Advice > Question

ANONYMOUS:

I am very excited to apply to vet school but I am kind of nervous about equine and large animal medicine. I am comfortable around small animals but feel a little intimidated about the rest. How can I get over this anxiety?


First of all—congratulations on your decision to join the veterinary field. As a veterinarian for almost 25 years, I can say without a doubt it has been a very rewarding career. Like you, when I first started, I had no experience with equine and large animals. I was able to find a mixed animal veterinarian to shadow and this helped me tremendously. I went on farm calls with him and it was a great learning environment and eye-opening experience about the life of a mixed animal veterinarian.

Most veterinarians are happy to help future veterinarians and welcome shadow opportunities. If that is not an option, then try to find a farm or horse-riding facility where you can volunteer to help. This again can be a great opportunity to just be around the animals and get more comfortable in their presence. In my case, once I got into to vet school, I enjoyed my rotation in equine medicine so much, that I nearly opted for equine medicine as a career, never having been around horses before school! You never know what direction veterinary medicine will lead. Best of luck!

#anxiety #fear #LargeAnimal #MentalHealth #stress

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Dr. Amber Ihrke was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She received dual degrees in Biology and Veterinary Science in 1992 from the University of Nevada-Reno and her DVM in 1996 from the University of Missouri, as well as her certification in rehabilitation in 2011 from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. She is also certified in pain management (IAVPM), acupuncture (Chi), and veterinary spinal manipulation (The Healing Oasis). Dr. Ihrke teaches rehabilitation at The Healing Oasis Wellness Center and is the past-president of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV). In January 2017, she started her residency with the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR) via the practice experience pathway. Dr. Ihrke and her husband (also a veterinarian) own a small animal practice in Homer Glen, Illinois. In 2013, they opened a second veterinary clinic, Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen, a rehabilitation and sports medicine specialty practice. Dr. Ihrke works with another veterinarian and three technicians all certified in rehabilitation and enjoys the collaborative, team approach to patient care. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four (yes, four!) daughters, traveling with her family and participating in endurance sports. She has three dogs, Heather is her 12.5-year-old Labrador retriever, Butterscotch is her 13.5-year old Dachshund, and Merlin her one-year-old golden retriever.

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