The “vet school curse” is an unsubstantiated theory that vet students’ pets get injured or sick much more often than normal pets. It certainly seems that way for me; in the last four years, my cats and bird have had multiple health concerns, some that have required emergency attention. I think the worst problem so far has been Twink’s atopy, or allergies. Allergies may not seem like much compared with cruciate ruptures or urinary obstruction, but they can be a long-term complicated mess without an easy solution.
Twink is an 8-year-old spayed female Siamese-cross cat, and she has had health problems since she was a kitten, but the allergies began about the time we moved for vet school. Now, four years of diagnostics and treatments later, and she is still licking off her fur. Atopy is allergic dermatitis, which means that my cat becomes itchy due to hypersensitive reactions to things normally found in her environment.
As a vet student, I know the reasons behind the slow progress and why she has not been cured, but I am still irritated with the situation. I can only imagine how discouraging it must be for clients without a medical background to be told “We are going to try this and then this and then this, and it still might not solve the problem.” It would be so much easier if there was a one-time pill that would take care of the problem.
It is frustrating when you learn that medicine can’t cure everything. Frustrating for both the pet owners and for the vet. Allergies are one of the best examples of how something that may seem to be a mere annoyance can become a lifelong struggle for both clients and their pets.