My philosphy

My philosphy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The many facets of vet med

I touched on my current "Flavor of the Week" during my previous blog post, public health. This post is to shed some light on a concentration of vet med that most people are unaware of. Typically, when one thinks of a veterinarian, they think of someone who treats cats and dogs. Period. This is something the vet med community is working to change. Right now there are too many students applying to vet school, and too little openings to accept them. There are not enough jobs for the overwhelming amount of new graduations, and most cannot pay back their loans. This is a terrifying thought, even for someone who is passionate and knows what they are getting into. The large animal field needs vets, the lab animal field needs vets, the food industry needs vets, and the military needs vets, not just the cats and dogs.

Public health is an important aspect of vet med, although it is not the most glamorous. To be honest, up until recently I didn't know you could work in public health as a DVM, let alone know that some veterinary schools offered a dual enrollment degree of DVM/MPH (Masters of Public Health). I've started some research into the dual enrollment programs, and they want students with experience in public health. After researching some more, I found out the College Of Charleston (a local college) offers a B.S in Public Health! I looked into the classes, and they are right up my alley.

Here are a few of the more interesting classes:


Epidemiology 

Human Anatomy 
Human Physiology  
Medical Anthropology 

Disease, Medicine and History

Disease, Medicine and World History   

Medical Sociology 

Social Gerontology  

Biomedical Ethics  

oh hell, even 


Biostatistics in Health Sciences   

sounds interesting! Pretty much anything relating to the medical field is interesting to me. However the Public Health B.S will not cover all of my pre-reqs for vet school. After *even more* research, I think I figured it out. I will finish my Associate in Applied Science at TTC, which will fulfill all but the biochemistry and genetics courses I require. At CofC I can major in public health while minoring in biology (to take those final two classes). This way I can get a good idea about a career in public health, while still earning the degree needed for vet school. If I change my mind, no worries, because the vet schools really do not care what your degree is in, as long as you fulfill the required classes! 

So, by the end of it, if I stay this course...I will have earned
An Associate in Applied Science, Veterinary Technology
An Associate in Applied Science
A Bachelors in Public Health (minor in biology)
A Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine
A Masters in Public Health

FIVE...that's right, count them...FIVE degrees!

BUT, I will be doing something related to diseases, a *major* interest of mine, AND working as a veterinarian for the betterment of both human and animal health. How cool is that?! I'll admit, I am slightly afraid of the dual DVM/MPH course load, and having to do a research project/thesis...but the classes will be interesting, I know I can handle them.

I of course looked into what exactly a DVM/MPH graduate would do, and I am fascinated. The CDC of course hires veterinarians, and epidemiology is a *HUGE* field for vets! Apparently they will also help pay back student loans, and of course have great government benefits! Not only could I have a dream job, but the benefits and job security would be amazing as well. However, the hours may be long, and having to travel all over the world can be exciting, but having to leave behind family to do so...

Here is a link to a great, albeit long, video. It's 30 minutes long, but quite interesting! The video is a lecture done by a Veterinarian Epidemiologist who works for the CDC!

Did you know that 60% of current documented human infectious diseases originate from animals?! Here is another great link discussing zoonoses, and just how important veterinarians are in public health.

Even some non-zoonotic diseases may help treat, cure or prevent human diseases! Last May, researchers discovered that dogs have a Hepatitis C virus similar to humans, and it may assist in studying the disease in humans!

Okay, last link I will share...the other day I watched one of my favorite movies, Contagion. I loved the medical/scientific accuracy of this film. Once I saw the special features and interviews with the MD/MPH's, the epidemiologists, and other scientists that the writers, directors and actors worked with, I fell even deeper in love! There was a link to this website, and I am hooked! I love the information provided, my quite large nerdy self is satisfied!