I learned something new today.
If you briefly hold off the nostrils of a sheep, they are likely to urinate.
Welcome to my world as a veterinary student! My name is Kira, I’m in my second year at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and I’m excited to announce that I will be sharing my vet school experiences on this blog as an MDF Instruments Student Ambassador.
Like most veterinary students, I’ve loved animals for as long as I can remember. As a child, I always knew I could trust a dog to cheer me up on a rough day. I never once felt threatened by an animal; my relationships with them were often more honest than those I shared with people, and I think in many ways, I felt a greater connection to animals than to humans.
I begged for a dog for years, my parents finally adopted one when I left for veterinary school- great timing, I know, but I can’t complain. In elementary school I convinced my parents I needed to ride horses, and later, with enough prodding from my equestrian trainer, they ended up footing the bill on a horse, something most little girls only dream about. My parents were not horse people, so I am extremely fortunate to have had their support. They allowed me to practice a notoriously dangerous sport that essentially left me in the hands (hooves) of a 1200lb animal with a mind of its own. I grew up in Santa Monica, California, which isn’t exactly horse country, so several times a week, my dad would drive me to the barn so I could take riding lessons. Without this opportunity, I’m certain my passion for animals would have remained the same, and I probably would have still pursued veterinary medicine, but working with horses shaped my academic interests, and I also believe it gave me the discipline I needed to get this far in my career.
However, my love for animals and the equestrian sport wasn’t the only driving force that led me into veterinary medicine. I could have pursued plenty of other career options that involve animals, and they probably would have left me with significantly less student debt. There are a lot of aspects of medicine that I am drawn to though. I have always enjoyed learning, and one great aspect of medicine is that it’s an ever-evolving field, and so there is always more to learn. In contrast to my younger self, I love working with people, and this profession gives me the opportunity to not only interact with animals, but I also get to connect with their human families, and share with them a mutual affection for our four legged friends.
This may come as a surprise, but veterinary medicine really lends itself to my passion for people. Since I‘m restricted to non-verbal communication with my patients, their owners serve as an invaluable source of information. Taking a history, one of the first and most basic skills you learn as a medical student, is pretty difficult when your patient can’t speak, and this is one of many reasons why my interactions with clients is so integral to my success as a veterinary student and future clinician.
*Sheep pee fact courtesy of my urinary course. To keep in best interest of the health of our ovine friends, only attempt with supervision of a licensed veterinarian!