800k,
Tovarish
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009 6:43:13 PM
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Sorry about the typing, just checked.
Tovarish
nooblet
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009 10:01:11 PM
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bugdoctor wrote:
thanh n wrote:
okay okay, so not on a whim. I used that word a bit too freely, but come on now, work with me here :]


IF you want to be a VET, you'll find that it may require a college GPA equal to or maybe even higher than Med School. I know this sounds strange, but it's true. I used to be an undergraduate adviser for the biological sciences, and I had a number of pre-med and pre-vet students. If you fall much under 3.5 you'll find it harder to get into a reputable school. For Med students, the MCAT is equally important, and the lower your MCAT, the higher your GPA needs to be.

If you're serious about either as a career, seek some advice from a counselor at the undergraduate institution you wish to attend. He/she will talk with you about course requirements, etc. That will give you a good idea about whether you wish to continue on that track or choose another. It is NOT an easy road, but- yes - it can be a very rewarding one.


Getting into Vet school is considerably more difficult than getting into Med school, simply because there are very few Vet schools in comparison to the number of Med schools. My girlfriend is in her first year of Vet School, and she applied to most of the Vet schools in the US, around 10 (I believe there are 14 vet schools in the US). Each Vet school accepts somewhere between 50-150 students a year, so let's say 150x14 (for an upper bound) means that a maximum of 2100 students get accepted into to a Vet school in the US each year, and not all of them make it through. The salary, on average, is also considerably lower for DVMs and VMDs (veterinarians, depending on where they got their degree) than it is for MDs.

There are also drawbacks to being a vet. In particular, the patients you deal with often times cannot communicate with you, and are in a panicked state because they are surrounded and handled by a lot of strangers in a strange environment, not to mention that the ones you operate on are typically injured or have some physical problem that would make them even more likely to retaliate and attempt to escape while being examined. Global anesthesia seems like the obvious answer, but some animals are allergic to the anesthesia, sometimes the pet owner cannot afford it, and other times the animal is simply too young or other complications will arise from a global anesthetic being used. In many cases the animals must have operations performed while they are wide awake, with just a local anesthetic being used, which means the animal is fully capable of resisting and injuring the veterinarians or their technicians.

On a regular basis, my girlfriend would come home from her vet tech job with with minor scratches and bruises from restraining animals. Infrequently, she would come home with gashes or bite wounds that would have to be bandaged. In order to become a vet, you REALLY need to want to, and of all the veterinarians and vet school students I've met, they all share that same dedication and drive.

I would say that if you're looking simply for a profession that deals with medicine, going into human medicine is far more lucrative, less dangerous, and even easier. Human doctors only need to learn the anatomy, biochemistry, epidemiology, and pathology for humans, a single species, whereas vets need to learn all of that for many genera, depending on which field they choose (large/farm animal, exotic, and small animal are the 3 common 'paths' a Vet will choose between).
rosicrucian
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2009 10:04:06 PM
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As long as he/she can save lives, that's better.
acuvet
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 8:37:39 AM
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The main difference lies in ethical and economic considerations, I would say. Both doctors, human or veterinarian, have got a very demanding, but stressful life. Vets in particular are often left alone in their private practice, having to provide services 24/7... this is a side human doctors somehow could manage to "escape" (health board system backs them up). Financial rewards are for vets compared to physicians, simply said "lousy".
So, if you have the choice, think twice. But still, being a veterinarian is probably one of the most rewarding profession and I feel privilegded to be one :)
chlascrew
Posted: Sunday, January 24, 2010 5:21:05 AM
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It really doesn't matter whether your a human doctor or a vet, both plays an important role for us living things...to save our lives and animals lives, both have one purpose for us all..
Cass
Posted: Sunday, January 24, 2010 10:14:28 AM
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This thread has been an eye opener for me. I have always respected my vet because I love my cats and want them to stay healthy but I didn't realize it was so difficult to become one. Thank you, everyone, for the insights.
Ellenrita
Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010 4:42:02 AM
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Off the thread... I noticed with candidates the word vet is used. To vet someone or check them out thoroughly (ie.,.Palin).I looked up the word and it comes from a veterinarian, vetting an animal. To lay an animal out on the table to and examine.
Maggie
Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010 1:33:53 PM
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Ellenrita wrote:
Off the thread... I noticed with candidates the word vet is used. To vet someone or check them out thoroughly (ie.,.Palin - OR Van Jones).I looked up the word and it comes from a veterinarian, vetting an animal. To lay an animal out on the table to and examine.


This usage is an interesting spin on the word. I love the way our language evolves, though I dislike it when a word is 'ruined' by intentional misrepresentation until the 'wrong' is accepted as the 'right'. But that's the way language works.
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 7:24:00 AM
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I have to see where a conversation is going to see if they are referring to a War Vet (veteran) or Vet as in Veterinarian.
Makes for some interesting conversation.
grammargeek
Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 11:25:42 AM
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Tovarish wrote:
I have to see where a conversation is going to see if they are referring to a War Vet (veteran) or Vet as in Veterinarian.
Makes for some interesting conversation.


Me too!
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