William Ingham

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William Ingham

William Ingham

William with the NZ Primeminister

William with the NZ Primeminister

Vet school: Royal Dick School of Veterinary Science

Year of graduation: 2014

Home Region: Yorkshire!!!

What did you aspire to do when you applied for vet school?
I grew up on a mixed farm with beef cattle and sheep, as well as a few horses, dogs, cats, and chickens. As a kid I would run amok in the surrounding lands, enjoying the countryside and wildlife, then watching David Attenborough on an evening. When I grew older, I started working more on the farm, as well as doing work experience on other farms, enjoying working with the animals.

It was my sister who wanted to be a vet, a dream she had had since 8 years old. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I loved science and animals, so did the same work placements as she had done. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by great people doing fascinating things with the creatures that I loved.

Thus, with no definite plan of whether I would be a farm vet, or a smallies vet, or even a scientist with a veterinary background, but enthralled with the people I'd met and procedures I'd seen, I went to Edinburgh.

What are you doing now?
When I was looking for jobs after graduation my brother-in-law suggested I also look elsewhere in the world. His brother puts in robotic milking machines and had spent 6 months in New Zealand, which he thoroughly enjoyed. With this in mind I looked at jobs in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Somehow I landed a New Zealand Production (that's Farm in Kiwi) job, in a town called Bulls (seriously), in the Manawatu, a region with a lot of dairy farms. The Australians have a joke about Kiwi's getting their milk from Bulls.

I'd never been to New Zealand before. It was the scariest thing I've ever done- flying half way round the world, to a place I'd never been to, to a job I'd never done.
Totally Worth It!

I've been here over 14 months and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've learnt a huge amount about the job, the industry, the country, and the culture, as well as making new friends and meeting the Prime Minister John Key.

What is your favourite thing about being a vet?
I love spending time with people who really know and care for their animals, but also people who want to know more. Farmers know that their animals are their most valuable asset. Many want to know more about the workings of their stock, as well as having valuable insights themselves into their animals and the land they farm. This is particularly pleasing when you both start using each other's information, such as farmers thinking more about how they move their stock or use antibiotics.

This is even more rewarding in another country, as systems, lifestyles, and research differ. Travel broadens the mind!

What is the worst thing about being a vet?
The thing which upsets me most whilst doing this job is when dealing with those who don't understand their animals, specifically when they can't understand that animals do feel boredom, hunger, pain, and suffering. We work hard as a profession to educate people and to ensure the prosecution of the worst offenders, yet some people choose to remain ignorant whilst others are not specifically doing anything illegal.

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far?
One of my first jobs was to go examine a young pet calf. There was a small umbilical hernia. Having helped repair 3 during my final year I felt like I should be able to do the required surgery. When I got back to the practice my senior vet said I had been "brave" to do that myself. I caught up with the owners during the following weeks as the calf made excellent progress.

He was my first officially solo patient, as well as my first solo surgery.

Do you have any future career goals?
I'm about to leave my wonderful job here in order to go off travelling! Specifically to see the rest of New Zealand, Australia, and the southern states of the USA. After that I'm returning to the UK with the aim of getting on to a poultry internship next year.

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would it be?
Learn to develop a professional opinion. What if this was your own animal? What would you want done for it?

What's more, as a student, express that opinion. You'll be literally being paid for it as a vet. If it's wrong as a student it is the safest time to find out. When you are right you'll know you can trust yourself, as well as earning some extra credit.

For advice on finding a veterinary job in New Zealand, as well as my travels whilst here, check out my blog: http://thebigbullshitblog.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/how-to-get-into-new-zealand-as-vet.html

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Adele Williams

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Adele Williams

Adele Williams BVSc. MRCVS DipECEIM PhD

Vet School: Bristol

Year of graduation: 2003

Home region: Chester

What did you aspire to do when you applied for vet school? I thought I wanted to be a mixed practitioner in a rural practice. I certainly had no interest in research or public health.. Things have changed! 

What are you doing now? I'm a specialist horse vet teaching at a uk vet school. My job involves research and teaching, and I am involved in overseas work and veterinary politics. 

What is your favourite thing about being a vet? Helping to improve the lives of animals by improving their health and welfare, which in turn improves the livelihoods of poor families that rely on them in less developed nations.

