Ever thought of be­com­ing a vet?

In­dus­try brings op­tions

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION - With Dr Ian Schraa

Be­ing a ve­teri­nar­ian is an in­ter­est­ing, re­ward­ing, im­por­tant but tough job.

Af­ter nearly 30 years as a vet, for the most part I still very much en­joy it.

Don’t get me wrong: some days I wish I’d stayed in bed, but gen­er­ally I get a lot of sat­is­fac­tion from be­ing a vet.

With a vet de­gree you can work in a ru­ral prac­tice with farm­ers and their live­stock, work as a com­pan­ion an­i­mal vet, treat­ing pets as part of fam­i­lies, work with horses in the rac­ing and blood­stock in­dus­tries.

You can work in agri­cul­tural and ve­teri­nary med­i­cal re­search, ei­ther for uni­ver­si­ties, gov­ern­ment agen­cies like AgRe­search or pri­vate com­pa­nies.

You can work for the big­gest sin­gle em­ployer of vets in New Zealand, the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries, the new name for MAF, in biose­cu­rity, qual­ity as­sur­ance or di­ag­nos­tics.

There are plenty of op­tions in­clud­ing the rare zoo vet job.

I worked in mixed prac­tice (farm an­i­mals and pets) for most of my first 10 years, but moved more into pet prac­tice dur­ing that time be­cause I liked the surgery and abil­ity to treat pets in the same ways that doc­tors can help peo­ple.

The dif­fer­ence is that as a vet I un­der­take a huge ar­ray of roles ev­ery day.

I can be a GP, sur­geon, ra­di­ol­o­gist, den­tist, phar­ma­cist, be­haviourist, lab tech­ni­cian, on­col­o­gist and fu­neral di­rec­tor all in one day.

Then there are all the dif­fer­ent an­i­mals we see. Granted it’s mainly cats and dogs, but the rab­bits, rats, guinea pigs, birds, tur­tles and other rep­tiles keep it all very in­ter­est­ing.

I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I was bored.

The big prob­lem is that there are never enough hours in a day.

We are a stan­dard med­i­cal prac­tice do­ing check-ups and see sick pets.

As well we are an A& E depart­ment for emer­gen­cies, hos­pi­tal surgery re­ally sick pets, lab, X-ray clinic, phar­macy and pet store, pro­vid­ing food and good­ies for pets.

It is re­ward­ing in that we help pets have bet­ter qual­ity lives and there­fore make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to their own­ers’ lives.

When we can’t do any more we can still help gen­tly ease those pets out of any fur­ther pain or suf­fer­ing.

That’s one of the tough parts of the job, but when done with care and re­spect, can be sat­is­fy­ing.

In Wellington we’re lucky we don’t have to do the hard af­ter­hours work many of our col­leagues around the coun­try do, al­though we still work long hours, in­clud­ing ros­tered evenings and week­ends.

Our main hos­pi­tal clin­ics are open more than 60 hours a week. The Af­ter Hours Vet Clinic is open ev­ery hour we are not.

If you’re not too sure about a job as a vet, then be­ing a vet nurse is an op­tion.

We em­ploy only qual­i­fied vet nurses ca­pa­ble of help­ing with surgery, do­ing lab work, tak­ing X- rays and help­ing with the healthy and sick pets that come to the clin­ics ev­ery day.

Our vet nurses also per­form con­sul­ta­tions on weight man­age­ment, run our puppy preschool and man­age our cat­tery. They are an es­sen­tial part of a good vet prac­tice.

If you have ever thought about a job as a vet or a vet nurse, check out the info sec­tion on our web­site rap­paw.co.nz.

Dr Ian Schraa owns Rap­paw Ve­teri­nary Care.

Lov­ing their work: The staff at Rap­paw pre­pare a dog for surgery. From left, Michelle Seiringer, Ian Schraa and Tina Boo­nen.

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