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Discussion Starter #1
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 thats 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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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.
 

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A vet...the patients don't complain and you don't need to deal with insurance companies.
 

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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..
 

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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.
 

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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 definately 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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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There is definately 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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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?
Do a job shadow. Go to your local emergency room or your local clinic, and ask to do a job shadow.

I, myself have a passion for medicine but could never be a vet. I love animals to much and unfortunately they have no control over what happens to them. It would be to difficult for me to make the proper decision because I care so much about them.

Now onto people, I think for some people it would be more difficult to work with human patients because they are actual people as opposed to "just" animals. People(for most cases), are the ones responsible for their own health. They have chose to lead a certain life style that has led to the situation they are in(sometimes not). Human medicine is constantly changing, there are thousands and thousands of treatments, medications, surgeries, therapies for all sorts of health problems (animals not so much). Things you work with, things you can do to make someone better-because of that, I find medicine(for humans) to be that much more interesting.

Once you are a doctor, you can always transfer over to a different area, even years down the road. The knowledge you carry around is also EXTREMELY important. I worked in medicine, and would not trade the knowledge I have for anything.

With medicine, there are also a lot more areas you can get into, not limited to only what was posted below:


  • [*]Allergy & Immunology
    [*]Cardiology
    [*]Dentistry
    [*]Dermatology

    [*]Emergency Medicine
    [*]Family Practice
    [*]Gastroenterology
    [*]General Practice
    [*]General Surgery
    [*]Geriatrics
    [*]Internal Medicine
    [*]Mental Health
    [*]Nephrology
    [*]Obstetrics & Gynecology
    [*]Oncology
    [*]Ophthalmology
    [*]Otorhinolaryngology
    [*]Pediatrics
    [*]Physical Medicine
    [*]Podiatry
    [*]Radiology
    [*]Rheumatology
    [*]Thoracic Surgery
The choice is yours and your are very wise to think about it now. Reflects your level of maturity. Start off with a job shadow and look into things once you have shadowed both.
 

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I now vets and doctors who have the time to own and ride their horses. I also think it would be best to shadow both to see which one you prefer. If it were me, I'd probably become a large animal vet.
 

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I was in the same position until last year! I was going for "Pre-professional". I was deciding between Med school and Vet school. Ultimately I got tired of school and decided to become a nurse hahaha.
I became a nurse aide to work during school so I got a lot of medical experience that way. 2 years ago this spring we got a new vet and he was out here doing the yearly farm call and asked about school. I told him what position I was in and he called back a few days later and invited me to come around with him for 2 days. I got to help with all of his farm call business, office calls and surgeries. SUPER cool!
The vet we had before him told me that when he was deciding he went to school to be a paramedic and concluded that he couldn't deal with what people do to themselves so he decided to become a vet.
My freshman year of college in our "Intro to pre-professional" class a vet came in to talk to us as one of our speakers and brought in kidney stones from a horse and all sorts of other cool stuff (which really caught my attention! haha). She told us something that I had never thought of before and thought it was REALLY cool! She said "I love my job because in one single day I can be in OB delivering puppies, in surgery as an orthopedic surgeon fixing a broken leg, an oncologist treating cancer, a cardiologist treating heart failure, and a family doctor giving immunizations." It never gets boring and you always will have variety.
When I went with our vet 2 summers ago he told me that the small animal portion of his practice essentially pays for the large animal portion. He does the large animals because he enjoys it. He never has to go to the gym because he gets such a good workout from it and it keeps him from getting bored. But, lots of the time he loses money on it.
So, these are all things to think about....
I decided that I was going to become a human doctor and have animals on the side....I'm not exactly sure why...I guess because I'd have the best of both worlds maybe. But as I said earlier, I'm more than ready to move on with the next chapter of my life so I'm going to be a nurse instead! :)
Good luck!
 

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Have you ever thought about midwifery? If I could do it all again, that's what I would do. I'm not sure how midwifery works in Australia, but in Canada it's government funded. Australia has public health care, yes? It's a pretty cool field - you are responsible for the prenatal care of women with healthy, normal pregnancies, as well as the birth attendant. Midwifery is a growing field, and from speaking with midwives, they find it very rewarding. It's kinda like being a doctor but not! I had one child with a midwife and am in their care with my second pregnancy now. I can tell you from experience that they love their jobs and make a HUGE impact on the lives of their clients. The world needs more midwives!
 

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Both jobs are very time consuming and take up alot of your time and leave you very little time for family and horses. My old large animal vet say her kids very little, she was a mobile vet and most of the time she was out on a call.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I have been doing a lot of research!...and I'm still undecided. I'm considering taking a gap year next year so that I can do a few months of work in some different fields to get a good feel for what I want. I think it is something like 11 years of training if you want to specialise in medicine, so I really want to be sure first.
 

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I started out at college as a pre-vet major. I switched out of the science field altogether. If I could make that choice again now, I would have chosen to stick with animal science... Deciding what you are going to do with your life isn't easy. Good luck!
 

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Personally? Most definitely a vet.
I have no patience for people. Although I do get a lot of headaches from clients who think their horse is perfect and their baby, even though he's being brought to be for training. lol
Being a trainer, I do both - training the horse and owner.

Every doctor I've met is too darn distracted and flippant and for my liking.
 
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