In recent episodes of AMC's zombie series The Walking Dead, a new character introduced to the show, Dr. Hershel Greene, helps treat and save the life of a critically injured child. Dr. Greene, however, is not a physician, but a veterinarian.
Now, under normal circumstances, of course, we would never recommend that a veterinarian treat a human, but in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, well ... physicians might be hard to come by, governing boards and malpractice laws are out the window, and if one of your party is bleeding to death, a veterinarian just might give that person the best chance of survival.
Which got us thinking ... how else might a veterinarian prove useful in a zombie apocalypse? Here are our top 5 reasons you'd want a veterinarian as part of your zombie apocalypse team:
- They have a better chance at surviving: In the event of a zombie apocalypse, survivors are at a premium, and losing members of your group will make you much more vulnerable. The biggest risk is getting bitten by a zombie. Well, who's better at avoiding bites than a veterinarian? [Well, I agree that this is pretty true! Unfortunately we don't manage to avoid them all of the time, but more than your average person.]
- They can provide medical care: Again, pre-apocalypse, see your physician. Post-apocalypse, if a physician isn't available, you couldn't do much better than having a veterinarian treat your (non-zombie-bite) wounds and illnesses. Veterinarians spend at least four years post-grad training to care for ALL species, so while the general anatomy might be slightly different, they're probably not going to be overwhelmed by the prospect of working on human patients. [True again! The military actually wants veterinarians near combat zones because if the human medical professionals are unavailable we at least know the basics of medical therapy, suturing, and saving a mammal's life.]
- They can take care of the animals: With electrical grids down and gasoline no longer in production, you're going to be relying on animals much more: Dogs for protection, horses for transportation, livestock for food and labor. A veterinarian will make sure these highly valuable animals are well treated, healthy and performing at a high level. [Okay, here's where it starts to break down. While I did receive training in livestock, most of that has been forgotten in the last 15 years of small animal practice. Still, I could quickly refresh my memory with access to a few veterinary text books, which I certainly would be doing in such a situation.]
- They can make sure your food is safe: Without grocery stores, restaurants or refrigerators—not to mention state and federal oversight—obtaining, storing and preparing food will provide a whole new set of challenges for most people. Veterinarians have experience in ensuring food safety and testing; many work nationally to ensure food safety at processing plants and distribution centers, or across the globe working to make sure food for our troops is safe to eat. Unsure if the remaining meat from a deer carcass ravaged by zombies is safe to eat? Consult the veterinarian! [Hmmmm, I remember almost nothing about food safety inspection and I'm sure your average hunter would do a better job than myself. Still, I have no problems being around animal carcases, so I guess I'm still you're guy.]
- They can find a cure: Veterinarians are experts at studying the causes and distribution of diseases, or epidemiology. They've been invaluable in determining the source and distribution of several diseases that pose risk to humans, such as rabies, SARS, and West Nile virus. Veterinarians might be able to determine what causes people to turn into zombies and develop a cure. Why aren't animals infected? Perhaps there's an epidemiological clue there! [Most of us are not researchers or epidemiologists and so may not be the best at discovering a cure. Still, we did receive more training in this area than your average person so even with a lot of forgotten information we're better than average.]
Talk to your veterinarian today about his or her zombie apocalypse plans!
My plans? Get with people who are good with building, electronics, survival skills, and weaponry, then find somewhere safe to wall ourselves in until a more long-term solution can be found.