Dr. Thuy talks about the chal­lenges and re­wards of be­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian in Saigon

Oi Viet­nam speaks to Dr. Thuy, from An­i­mal Doc­tors In­ter­na­tional Viet­nam, about the chal­lenges and re­wards of be­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian in Saigon

Oi Vietnam - - Contents - Image by Ngoc Tran

What in­spired you to be­come a vet?

I’ve loved an­i­mals since I was a tiny kid, es­pe­cially my pets. They’re not only pets, which are used for watch­ing or hunt­ing, they’re also mem­bers of my fam­ily. At that time, it was a hard time for me and my fam­ily so tak­ing care of our pets’ health was im­pos­si­ble, when they got sick there was no one who knew how to treat them and sadly I had to see them die be­cause I was not able to do any­thing, so I thought about be­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian to save them, then a cou­ple of years later I am fi­nally a vet­eri­nar­ian. Be­ing a vet isn't a pop­u­lar pro­fes­sion in Viet­nam, why do you think that is?

Firstly, there aren’t many uni­ver­si­ties in Viet­nam that spe­cial­izes in this sub­ject. Sec­ond, most Viet­namese are not con­cerned about an­i­mal health care, only a part of the pop­u­la­tion in big cities with higher liv­ing stan­dards are con­scious of this. Thirdly, the num­ber of pet hos­pi­tals in Viet­nam is still small, there­for stu­dents can’t see the op­por­tu­ni­ties in this job. How did your par­ents re­act when you told them you wanted to be a vet?

Most Viet­namese par­ents al­ways want their chil­dren to be doc­tors, teach­ers, engi­neers, or some kind of pop­u­lar jobs, and my par­ents were the same, they wanted me to be a doc­tor. Frankly, they were not happy when I told them I wanted to be a vet, but they are also an­i­mal lovers, they love our pets so they were eas­ily con­vinced to let me be­come what I wanted to be. And they are happy so far. There's a gen­eral be­lief that Viet­namese vets are trained and ed­u­cated in the same schools as farm hus­bandry (pigs and cows), that there are no ac­tual vet­eri­nary schools? Is this true? Can you ex­plain?

In my opin­ion, it is not true. I grad­u­ated as a vet­eri­nar­ian, not an an­i­mal hus­bandry en­gi­neer, that means there are ac­tual uni­ver­si­ties that ed­u­cate in vet­eri­nary in Viet­nam, although not as pop­u­lar as the other spe­cial­ized schools. Con­sum­ing dog and cat meat is part of Viet­namese cul­ture, your thoughts on that as a Viet­namese per­son and as a vet?

As a Viet­namese per­son and a vet­eri­nar­ian, I strongly dis­agree with this ac­tion. I think the num­ber of peo­ple who has the same think­ing as me is not just a small num­ber, but in­creas­ing day by day. Now that the liv­ing stan­dard is im­prov­ing, dogs and cats are be­com­ing a part of the hu­man fam­ily, and the num­ber of peo­ple who eat dog or cat meat is de­creas­ing. I be­lieve that in the near fu­ture, there will be no one in Viet­nam us­ing dogs and cats for food. What is the most chal­leng­ing part of be­ing a vet in Viet­nam?

Vet­eri­nary is ex­tremely hard work, es­pe­cially in Viet­nam, I have a lot of chal­lenges and I of­ten get stressed by them. The most chal­leng­ing is han­dling a stressed pet owner. The pet own­ers you see at the pet clinic are not al­ways at their best. It’s the same as par­ents when they take their re­ally sick chil­dren to the hospi­tal, they can be a fraz­zled mass of nerves, con­sumed with worry. On oc­ca­sion, their stress may spur them to of­fer in­ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vice in tak­ing care of their pet, and they may even show mis­placed anger to­wards you. My job is to stay calm, ex­er­cise tact and show com­pas­sion. What is the most re­ward­ing part of your job?

See­ing the an­i­mal get­ting bet­ter af­ter fight­ing their sick­ness. What ad­vice can you give to new pet own­ers?

First, you have to make sure be­fore you have pets that you truly want to have them and are able to raise and treat them as mem­bers of your fam­ily, never give them up even when they are sick or be­come old and ugly. Con­sider fos­ter­ing and adopt­ing, as there are so many strayed dogs and cats out there in need of new for­ever home, so why don’t you adopt one in­stead of buy­ing a puppy in the pet shop, which was born by the puppy mill in­dus­try.

Do you have any pets?

I've two dogs and nine cats, they all live with my par­ents, I love them very much. The cats are not so friendly to strangers but they are the most loyal cats I know. They are cheeky some­times, al­ways me­ow­ing around me when they want food or my at­ten­tion. The dogs are very calm, they al­ways rec­og­nize me, they can even hear my bike com­ing. They’re very friendly to peo­ple, hon­estly I don’t want them to be that friendly, they should be alert to strangers as they some­how can take them away and hurt them. Any­way, I love them so much, I al­ways wish they can live long and healthy with my fam­ily.

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