Depending on what area of veterinary medicine you may get involved with, every aspect has its own “glamorous” side (sense the sarcasm here). This morning I got up at 5 a.m. to milk cows, and I always expect to come home stinky. However, the cows had even more in store for me today. To those who have been slapped in the face by a cow’s tail, you’ll feel my pain. This morning I got a tail to the eye that stung so bad I had to sit there blinking for a couple minutes to make sure I wasn’t blind. Then I got a slap to the side of my head by a cow who had just been lying in her own urine and leaking milk, a mixture that landed in my ear. Last but not least, I apparently got slapped by a poopy tail and didn’t notice, because when I got in my car and looked in my rearview mirror, there was the poop streak battle mark. It was me against 130 cow tails this morning, and I lost.
Working with large animals I’ve been urinated on and knee deep in feces. I’ve also been covered in placenta from delivering animal babies. I saw a cow eat her placenta and then consequently regurgitate it back up (which was definitely the closest I ever came to vomiting over something an animal did). And this is all just large animal!
My first day in the small animal clinic I was asked to restrain a dog that happened to have explosive diarrhea. Guess how that ended. Not to mention sticking my hand under dogs trying to catch a urine sample, expressing anal glands, cleaning mite-ridden ears, etc, etc.
Moral of the story is, veterinary medicine is not for the faint of heart, or stomach. If you’re going to get involved with animals, make sure you’re ok with all of the above because my stories could all happen to you someday!