Sometimes vet school feels like it is divided into two warring factions, the Large and the Smalls. In reality, the large animal students (horses, cows, sheep and pigs) and the small animal students (cats and dogs) don’t have anything as serious as a true blood feud; there is no bad blood between the two. Still, when a small animal student somehow ends up in the horse barn, it seems like a player from the other team has defected. Conversely, faculty inquire on the first day of small animal rotations to see if there are any cow and horse people in among their dog and cat people.
CSU has students choose a track during junior year–either small animal, large animal, or a mix. The track determines which classes we take during our second semester of junior year and which rotations we take during our senior year. There is still a lot of leeway; I am a large animal tracker and just had small animal internal medicine. Anyone can sign up for any rotation during senior year if there is room in their schedules, and most students take at least some rotations from the other track.
As if Large or Small isn’t enough to divide the class, there are two other small groups: the Researchers and the Exotics. These are two unofficial groups, and they still have to choose either the large, small or mixed track. Both contain students who have put in extra time and effort to learn more in their respective fields.
There is the repeated adage that human doctors treat one species, but vets treat every species but one. This is true, but many vets still treat only a few species. It becomes quite evident that we all have our preferences when a small animal person tries to hold onto a spirited horse or a large animal person is faced with a growling Chihuahua that some of us are just more comfortable with certain species.