What is the worst thing about being a vet? Having to deal with the financial side of veterinary work is tough. Eg when the most affordable humane option is euthanasia when you know a cure would be possible if more funds were available, and this is sometimes hand in hand with anger directed at you from owners and is very frustrating. 

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far? Working with the charity spana to investigate urinary incontinence in working donkeys in mali, west Africa. I have been able to travel and experience foreign cultures in depth via working as a vet volunteer for various charities.

Do you have any future career goals? I am happy in academia for now, long term I also wish to continue working with charities overseas to provide sustainable international development. 

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would you give? Pay attention as you're doing EMS... You'll be on your own before you know it, so learn from others while you have the chance! Keep your mind and options open, and go and see the world!

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Emily Gascoigne

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Emily Gascoigne

Emily Gascoigne

Vet School: Cambridge

Year of graduation:2012

Home region: North West

What did you aspire to do when you applied for vet school? I wanted to be either a mixed veterinary practitioner or a Pig Vet consultant! I really wanted to have some element of farm work in my day and even then they prospect of working with large numbers was appealing.

What are you doing now? No pig work! I am a farm animal practitioner in the South West in a large farm animal practice. The practice is mostly progressive dairy farms but I have a special clinical interest in sheep medicine and in particular flock health. I am actively involved in working with students within the practice and FAVS.

What is your favourite thing about being a vet? The clients! The working partnerships you develop with farms makes the job what it is.

What is the worst thing about being a vet? It is a high pressured job, and working with large farm businesses exacerbates this. It can also be quite an isolating job all day on the road. A good support network (employers and colleagues) are essential!

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far? My first solo calving with no assistance- a beautiful live heifer calf and a very pleased client. I had to go back later to TB test her for a pre-movement test which was very rewarding!

Do you have any future career goals? I want to specialise in sheep flock health and medicine and continue to work with students!

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would you give? Don't say no to any opportunities you are given whilst at vet school. Travel abroad, unusual work experience placements, adventure.

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Will Garton

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Will Garton

Will Garton

Vet School: University of Nottingham, England, UK

Year of graduation: 2014

Home region: Nottingham, East Midlands, England

What did you aspire to do when you applied for vet school?

Become a farm animal vet working with cattle and sheep

What are you doing now?

Full time poultry vet working in clinical practice and studying for further qualifications specific to poultry

What is your favourite thing about being a vet?

Having the responsibility of making independent clinical decisions that benefit clients – and the gratitude that clients show you when your decisions work out well

What is the worst thing about being a vet?

Having to admit to yourself that you don’t always know the answer (but it’s great if you know where to find it!)

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far?

Publishing my first article in the Veterinary Times on Coccidiosis in Turkeys. I was very proud to have an article published within my first month as an employed vet.

Do you have any future career goals?

  • Further qualifications (certificate, masters or equivalent)
  • Greater understanding of the veterinary and poultry industries
  • More clinical expertise 
  • Experience of global poultry veterinary work 
  • Higher level of management within the practice or institute I work for
  • Recognition within the poultry veterinary industry 

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would it be?

Use your opportunities and experiences as a student to determine what really interests you so that once you reach the working world you can excel and achieve

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Janey Lowes

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Janey Lowes

Janey Lowes 

Year of graduation: 2012 

Home region: Barnard Castle, County Durham 

What did you aspire to do when you applied for Vet School? 

I wanted to be a farm vet and there was absolutely no question in my mind that this was not my calling. Growing up in a rural area and being from a farming background had cemented this in my mind from a very young age. I loved being outside, I loved the animals but most of all I loved having the ‘craic’ with the farmers! 

I always loved dogs too, that was not the issue, but I just loved farm work more. 100 times more! I would not bare the idea of being stuck inside doing consult after consult for the rest of my life. I also struggle with keeping my emotional distance in small animal cases so I was adamant I didn’t want to be upset on a daily basis. 

This plan did not change for me until I was 6 months qualified. All the way through vet school, I focused on large animals, doing as little small animal EMS as physically possible and even having my dissertation published in ‘Cattle Practice’. When I graduated, I genuinely thought that I would never do a small animal consult again. Until, due to my partner’s job, we had to move to the city and there were no farm jobs anywhere around. I took a mixed job and everything changed from there. I had not given small animal medicine or surgery a chance until then but I gradually found myself preferring to miss a PDing session to stay in and spey cats- what was happening to me?!?! It took me a while to accept that I was starting to become a ‘smally vet’ as this changed my whole life plan that I had had since I was 11 years old. I then took a huge step (not really, but it was for me at the time!) and moved to a small animal practice. I absolutely love my job and I doubt I will ever go back to farm work. 

