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My wife teaches pre-veterinary students in university. It's not a dis-similar issue to the one here. A lot of kids (particular girls, at the moment, for some reason) grow uo dreaming that they want to be vets because they love animals. Nobody tells them thqt the path to becoming a vet is just as strenuous and expensive as being a medical doctor, but the pay is a tenth as much. And nobody tells them that clients can be far more unreasonable, and in some cases, downright nasty, about their animals than their family members (a byproduct, I suspect, of paying for veterinary bills out of pocket). And nobody tells them they will get bitten and scratched every damn day, and if they're large-animal a horse will break both their feet within a few years and they'll have to retire from arthritis in their fifties.

Suicide rates for veterinarians is one of the highest of any professional group.

The first day of sophomore year my wife always lectures about the financial and emotional realities of the veterinary field. She makes them make a budget for themselves that includes a hundred thousand in student loans and assumes starting pay in the high thirties. And every year she has students leave in tears. She frequently gets irate phone calls from parents saying that she has crushed their daughter's (in a few cases, their son's) dreams.

But this is likely the only time they will have had anyone tell them the cautionary tale. And it is the right thing to do.




> A lot of kids (particular girls, at the moment, for some reason) grow uo dreaming that they want to be vets because they love animals.

Animals toys and books about animals are considered girl toys now I think. Boys have dinosaurs. I think it was different when I was a kid, a boy could have animals (in books or those plastic figurines) and books about animals on top of cars and it was completely normal. Horses camps used to be boy thing, now it is girl thing - probably due to cowboys and westerns going out of fashion.

At least here locally.


> She frequently gets irate phone calls from parents saying that she has crushed their daughter's (in a few cases, their son's) dreams.

More like they abandoned their "dreams" because they learned they value other things in life even more. It sounds like your wife is doing the right thing. A little pain now to save those students years of hurt down the road.


From conversations with a new vet, it also appears that they have a weird ethos of self-sacrifice. Basically, too many of them go into the field to just do good and help the poor animals, and they end up working for free too often, or simply not charging enough. (I don't know the details here, I'm simply relaying the rant from said vet.)


An unfortunate side effect of caring more about the animal than its damn owner does, I expect.


The thing that would seem to be most distasteful about being a vet is putting down animals because the owner is tired of them.

Other things would be pets weighing three times what they should, never given exercise, etc.

Those are covered in your unreasonable owners, I guess.


I see this as a side effect of the somewhat delusional things adults tell young people. If a kid love playing with animals, they get told "you should become a biologist!" or "you should become a vet!". But, while I'm sure many people in those professions would love to play with animals all day, that's obviously not what their jobs are about.


I have a friend who is a vet in Germany, and he seems to do quite well, with a salary that is (I believe) at least double the median. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he was able to take over the clinic from the previous owner, and he now employs a small number of other vets.


No it has to do with it being Germany not the US.


Indeed. No significant student loans in Germany.


Do human doctors make over a million a year? My veterinary student girlfriend has classmates getting offers of $110k USD per year straight out of school. After she does a speciality residency she’ll be in the $300k range.




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