Based on what the school has told us it takes a special kind of person to work as a small animal emergency veterinarian. Due to the fact that everything that comes in is in critical condition or has something abnormal going on with it you have to be prepared to see anything.
Learning how to deal with emotional people is also an important aspect of the job. Because the people brought their animal in they obviously care enough to try and get medical help.
Over the past few weekends, I’ve been on emergency duty and what an experience it has been. I’ve had a cat with fluid in the lungs, a dog with megacolon and obstipation, a dog with stones in its bladder and a urinary tract obstruction, and a small Yorkie that had had diarrhea for a few days and wasn’t eating. For each of these patients, I got information from the owners and helped with diagnostic tests and treatments until Monday morning. And since I’m the veterinary student, I get the honor of doing most of the paperwork. Needless to say, my first experience as a small animal emergency veterinarian had me doing 18-hour days throughout the weekend.
After a rough weekend, I can definitely say that being an emergency veterinarian is not in my future. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not interested in doing small animal work and the endless amounts of paperwork that I had to do this weekend really shows me why I am perfectly suited for large animal work. It was a good experience to see another side of veterinary medicine but I am glad to say that in a few days I will be back to doing things that are more in line with what I see myself doing after graduation.