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Careers Week 2021: Senior Vet

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Jo vet

Jo is a senior vet with the Scottish SPCA.

Here's what she has to say about her career journey so far:

"I had to work very hard to get the high grades I needed at school but, despite high grades, I still didn’t get a place at vet school the first time I applied as I didn’t have enough experience with large animals.

"I took a gap year, gained that experience and then was lucky enough to get a place at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. I had to work even harder to get through vet school, not without a resit exam or two along the way!

"After graduating I worked in small animal private practice for three years and I loved the work. I actually intended to specialise in birds and move back nearer my family in Kent, but life had other plans (like falling in love with a Glaswegian).

"I wasn’t sure what to expect when I applied for a temporary, part time vet job working in the Scottish SPCA’s dedicated vet clinics.

"Most people don’t realise but working as a vet in a rescue centre is very different from working in private practice. Many of the animals are fearful due to the new environment, traumatic experiences, or pain from their current condition, so we have to be patient and careful. Sadly, some arrive in horrific condition and need a lot of medical care.

"I often think vets are like detectives, taking clues and piecing them together to work out what is wrong, but this is even more true at the centre where most animals arrive with no medical history. Our health checks have to be extremely thorough as animals can be very good at hiding problems too.

"The challenges and rewards can be a rollercoaster ride, but the happy endings always outweigh the difficult days. We love hearing how animals are doing in their new homes, especially the ones who needed a lot of treatment and spent a long time in our veterinary ward. I’ve rehomed several cheeky ferrets and two wonderful dogs along the way.

"I was quick to realise how much I loved animal welfare work and after seven months in my temporary post when I was offered a permanent full time position I had no hesitation in accepting it. I have been here for over 10 years now and was promoted to senior vet four years ago."

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