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December 9, 2013

Top Ten Common Misconceptions About Vets

When you think of a typical vet, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Someone who knows the ins and outs of every animal, who is well paid and drives a 4×4?

The girls at Companion Consultancy would like to quell some of the myths surrounding the veterinary profession with our own top ten common misconceptions the general public have about vets. Have a read and let us know what you think, they may even surprise you!

 1.Vets get paid a lot

Contrary to popular opinion, most vets are not loaded. The average salary is about the same as the average salary for someone working in marketing or human resources, for which vets work long hours including attending out of hours calls. This includes a training allowance which most of them tend to squander on learning more in order to help animals. Your expectation might be to see vets driving around in top spec Range Rovers and swilling Champagne. You are much more likely to find that the person standing next to you in the pub wearing a threadbare checked shirt splattered with nameless substances and who clearly hasn’t had a haircut since 1979 is a vet.

2. Anyone could have been a vet if only they didn’t get upset by the idea of putting a dog to sleep.

Top academic grades and the willingness to slog through at least five gruelling years of vet school is the main obstacle to most people seriously wanting to become a vet.

3. Vets pets are really obedient

Enough said….

4. When you ring up and ask about Fluffy, the vet will know exactly who you mean…

Not only is it hard to immediately recall each one of the 30-40 patients a vet might be dealing with each day, some of them have names like Poppy and Alfie. Do try and be clear if your pet has a human name as it can lead to all sorts of confusion: the next time you ask the vet if he thinks castration could help Alfie get over his little problem, remember this could also be the name of his son.

5. Vets want to talk about animals all the time

Every so often vets will be given a night off from work. Should you find yourself at a dinner party do remember that most vets would rather not discuss your pet’s health problems over some rare roast beef. Also should the event go on past 9.30 pm don’t be surprised if they fall asleep face down in a plate of chocolate torte (see previous comments about long hours).

6. Vets love all animals

While many vets would admit that they have favourite patients, they are not so keen on the ones that leap up and bite them, kick them, fly towards their faces with their claws out, or pin them to the ground.

7. Vets don’t feel pain.

See above. As the vet stands with blood dripping from their hand/ face/ other part of their anatomy, don’t casually ask, ‘So what do you think is the matter with him,’ and expect to get a reasonable answer!

8.  All vets live at the practice – therefore giving them a call in the middle of the night to discuss your cat’s bowel habits is a kind gesture and prevents them from being bored.

Most vets ‘on call’ have worked a full day already and will probably work a full day the next day. A vast number of them are happy catching up on the latest soap or even reality TV at home and are actually hoping that the ‘phone does not ring. No matter how interesting your cat’s bowels might be.

9. Nothing disgusts vets because they have seen it all

Vets see (and smell) lots of disgusting things on a daily basis but there are moments when it still gets too much. If your pet pees or expresses its anal glands into the vet’s open mouth don’t expect a good reaction.

10. Vets know everything about animals

A vet’s standard training does not cover the specifics of every species. Don’t expect to present your lesser spotted Mongolian dung beetle with a skin condition and see the vet’s face light up with confidence. Note that some vets are even scared of certain species, such as rats or snakes, just like normal people.

We hope this has helped dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding the veterinary profession, so next time you are at the vets, remember they are only human too!