What are you doing now? 

I am still officially an employee at my small animal practice, Westway Veterinary Group, but I have done something a little bit crazy! I have moved to Sri Lanka and set up a charity called WECare Worldwide, in partnership with Westway, that provides veterinary care to stray dogs and cats. I spend my days neutering and vaccinating street dogs and cats as well as treating sick and injured animals that I find in the street or that are reported to us by a member of the public. I sometimes carry out complex ops which is great for me but there are also a lot of limitations in a country like Sri Lanka, which is very frustrating. I also educate the younger generation on responsible pet ownership, animal welfare and animal handling.

What is your favourite thing about being a vet? 

The best thing about being a vet, for me, is the relationships you build both with the pet and with the owner. These are not superficial ‘work relationships’ that you may get in other jobs- you are helping a member of their family and you see (and are part of) all of the emotional lows and highs. You get to know them on a different level. It is not the best thing when you are lying awake at 4am worrying about a certain case but ultimately it means that you care. Not just about the clinical outcome but about the family you have become a part of for a short while.

I also love working as part of a team. My practice in the UK is large and when I am in Sri Lanka I miss every single one of my colleagues. We are a hard-working, sociable team and it makes my job what it is. It is so important to enjoy work and, having a supportive group of people around you, makes a huge difference. I could have the ‘best’ job in the world but if I worked alone, I would hate it. Technically, I do now work alone but I still have their support every day even though I am a 13 hour flight away. 

What is the worst thing about being a vet? 

For me, it is the limitations that are applied to certain cases. Be it financial, owner related or availability of drugs etc, it is the most frustrating thing not being able to do your very best for an animal. However, it does teach you to think outside of the box and it also means that you have a knowledge of a range of treatment options, not just Gold standard. 

I am totally outside my comfort zone in Sri Lanka where I have to do everything at minimal cost with minimal drug availability and with dogs that live on the streets. You may see them one day and then not see them for a week. If they need an operation, you can’t send them home with the owner at the end of the day with a post-op care sheet! You have to think about where these animals will stay during recovery which, in a country with only one animal hospital with boarding facilities, is a huge limitation in itself. 

I think that, no matter how frustrating this is right now, ultimately, I will be a much better veterinary surgeon. And hopefully I will have developed some patience!! 

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far? 

Probably what I am doing now! It is different on a daily basis and it is very interesting to work in a completely different culture. We are very spoilt in the UK and I did not realize this until I came here. I will never, ever, ever moan about owner compliance in the UK ever again!!! 

Do you have any future career goals? 

My long term aim is to do a Surgery Certificate and specialize in soft tissue surgery. But for now, there are far too many street dogs in the world that need ‘boring’ things like vaccinations and speys for me to even consider spoiling myself with specialized surgery! 

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would it be? 

If I had £1 for every time someone told me when I was at vet school that I shouldn’t be so set on being a farm vet, I would be a millionaire. I’m embarrassed to say and I’m sorry to be such a cliché but I’m joining that list of people. PLEASE don’t put yourself in a box and cut yourself off from certain disciplines. I cannot stress how certain I was that I would be a farm vet for the rest of my life and the fact that this has changed, makes me realize that it can happen to anyone. So many of my fellow graduates have found themselves in the same position- we were all adamant that we knew what we would be doing when we graduated and, for a lot of us, this has changed. Please just get experience in every area, just in case!

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Hannah Jordan

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Hannah Jordan

Hannah Jordan photo.png

Hannah Jordan

Vet School: Royal Veterinary College

Year of graduation: 2013

Home region: East Sussex & London

What did you aspire to do when you applied for vet school? I aspired to spite my awful careers adviser and become part of a profession with a wealth of opportunities. I hoped that if I joined a profession that allowed me to pursue a multitude of different directions that I would find it fulfilling.

What are you doing now? Currently, I am working in the House of Lords as an Intern to Lord Trees (one of two veterinary Peers). This is a role in Government between academia and science and those in policy - knowledge brokerage. I also volunteer and locus in small animal practice in my spare time, but I am still very green compared to those I graduated alongside.

