chevko asked: About what age would you say spaying/neutering is best with dogs? We have three puppies that will need this. We've also got a 12-13 year old momma. Is it... bad choice of words, but is it worth it to get her spayed, too?
For non-giant breed dogs, I typically recommend 4-6 months of age before the reproductive organs have fully developed. For giant breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundlands spaying and neutering at an early age can cause growth to be too rapid, so I will usually wait until at least a year with those ones. You can definitely still get Mama Dog spayed to prevent pyometra (an infected uterus, which can be fatal) and any more puppies :)
thelittlestavenger asked: Are you allowed to have visible tattoos?
It depends on your workplace. I have no tattoos, so I can’t say for sure, and haven’t worked with any vets who have them. However I have seen many technicians with various tattoos and as long as they aren’t offensive, and could be covered up if they had to, I think it’s probably not a huge problem unless the workplace is very conservative.
Anonymous asked: Is it possible to "get used to" surgery gore? I have been wanting to be a vet, I'm a junior in high school, so I think it's tile I start looking for a career path. I am just worried the gore will bother me... I go to go see a kitten be spayed, but it wasn't a very bloody procedure... Was it hard for you to get used to?
I was always excited to see surgery, but I wasn’t sure if that excitement would actually hold up when I was faced with real blood and a real animal. When I was a vet assistant I was a little nervous before my first surgery that I saw. However, I did well and was eager for more. Check out the post I just reblogged for some advice from someone who needed to take some time to adjust to it :)
Anonymous asked: Have you ever had problems with fainting at blood? I've wanted to be a vet ever since I can remember, but 14 years revealed I was in the unlucky % that faint at blood despite no previous spells. I've been to a psychologist, but the only way to overcome it is exposure. I am rational about this, and never "faint" so much as recognise the onset of a faint and get out of the situation. I have regular work experience, and some days can stand anything, but not always. Is it possible to overcome this?
Exposure, as your psychologist likely pointed out. It’s very, very good that you can recognize that you’re about to faint, and can call someone over if you need help though.
I’ve never had a problem with it. Getting a stool sample from diarrhea, on the other hand… whoof. Gag reflex comes into play.
Has anyone else dealt with fainting at blood in the medical/veterinary profession? Any tips?
I dealt with some pretty serious needle/ blood phobia when I first started working at my vets office, which was horrifying to realize since I wanted to be a vet. My method for dealing with it was two-fold.
1. Learn your boundaries with your reaction. Watch as many procedures that involve what sets you off as you can. As you’re watching, try to be very aware of what sensations you’re feeling in your body and try to line them up with which make you feel “faint.” I used to start feeling warm and fuzzy right before I would have to sit down or leave the room. Once you know what comes before a faint, push it a little bit. I would stay in a room right until I started to feel woozy and then either sit or leave and take deep breaths and meditate until the feeling went away and then I would go back in and watch until it would happen again. For me, I could eventually recognize when it was safe to keep watching and when I really had to sit down. Eventually, it will get to the point where you still might feel “funny” but you can start to push through the feeling until it feels totally normal to watch those procedures. There are still some days where I have to take a second and focus on something else in the room, but then I can just dive back into what I’m doing.
2. Try to focus on the technical aspect of what is going on. Ask as many questions as you can and really pay attention to what everyone around you is saying. The more you focus mentally on things other than what sets you off, the less your brain is focused on the blood etc. If you’re busy trying to figure out what the vet is going to do next or running through the procedure and explanation in your head, you don’t have time to even think about the blood.
All in all, exposure is your number one bet. But make sure you’re doing it right, kind of how I outlined above. Don’t make yourself sick by forcing yourself to keep watching. If you need a break, take one! Eat and hydrate well on days when you know you will be observing procedures that you know usually cause problems. Don’t stress out if you don’t notice a difference right away! It takes time but it will work eventually if you work at it! Good luck!
znk99fg7 asked: What were your reasons for wanting to study VetMed?x
1) I always loved animals. My first word was “cat” (it’s written down imy baby book, I can prove it!) and I was never far from a creature growing up.
2) I always loved science, finding out how things work, seeing the innards of deceased animals, thinking about cutting open people’s brains, treasuring the mouse skull a friend gave me as a present.
3) I like explaining things to people, and think I do an okay job of it. I like connecting with people as well.
4) It seemed like the obvious choice for me :)
Anonymous asked: Hello what pain-killers do you use in practice? I am a vet student and I work in a pet clinic for a while. All the vets here don't use the pain killers, especially after the operations some animals have pain and groans. Sometimes owners ask us can they use a pain killer? Vets say no your animals should be fine after few hours. Also they told me pain killers not so common in animal practice as humans. English is my not native language. hope you understand my point. Have a nice day:)
Hello anon, I utilize a wide variety of pain medications for dogs and cats in my practice. I am not sure which country you are in, but in the US most practitioners have come around to using at least a few pain medications in surgery patients, with more people having an eye for multimodal pain management. We do not make pain medications optional for surgery patients.
Medications that we use for pain, both during surgery and after:
- I use morphine as my premedication in any dog undergoing abdominal surgery or that I know will need tooth extractions. In dogs that have better teeth and I do not expect to remove any then I use butorphanol instead, which is not very good as an analgesic but provides good sedation. For cats I use buprenorphine as a premed or give it soon post-op..
- I often use ketamine/valium to induce for painful surgeries as ketamine has some analgesic properties, as opposed to propofol, which has none.
- Unless there is a contraindication I give an NSAID at the time of surgery, such as Metacam, Rimadyl or Onsior for cats.
- I use lidocaine-bupivacaine nerve blocks for dentistries, intratesticular nerve blocks for neuters, and incisional blocks for abdominal surgeries.
