#HeforShe for Vets
If you have been on the internet in the last few days then you’ve seen Emma Watson’s inspiring and poignant speech in her new role as a goodwill ambassador for UN women. In her speech she calls out for men to take up their end of the bargain in the fight for female equality and empowerment. It’s an inspiring speech and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it [here]. After signing up to the #heforshe pledge I started thinking to myself what role sexism played in my life and I kept coming back to my place as a future veterinarian.
Anybody in vet school across the world can attest to the fact that more females are entering the profession than ever before. In my class alone, 85% of the students are female, and this is universal across western countries with a similar trend across the world. This is in stark contrast to the male-dominated profession that has been the norm historically. There are a whole assortment of theories as to why this is the case, and these range from increased academic commitment of females to more males pursuing high-income professions. In the end though the ‘why’ isn’t the important part, it’s how it’s approached which is the issue.
I remember that in my first years of vet school, on visits to clinics in regional Australia, that I was treated differently to the female student I conducted the visits with. It wasn’t every clinic, and it certainly wasn’t every vet, but it was enough to be noticed. Comments like ‘Geez it’s great to see some male vet students coming through’ were fine – we are definitely few and far between! It was comments like ‘you had better pull this calf instead’ (when my partner had grown up on a dairy farm and was definitely far better at pulling calves than I was -and still is) that really stuck out. When it REALLY got uncomfortable was when I heard numerous theories about the failure of the profession due to there being too many women unable to run businesses. As a young student I listened to these comments come from good vets, employers, pillars of their communities, and I found it more perplexing
Anonymous asked: Hi, I am a student at a tech high school where my Academy study is veterinary science. I want to be a small animal vet when I grow up, but my vet teacher thinks that I would be better at zoology. Do you think I should listen to him or go with my gut? Thanks :)
It depends very much on what your interests and skills are! If you are interested in being a small animal vet, then you will need to have good people skills and a touch of customer service flare to really do well, since the small animals are attached to owners unless you work in shelter medicine. As a zoologist, you could potentially spend much of your time in the field or in a lab, where you don’t necessarily have the constraints of dealing with clients. To be a small animal vet you have to be brave enough to take responsibility when things go wrong, or give owners sad news about their animals, whereas as a researcher you may be beholden to your fellow researchers or a university/company you work for.
If you’re not sure yet what your skills are — high school is pretty early to be deciding on these things for certain — you can get all of your vet prereqs done while doing a zoology degree. You can also volunteer at a vet clinic during your summers to see if you really would be interested in veterinary work or if you’d rather work with animals in a different capacity. There’s also the potential for you to do research in zoology as a veterinarian, so don’t discount combining the two if you’re passionate about both!
Anonymous asked: have you ever spayed a cat that was pregnant? what's your opinion on "aborting" the kittens?
I have once during my shelter rotation. The cat was nearly full-term, so the kitten fetuses looked very much like kittens. Mostly I was just concerned with getting that giant uterus out without nicking a blood vessel, but I did feel a little sad when they went to go fetch euthanasia solution for the kittens.
However, I do not regret spaying the cat. It was kitten season and there were many, many other kittens in the shelter. There are so many unwanted animals in the US that I have zero qualms about spaying a pregnant animal. If they are going to be euthanized due to lack of space, better for the animals to be euthanized as fetuses instead of being born and living in a cage until they are euthanized. Also, the mental toll on shelter workers of euthanizing animals is much greater when those animals are adorable fluffy babies instead of fetuses in gestational sacs, and that’s something to consider as well.
If it was an owner’s animal and we had not known the animal was pregnant, I would call the owner during the procedure and give them the option to go through the pregnancy or spay the cat, and I would accept whatever their decision was.
Anonymous asked: I love your blog and i am vet to be.. Your blog give me so mich info regarding veterinary field other than my country. I m from msia by the way. May i ask question if i have any?-hanim-
Certainly! Ask away, I am glad the blog is able to be helpful :)