What is your favourite thing about being a vet? My versatility.

What is the worst thing about being a vet? Almost every person you meet will at some point tell you that their [insert beloved pet here] was sick on [insert date] and expect you to know, without any further information, the reason why.

What has been the most memorable/interesting experience of your career so far? The most memorable experience of my career so far has been attending the State opening of Parliament and listening to the Queen's speech. The speech outlines the work of the Government for the year ahead and allows us to skim through the proposed Bills in order to determine what implications they might have for the profession and if they provide an opportunity for us to submit amendments to represent veterinary interests.

Do you have any future career goals? I would like to work in the food production industry and work to re-introduce the expertise and value of veterinary surgeons throughout the food chain from farm to fork. I hope that gaining some experience in industry may allow me to return to policy making at a later date with some useful experience under my belt.

If you could give one piece of advice to current vet students, what would it be? The modern veterinary degree marks you out as a problem solving, hard working individual that is capable of assimilating a huge amount of material. It assumes a number of professional and practical skills and requires you to be a great communicator. With these sorts of skills under your belt a vet is one of the most versatile creatures when it comes to employability - go out there and show them! You are categorically not limited to full time work in practice.

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Tammy Shadbolt

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Tammy Shadbolt

Tammy Shadbolt BSc Hons BVM&S MSc WAH MRCVS 

Vet schools:  Royal Veterinary College (London): PhD Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (current) and MSc Wild Animal Health (2013) Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (Edinburgh): BVM&S Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (2007) Liverpool Veterinary School (Liverpool): BSc Hons Veterinary Conservation Medicine (intercalation) (2005)

Career profile (or 101 things to do with a vet degree!):

When I arrived at Edinburgh vet school in 2001 I quickly realised I did not ‘fit’ the general student profile: none of my immediate family had been to university or followed scientific careers and I had not aspired to be a vet since I could walk!  My motivation was simple.  I was fascinated by animals and the entire natural world.  Cats and dogs, rabbits and rhinos, woodlice and woodlands, I wanted to save the planet and all species that inhabited it.  I aspired to be David Attenborough!  An odd choice of university course perhaps yet every day since, I have valued my vet degree.  It is the bedrock of a career that I adore.

A confident grasp of veterinary medicine and surgery is essential and experience cannot be attained in a hurry.  I spent 4 years in my first general practice job learning from a wonderful boss before setting sail for Australia.  There I tackled venous snake bites, worked a 1 in 2 night rota and learnt to patch up rodeo dogs and wombats.  They say ‘magic happens’ outside of your comfort zone and whilst no day in practice is quite within it, joining the Worldwide Veterinary Service pushed me far beyond. Eyes opened to the extraordinary challenge of working with street animals in Botswana and Panama, I subsequently completed a certificate in NGO management, and set about working with charities in Fiji and South Africa.   

The ‘niggle’ to help save the world and its wildlife did not subside.  I had seized the chance to intercalate at Liverpool vet school in Veterinary Conservation Medicine as a student and I returned to academia to embark on the MSc in Wild Animal Health at the Royal Veterinary College.  Somewhat to my surprise learning at postgraduate level was a completely different experience to my undergraduate years of struggle and strife, and failure to juggle work-party balance!  Suddenly eager to impart new found ‘wisdom’ but wondering ‘how I got so old’, I threw myself wholeheartedly into a year’s post of fulltime vet school teaching and tutoring.  I soon found that my students inspired me just as much as I could hope to do likewise for them!

Perhaps I am fortunate that each twist and turn in my career has signposted the next step. From conferences in Cape Town to anti-poaching rhino work, the opportunities have, and continue, to open up.  I am now happily following a road marked ‘research’ and embracing the chance to tackle disease from ‘cell to species’.  Juggling a PhD in Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, continuing to teach part time and work in both private and charity veterinary practice is challenging but there is still time for living the ‘London life’!  

Every vet student is a perfectionist and the practicing veterinarian must remain professional and meticulous at all times.  The science is learnt at university and the art understood through experience.  Perhaps what is less appreciated however is the importance of holding onto whatever motivated you to fill in that vet school application in the first place. Do not lose your curiosity or your passion.  Be determined but learn to adapt. Whichever way your career takes you stop and check: are you doing what you love and loving what you do? Are you enjoying the journey and remembering to admire the view?

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