Children learned what it takes to be a veterinarian at the Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri
The CF Vet for a Day program presented by Critter Fixers stopped at the 2023 Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday, August 26. Students ages 12 to 16 years participated in a hands-on, educational experience as they learned what it takes to be a veterinarian.1
The program is designed to be fun and informative, while introducing children to veterinary careers. The day typically starts with recruiters speaking to the young students about classes they can take, including college majors, and activities they can participate in for exploring veterinary medicine. A panel of veterinary professionals then shares some of their experiences on the job, and insights about their daily work. Hands-on learning is also part of the experience.2
In Kansas City, the 45 students rotated between stations with about 15 volunteer veterinarians and veterinary technicians instructing them on animal care exams, sutures, ultrasound diagnostics, and laboratory testing. Exams had the children searching live canines for bumps and lumps that could indicate a need for medical attention, for example; while the laboratory station had students mock testing for parasite conditions such as tapeworm and heartworm disease.1
The CF Vet for a Day program was created by Vernard L. Hodges, DVM, and Terrence Ferguson, DVM, owners of the Critter Fixers Veterinary Hospitals in Georgia, and stars of the Nat Geo Wild television show Critter Fixers. In another session at Fetch Kansas City, Hodges explained that he and Ferguson started Vet for a Day as a way to reach children who may not see veterinary medicine as a career option and encourage them to pursue their interest in animal care.3
The program also provides young students with the opportunity to connect with local mentors.2 Hodges and Ferguson added that "mentorship is the key to building up the profession" and every little bit helps.
Since its inception as a local program, CF Vet for a Day has grown, with day-long workshops for children being held nationwide. Among the program’s upcoming events is Vet for a Day at the Fetch dvm360 conference in Long Beach, California on December 2, 2023. Interested children between the ages of 12 and 16 years can apply to participate at https://www.cfvetforaday.com/application/.