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Veterinary School

Linda S. Berris lberri1 at uic.edu
Wed Jul 17 10:02:42 EST 1996


Denise Signorelli wrote:

>I think more important
> than are Vets looked down on by doctors is to ask yourself why would you
> care?  

Perhaps because it is a professional insult?

>If you want to be respected and have no real feel for animal
> medicine--I would choose another field.  If you really want to treat
> animals (this includes killing them) and are willing to compete to get
> into vet school and succeed once there, it should be your own sense of
> fulfillment that sustains you NOT THE OPINION OF OTHERS.  

Denise, I could be misinterpreting your statements here, and I apologize 
if that's the case... but it seems like what you are saying is if you are 
worried about getting respect, go for human medicine, but if you really 
love animals that much, then go ahead and be a vet, and don't sweat the 
respect thing; additionally, you make the idea of treating animals (and 
yes, having to euthanize them) is a very distasteful choice.  

I agree completely that one should follow their heart with respect to 
their career choice.  Both human and veterinary medical school are so 
incredibly demanding, and the subsequent work so stressful, that one 
needs to be very sure that this is what they want to do.  It ain't as 
easy as they make it look on Chicago Hope! Vetmed, especially, is a very 
non-glamorous field (you get peed on, defecated on, vomited on and bitten 
enough and you stop worrying about glamor).   However, a point of fact:  
in both types of medical school, students must use animals in order to 
learn surgical techniques, anatomy, physiology, tox, etc.  More and more, 
schools are using video instruction (less animals sacrificed), but there 
is no way one can truly learn surgery unless you have living flesh to cut 
into.  I think the statement about killing animals is harsh; animals have 
to be sacrificed in medical education--that is a sad, sad fact, and 
schools today are trying to minimize the number sacrificed.  But it is a 
necessary act.  Once you're out in practice, you save a whole lot more.  
And one blessing of veterinary medicine, of course, is the legal ability 
to euthanize your patient when it is suffering and has no hope of a 
quality life.  In human medicine, while 'pulling the plug' is becoming 
more acceptable in cases of comatose and brain-damaged patients, it is 
still illegal for other types of cases i.e. cancer, MS, stroke, etc.  And 
it would be a difficult choice to make due to cultural taboos.  I think 
the ability to put an animal out of it's misery is one of the great 
blessings of veterinary medicine.  

Linda Berris



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