Veterinarian Technician

Nursing animals to health

Vets are twice as likely to die by suicide compared to other doctors

It’s a profession that’s both fulfilling and rewarding, and if you love working with animals and be involved in the field of medicine, then choosing to become a veterinarian is your ticket to a satisfactory career. You may have to work long and erratic hours, but the financial remuneration is good and you enjoy a good standing in the community. However, just as with any other profession, there are risks associated with becoming a vet. And if you’re prepared to accept these risks and foresee the dangers, you can avoid falling victim to them.

  • Animal attack: While most pets are well trained and obedient, vets are at risk for bites, scratches and kicks from animals that are in pain or which don’t like what you’re doing to them. It’s instinctive behavior for them, and though they don’t mean to attack you, you could get hurt seriously, especially if the animal is large and strong.
  • Infection: Vets could get infected with fungus or other parasites when examining pets that have contracted parasitical infections if they’re not careful about protecting themselves and following the right protocol.
  • Malpractice suits: There’s a new breed of lawyers now who’re devoting all their energy and time to defending the rights of animals and their owners or caretakers, and they’re called animal rights attorneys. While it’s important to protect the rights of animals and ensure that they’re taken care of and prevented from being abused, some lawyers are akin to ambulance chasers and are trigger happy when it comes to filing malpractice suits. They exploit loopholes in the law and have a go at vets who are not at fault and who are just victims of unfortunate circumstances. So although your priority is to provide the best care for animals, ensure that you watch your back too.
  • Suicide: If you’re reading this and rubbing your eyes in disbelief, vets are four times at a higher risk of suicide than other people, and twice as likely as other doctors to take their own lives, according to a study conducted at the University of Southampton. The reason for this could be that they deal with euthanasia on a regular basis. In the animal world, mercy killing is a necessity, and vets have to cope with the emotional distress of killing an animal they’ve bonded with. This affects them mentally, and over a period of time, makes them believe that it’s not wrong to take a life if the need arises. This attitude spills over to their personal life and they don’t have qualms about suicide if they’re going through a low patch.

Every veterinarian’s practice is different, and each is subject to risks and dangers unique to the nature of their job and work environment. So it’s up to you to assess them and find ways to prevent or get around them.

Dog Whisperer: How to handle shy, fearful and anxious dogs

Dogs are not all that different from human beings – some of them are well-adjusted and happy while others are moody, shy and even afraid. And just as with human behavior, it’s the latter kind of canines who take to aggression and violence because they’re troubled and in turmoil inside. They don’t know how to deal with their shyness and fear of human beings, other animals, and even inanimate objects that they resort to displays of aggression and attack when they feel threatened.

Some dogs are like this because they haven’t been given the right exposure as puppies – their masters would not have allowed them to play with other dogs and interact with human beings, or they would have been reared in environments that boosted their shyness and fear. Some dogs become this way because they’ve been abused by their masters or by strangers. And some are timid and fearful because they’ve been teased and bullied endlessly by children who don’t know better and adults who did not care to reprimand and correct this behavior.

Here are a few tips for dealing with fearful dogs:

  • If you’ve just brought home a new puppy, the best way to prevent them from growing up to be fearful is to expose them to the sights and sounds of the world early on. Take them for walks to places where there are people and animals, where there are loud sounds and quiet surroundings, and where things are busy and quiet. This way, they are used to any kind of environment, whether they move from the city to the suburb, or vice versa.
  • Teach your pup obedience skills and focus on their training during their formative years. This way, you don’t have a problem with them when they become adult dogs.
  • If you’ve inherited or adopted an older dog that is shy and fearful, you need to work gradually on getting them to lose their inhibitions. To help them adapt to other people, use someone who loves dogs and whom you trust. Get them to stand near your dog without looking directly at them, with a treat in their hand. Repeat this until the dog is comfortable enough to allow the person to pet them. The change will be gradual – the dog will first take the treat from the floor and move away, the next time it may take it directly from the person’s hand, and in a few days, it may allow them to pet it.
  • Repeat this exercise in different surroundings, with helpers of different genders and ages.
  • If your dog is shy and fearful around other dogs, let them interact with friendly dogs and puppies first. Keep them away from dogs that are aggressive and which could attack.
  • Send your dog to an obedience training school – when they learn new skills and how to respond to commands, they lose their shyness and fear naturally.
  • Don’t comfort or praise your dog when it exhibits signs of fearfulness; this will only reinforce this kind of behavior and make them believe that it is right and accepted.

Remember, it takes an enormous amount of effort and patience to get rid of your dog’s timidity and fearfulness. So be prepared to spend the required time, and focus on what needs to be done slowly and steadily.

Money Matters: Financial Aid and Scholarships for Vet Technicians

You can get started as a vet tech with as little as an associates degree in the field and some on-the-job training, but to earn the higher salaries, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. Education is expensive, though, so to make sure you can afford more school (and ultimately command a higher salary), financial aid is available for students who qualify. Let’s take a look at the options available for vet tech students who could use a little extra help.

Vet Tech Scholarships

Scholarships are a great source of money for college because you don’t have to repay them when you graduate, as is the case with student loans. Scholarships are typically give based on merit of so sort, such as a high GPA or writing a winning essay about you education goals. You can most commonly find scholarships directly from vet tech school, but outside organizations and companies also offer this kind of money for college in many cases. Some of the sources that offer scholarships to vet tech students include the The Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics , American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Oxbow, and the Pet Care Trust. You can also find non-specific scholarships, which are open to all students regardless of field of study. Your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid department can help you find these opportunities.

Vet Tech Grants

Grants are extremely similar to scholarships; there is a lot of overlap within these two types of financial aid. Like scholarships, you don’t have to repay grants, so essentially the money is free. In addition, grants are also given directly from colleges in many cases, as well as from outside organizations. The main difference between grants and scholarships is that grants require you to show financial need. Some grants are merit-based a well, but when applying for a grant, you typically have to submit your family financial information. The Federal Pell Grant is a great place for you to start, since any student who financially qualifies is offered this government grant simply by filling out the FAFSA form.

Other Forms of Financial Aid

Along with grants and scholarships, you can consider student loans to help you pay for tuition. You do have to repay this money, but not until after you graduate in most cases, and the interest rates you’re offered will be much lower than non-student personal loans. Some employers even have reimbursement programs to help you pay back your loans.

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