Doctor or vet, which would you choose?

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Doctor or vet, which would you choose?

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  • Can vets choose their doctor
  • Be a vet or a doctor?

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    03-06-2010, 02:33 AM
Doctor or vet, which would you choose?

I am undecided at the moment and I am running out of time to choose. I realise that by asking this question on a horse forum, it will probably be a bit biased.
I love animals, but if I'm a doctor I can still have pets. But then would I even have time to own horses if I become a doctor. At least with vet you would be with animals for the main part of the day.
Both would have so many different options in which path you can take, that I have no idea which I would enjoy more.
If I want to do medicine I need to apply for the GAMSAT very soon, but it is expensive and would be a waste if I decide that's not what I want to do.

I know this a question no one can answer for me but if you had to choose between being a doctor or a vet, which would you choose and why?
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    03-06-2010, 03:28 AM
Gratz to you for setting such high goals for yourself!!! I think which every you choose, it will be a very rewarding experience. I think with either you will be able to own horses. My vet not only owns horses, but shows them also. With a doctor it's the same, although that's a very broad field and there may be some areas where a horse is not possible. For the most part though, I think once you are finished with school, that you will be able to have horses no matter which field you choose. Your question was which one would you choose...I would choose vet, but that's just me. You need to dig deep within yourself and figure out which one you want to do. Kick the horse ownership out of the question and think about what will make you happy with your career. If it's in your heart, then the horses will come no matter which one you choose.
    03-06-2010, 07:00 AM
A vet...the patients don't complain and you don't need to deal with insurance companies.
    03-06-2010, 07:32 AM
Painthorsemares, No, you have to deal with the nagging owners and pet insurance or the owner not paying..

You can still work part time with a vet too, and the vets I know have a dog or two, they have no time for animals nor a family. That is why alot of them will take a break from it and then come back. But that is the same with regular doctors too. I'm going to school right now for vet tech/veterinary management then hopefully I will transfer to Cornell for veterinary medicine.

My opinion is, if you go for large animal vet then YES! The u.s. Is in a HUGE need for large animal veterinarians. If you go for small animals, you will be guaranteed alot of work but there are so many around..
    03-06-2010, 07:43 AM
Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
A vet...the patients don't complain and you don't need to deal with insurance companies.
I work part time at a cattery, and the owners can be huge complainers!

I feel like if I become a doctor I am not going to have any time for a family, let alone horses.
    03-06-2010, 07:57 AM
Originally Posted by White Foot    
Painthorsemares, No, you have to deal with the nagging owners and pet insurance or the owner not paying..
A little humor, but I agree, the owners are indeed the big headache for a vet.

My opinion is, if you go for large animal vet then YES! The u.s. Is in a HUGE need for large animal veterinarians. If you go for small animals, you will be guaranteed alot of work but there are so many around..
There is definitely a need for more large animal vets. Our vet is an old (well, 50+) farm vet that told us that he makes his living on the small animal side, but loves being out on the farms caring for the large animals. He owns the practice, so he can have his associates handle the small animal office work while he escapes to the farms

In all seriousness, I think being a vet is more diangostically challenging since there is no (or little) verbal communication with the patient, and I have great respect for them.
    03-06-2010, 08:20 AM
Bek, if you become a doctor or a vet you will have the same challenges. The vet I job shadow for didn't have a family at first because his whole life was consumed by school and being a vet. Now he is 50+ years old and he is chasing around a five year old, haha. That is the price you pay. The other vets that work there, don't have families nor do they ever want one.
    03-06-2010, 11:48 AM
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I think it depends also on a place where do you live and different usages in every country etc, but I've caught it's possible also to have a job with regular work times as a doctor (perhaps also as a vet?) and have time for other life too. At least over here, like we have clinics which are open every day 8.00am till 4.00pm (no emergency duty) and that's it. Or in a hospital in which you have your shift + emergency duty that you share with other doctors? I think it also depends on the way you specialize. Surgeons have a bit different timetable than a GPs at a local clinic. Or that's how I've caught things are so I'm not totally sure. Anway, if you feel that's something you want to do, go for it. Work consist a huge part of our life so it's important that it's something you want to do.

Personally I'd go for vet but there's no any rational, justifiable reason for it but it's more like my personal taste. I think it'd just be nice to work with animals.
    03-06-2010, 02:59 PM
You will end up getting sued alot less as a vet and I'm sure the malpractice insurance is less. You do have to worry about people not paying but generally the office manager deals with that. When I have asked the vet a question about the price of a procedure he always refers me to the office manager.
    03-06-2010, 03:06 PM
Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
There is definitely a need for more large animal vets.
Unfortunately, there is a reason for this. Large animal vets aren't paid as well as small animal vets. There are travel costs. They are on call for a few days a week (i.e. If there's an emergency call at 3am, you gotta go work! Even if the owner doesn't have a barn and it's -40* out.) It can be dangerous - my 17.1hh gelding once tried to take a chunk out of a vet who was doing nerve blocks - never have I been so embarrassed.

Anyways, it can be extremely rewarding.

My best suggestion is to see if you can shadow a couple of doctors and few vets for a while. Rich is trying to decide on his final career path, and he has been offered to ride along with a well-known vet in our area to see if he likes it at all. Shadowing doctors might be harder or not allowed, but it's worth a try.

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