- We have a Class IV therapy laser that we use on incisions after spay/neuter surgeries.
- I send home an NSAID for mildly to moderately painful surgeries, and an NSAID + Tramadol for more painful procedures. For dogs with chronic arthritis or chronic pain conditions, we use NSAIDs, Tramadol, gabapentin, acupuncture, K-Laser, Adequan, glucosamine/chondroitin, and sometimes amitryptiline for pain.
I’m sorry that your veterinarians are not educated on pain relief in animals, as relieving pain can help them to heal more quickly. I know practices are different in many countries though.
veganprimatologist asked: Hello there! I am studying primatology with the intent of focusing on primates after completion of a DVM. I have to get a post-BA for all the pre-vet courses. Right now I am a sophomore. While I have 150 hours of wildlife rehabilitation experience and intend to gain 320 hours of additional experience this summer, I am still looking for more opportunities. I would really like to hear how you managed to get a veterinary assistant position for two years before applying to a SVM. Thank you!
Primatology is fascinating! Primates have always intimidated me a little because of their great intelligence; it feels more like working with a fellow person than an animal. I only got to work with chimps and gorillas very briefly but found it fascinating.
Additional things you can consider to get more experience include research (whether in a university setting or at a job), volunteer work (with local vet clinics or animal shelters in addition to rehab work), or looking for a more typical vet clinic job. You can also count animal experience in educational settings. I worked at a science museum and a zoo when I was younger, teaching visitors about different animals and handling them; that counted, too. You want to make sure to have both veterinary setting experience and general animal experience. If you are weak in one area, try to make it up with the other.
I simply applied for a veterinary assistant job when I finished college and had never set foot in a vet clinic before. I applied to a handful of jobs and was interviewed at two. I was accepted at the second job pretty quickly. If you can’t find a vet assistant job, a kennel position will still allow you to see some action. I believe that my eagerness to learn, my articulate demeanor, and my enthusiasm helped get me the job, despite my lack of experience.
Anonymous asked: Hey :) I am currently a vet nursing student in New Zealand and I love it, but there is one thing I have problems with and that is restraint of cats, in the clinic I work in we have the basic towel restraint and muzzle for cats but the vets don't really use them so we have to restrain them as best we can, I use the usual scruff technique but it just doent work for me, im forever avoiding situations where I have to restrain cats. Could you give me some tips or new techniques? Thanks :)
Cats can be little devils at times hey (almost as bad as Chihuahuas!).
I haven’t taken any classes yet on cat/dog restraint techniques but through my experiences at my job (at a clinic), I may be able to help.
I find the higher you hold the skin at the scruff area, the more control you have. So if you try grasping this skin more around just behind their ears or even higher, the more control you have as opposed to just around the neck. Also try scruffing with 2 hands as opposed to one.
Having another nurse on hand to help is also really helpful as well. If we have a really psycho cat, we try and restrain them using a “cat bag”. I don’t know if your clinic has these or not? It is basically like a little strait jacket for cats with out the arm parts. It is literally a cat in a bag.
Another thing is, no matter how stupid you may look restraining an animal (e.g. you may be sitting on it or you may be crouched over so far that you can see your bum crack), as long as the animal is restrained and there is no potential for anyone to get hurt, then thats okay. Not everything can be textbook all the time in the field of vet med :)
I hope that helps and if there is anyone out there with any other tips for handling the little furry bastards, then please feel free to share!
Cat restraint is a touchy subject. Cats can easily get worked up in the clinic, so my policy is to never firmly restrain a cat unless absolutely necessary. Try to avoid loading them in and out of the carrier a million times; try to have everything ready before they come out of the carrier. When doing non-painful things to a cat (getting weight, examining them, or just holding them on a table before a procedure occurs) don’t scruff them for that! It’s totally unnecessary the vast majority of the time! Just enclose them with your arms so they don’t feel exposed. When you do need to do your painful procedure, then restrain them as needed with a towel, scruffing, a cat muzzle or cat bag. But often less is going to be significantly more with cats, and being relaxed and at ease around them can make them calmer patients.
Anonymous asked: Can vets/vet students were makeup? I know that sounds like an odd question, but I have never seen a vet wear makeup...ever. I'm not talking excessive makeup, just like basic everyday makeup. Is there a rule in the profession against this? I've heard in med school that some hospitals have a rule against women wearing nail polish during surgical rotations, but even they can still wear foundation. Just curious :)
There’s not really a hard set rule against make-up, but obviously too much make up is frowned upon. A lot of med or vet people don’t wear makeup simply because it’s 1. too much work, and 2. difficult to maintain when you’re working 10-12 hour shifts.
Anything that can compromise patient’s health is a big no-no, so no fake nails, nail polish or fake eyelashes. Saying that, I put basic make up on (foundation, eye liner and mascara), and that’s fine =]
All 3 of the vets at our clinic wear nail polish on a regular basis. I have mild to moderate dermatillomania, or the compulsion to damage one’s skin, usually as a form of stress or boredom relief. It’s similar to a stressed bird feather plucking. Wearing nail polish keeps me (mostly) from gnawing at my fingers until they bleed and form sores, and also reduces my risk of getting a zoonotic disease at work from putting my fingers in my mouth. Before I painted my nails I would have non-healing wounds around my cuticles for weeks, or gnaw my nails down to the quick. So for me it’s a bit of a necessity.
I did see that a surgery study was done in the human field showing that nail polish doesn’t start to become contaminated until about 72 hours after application, so for surgery days I try to make sure my polish is fresh. Otherwise I don’t worry about it. Plus clients are always complimenting me ;)