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12 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Veterinarians

Veterinarians are trained doctors who treat multiple species for a range illnesses and injuries that a general practitioner would send a patient to a specialist for. Their patients come in a variety of sizes, temperaments, and physiologies, and they can’t tell the doctor where it hurts. And sometimes the best they can do is put a patient out of its misery. Yet veterinary medicine is a satisfying career for those who do it.

7. EVEN VETS HAVE THEIR FAVORITE ANIMALS.

[Dr. Eleanor] Acworth says that her favorite animals to work with are cows, which is probably good since she sees so many of them. She cautions, however, that “de-horning them is the worst.” She is not a big fan of llamas, however, because of their tendency to spit, sometimes on the vet caring for them.

11. THEY DON’T MAKE A LOT OF MONEY.

Many vets graduate with high amounts of debt, often upward of $100,000, but often don’t make that much money, particularly when compared with their human doctor counterparts. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2014 median pay for a veterinarian was $87,590, compared to $187,200 for physicians and surgeons.) But for many veterinarians, the profession is a lifelong passion. “I pretty much wanted to be a veterinarian my whole life, like most of us,” Acworth says.

Read more about the work of a veterinarian, in which you’ll learn some tips for taking care of your pets, at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Maj. Guy Hayes, Army Medicine)


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