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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 25, 2020
It takes a truly exceptional and extraordinary individual to become a veterinarian.
A veterinarian is not just someone who loves animals. They are educated, grounded, committed, compassionate, and they are people persons.
Individuals who aspire to become a veterinarian are required to complete an undergraduate science degree before attending a regional veterinary college. The courses required to obtain a doctorate in veterinarian medicine usually takes four years of intensive study.
Unlike other medical careers, a veterinarian's patient cannot tell them where they hurt or how they feel.
Just like any other medical profession, it takes a substantial time commitment and a significant financial obligation to achieve the end goal. Unlike other medical careers, a veterinarian's patient cannot tell them where they hurt or how they feel.
The bed-side manner of a veterinarian is critical to their success. Most days, they are dealing with stressed or distraught pet owners. The veterinarian must be able to manage the situation by keeping the pet owner focused and forgive any emotional outbursts. It takes a remarkable person with a steady hand to be able to hold things together every day.
Veterinarians work long, exhausting hours dealing with everything from vaccinating adorable puppies to holding the paw of a beloved pet as they cross the bridge. Challenges include delivering devastating news that a treasured pet has been diagnosed with cancer, mixed in with easy appointments such as examining a newly-adopted kitten. They move from appointment to appointment without a break, and each meeting demands their full attention. It takes a remarkable veterinarian to be able to enter an examination room with a fresh smiling face without letting the pressure of previous appointments to show in their demeanour.
A veterinarian's career is rewarding and stressful at the same time, but when the pandemic hit, their days were turned upside down. Staff, including some veterinarians, were laid off, and pet owners were no longer permitted to enter the clinic. If your pet had an appointment, the pet could enter the clinic, but the pet owner had to wait in their car, with the veterinarian calling the owner during the appointment. Non-emergency surgeries were suspended, and if you required pet supplies, you had to call ahead, and a staff member would meet you outside for payment.
We have seen some of the contact restraints eased at clinics, but not all of them. One owner at a time can now be present inside the clinic during an appointment, with masks a requirement at all times. It is more convenient for a veterinarian to have the owner present during an examination as they rely on the owner's input about their pet's health and symptoms.
Maybe veterinarians enter their profession because they love solving challenging problems, and they have a natural affinity for animals. Whatever the reason is, they have chosen one of the most honourable professions available in the medical field, and we should be supporting them throughout their career.
A gifted veterinarian makes you feel as if you are that kind of pet owner. If you have a healthy, cherished pet in your home, please thank your veterinarian.
Tracy Jessiman writes the weekly column Recycled Love and is proud to be a “voice for those with no choice.” She supports various animal rescues. Reach her at email@example.com