Exclusive interview with equine veterinarian, Jeanne Best , below!
If you enjoy caring for and helping horses, an equine veterinarian may be the right job for you! Equine veterinarians are just like regular animal doctors except, they work only with horses. Veterinarians perscribe medicine, perform surgery, and examine animals. Equine vets often drive to their patients' stables or ranches and treat them there. Often, equine veterinarians help when a horse is pregnant or giving birth.
However, there are down sides to any career. Equine vets work long hours and are often on call. An emergency could occur at any moment. Veterinarians have a risky job. A frightened or injured animal may bite, kick, or scratch anyone who is attempting to handle it. Despite these risks, there is no greater reward then saving an animal in need.
Schooling and Training:
Any veterinarian must go to college. For most, the first step is to go to college for four years and get a bachelor's degree studying animal science, biology, chemistry, physics, math, english, and nutrition. Many vets get prior experience volunteering or working at animal shelters and hospitals.
Then, vets go to veterinary school for four more years. Veterinary school is very difficult to get into and, only students with good grades are accepted. After vet school, veterinarians take an exam and then get a license. Even after schooling is finished, many vets continue taking classes. If you are a student, prepare for veterinary school by taking animal and science classes. Get as much experience working with animals as possible. Try volunteering at an animal shelter or hospital.
Middle class vets earned between $51, 420 and $88,060 per year in 2004.
The lower class earned less than $39, 020 per year in 2004.
The highest class earned more than $118, 430 per year in 2004.
1. When and how did you decide that you wanted to become an equine veterinarian?
[Jeanne Best]: I wanted to be an equine vet since I was just a little girl. I never wanted to be anything else.Everything I studied in school was in the direction of the sciences and I maintained good grades from grammar school through college.
2. What kind of experience did you have around horses before you became a veterinarian?
[Jeanne Best]: I started riding when I was eight and spent as much time as possible at the barn- grooming, cleaning, tacking up the lesson horses, putting them away, wrapping legs- whatever was needed to be done, I did and until I was 18 I was doing it all for free- I just wanted to be with the horses and the experience was invaluable.
3. What college did you attend?
[Jeanne Best]: St. Louis University(St. Louis, Mo) and University of Missouri- Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine
4. What kind of training did you do to help you become a veterinarian?
[Jeanne Best]: Externships during college for small animal vets and at the St. Louis Zoo; studying in college- LOTS of studying.
5. What are your favorite and least favorite things about your career?
[Jeanne Best] I love the flexibility I have in making my own schedule but I don't like how schedules can change like crazy with just one emergency phone call. Working in sub-freezing temperatures is a challenge, too.
6. What has been the most memorial or inspirational experience with your career?
[Jeanne Best]: Some really sick horses that I have helped to save, or septic foals that were close to death but are fine- those are great memories. I joke about not having alot of "James Herriott" type stories, but if I look back over my career I do have quite a few good tales to tell!
7. Describe your normal work day.
[Jeanne Best]: Out the door at 8 am appointments til 3-4-5 pm depends on the day and my family schedule. Lots of floating teeth (that's what I like best), routine health care calls for the most part, my practice is big on preventative medicine to help try to reduce everyone's risk of emergencies. In the evenings I spend 2-4 hours in the office answering calls, making appointments, call-backs to check on sick patients, do deposits, pay bills, data entry etc... The list is almost endless.
8. What advice would you give to young, aspiring equine veterinarians?
[Jeanne Best]: Work , work, work, study, study, study and do it with a smile on your face and in your heart- if you don't enjoy it, your future clients may not enjoy you and I'll tell you I have some of the nicest clients there are- even from my days back in Canada where they'd invite you in for a treat or dinner,. Some of my clients I have known for over 15 years- there have been births, weddings, new horses, sold horses, deaths, you really get to know these people.
9. What can teens do to help prepare for veterinary school?
[Jeanne Best]: see question 8- do whatever it takes to get the hands-on horse experience that you need.
10. What is the most valueable thing being an equine veterinarian has taught you?
[Jeanne Best]: The importance of being honest in all aspects of your life, dealing with others the way I would want to be treated, respect for all creatures.
11. What is your outlook for veterinary careers in future?
[Jeanne Best]: Big need for large animal vets- everyone is looking to small animals leaving a growing gap in the large animal field.
**A special thank you to Jeanne Best for allowing Horse Spirit to interview her!**