One of the most rewarding things about becoming a member of the veterinary profession is the interdisciplinary nature of the field. I am constantly challenged in ways that I never expected. Last semester, during our Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition block, I was definitely challenged on a daily basis.
When I came to veterinary school, I knew I would be receiving the training necessary to treat animals, but I had not anticipated that that education would include a crash course in botany as well. However, it makes sense…animals eat things they’re not supposed to. Unfortunate, yes. Uncommon, not at all. Therefore, of course veterinary professionals need to understand potentially toxic plants and how to best treat animals that come into contact with them.
As I was busy studying all sorts of plant toxins, where the plants are found, how to identify them, and what potential antidotes were, I couldn’t help but laugh. I never thought my veterinary degree would make me an amateur field botanist. Whenever I go hiking with my non-veterinary friends, I find myself naming many of the plants that we pass. Much to my friends’ dismay, they must continue to hear me recite which animals and which organ systems the plant affects. Although they may not be as enthralled as I am to learn the horrors of each toxic plant we pass, I love that my veterinary education takes me down unexpected paths.