Translate This Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Do Vets Love Science?

Bonnie sends this in....

My daughter is a sophomore in high school and has wanted to be a vet for some years.  She is getting a taste of honors biology and chemistry and says she doesn't love science (except she does like biology).  She thinks she needs to be a science buff to be a vet. I'm sure many vets loved the science.  But I wonder, do some vets go on to be successful in the field and say they toughed their way through science classes to enjoy/excel at the rest?

Science is obviously important to a veterinarian.  We have to have a strong grounding in various scientific disciplines, especially biology.  But that doesn't mean that we have to love all sciences.  

I'm not sure if the standards have changed, but when I was in my undergraduate pre-vet program I had to have extensive biology courses, a lot of chemistry, and two semesters of physics.  In fact, I had to take so much chemistry that I took one elective chemistry course and qualified for a minor in that field.  Basic physics is necessary because there are certain principles that apply to medicine, especially the equipment, that makes it easier to understand with the proper background.  These are the core sciences that an aspiring veterinarian needs.

While I love science in general, beyond the above disciplines I don't have much interest.  Geology is uninteresting, and I know meteorology mainly through my wife's paranoia about bad weather.  I actually don't even like ecology, even though it's related to biology.  So being a "science buff" isn't necessary.

I graduated with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.  But that's not even necessary for veterinary school.  Many of my classmates had a degree in Animal Science, which is more focused on the practical aspects of animal management, especially livestock.  In a way, that may be a more appropriate major as I had no experience at all with livestock until vet school, yet my classmates with an Animal Science background had already been exposed to this information and found it easier to remember.

Your daughter needs to keep focused on biology and chemistry, but it's also important to have good communication and writing skills, so don't neglect the English classes.  Math is also important, though don't ask me why calculus is required....I received an A in both semesters in college, but can't tell you exactly what calculus is and certainly don't use it in practice.

Best of luck to her!