A dangerous job – Part 2

In my last post, I looked at the dangers that vets face. Today I’d like to explore the question of whether this could be avoided.

It may sound totally unrelated, but I’m going to start by talking about the water company I work for – there is a point to this I promise. Our treatment works feature a lot of serious hazards, including raw sewage (contamination risk), deep, cold and/or aerated water (it’s not dense enough to let you float, so there’s no chance of swimming out), chlorine gas (as used as a weapon in WW2) and even seriously nasty substances like hydrofluoric acid (which dissolves flesh and bone). Despite these hazards, accidents are avoided through proper health and safety practices, which everyone in the company has the power to enforce.

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A dangerous job – Part 1

I recently read a comment online that being a large animal veterinarian is the most dangerous civilian profession. To be honest, I’m not overly surprised: since I first started talking to friends and family about changing careers, the warnings have poured in. They’re not just about physical injuries either: on one placement I was warned of high suicide rates in vets, whilst a neighbour made the damning comment that “all my vet friends are unhappy.” (She did follow up with “and only on £40k a year” which sounds like good money to me, but maybe I’m young and naïve.)

Sweeping generalisations aside, it’s very possible I’m giving my loved ones genuine cause for concern. Maybe their worries are well placed. So for this blog post, I’m going to explore how dangerous it is to become a vet – and why.

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My life in horses

I wanted to write a post about horses because throughout my life they’ve proven really important. As soon as I could point at things and make noises, I pointed at horses.

This came as a surprise to my completely not horsey parents. Somewhere way back an Irish great-grandfather was a jockey, and yes, my great Uncle Nigel had once driven a carriage at Bakewell show, but I started pointing at horses before I could have known that.

I begged and begged for riding lessons and on my sixth birthday my wish was granted! I was SO happy to be riding. I imagine I was also SO terrible and I vaguely remember being scared of most ponies. But it didn’t matter – I was riding!

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