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Mind Over Miller: The interview: Species-specific silliness
Professor A: Well, Terry-may we call you Terry?-you aspire to a degree in veterinary medicine?
Professor A: Well, Terry—may we call you Terry?—you aspire to a degree in veterinary medicine?
Terry: Yes, sir. I want to be a veterinarian.
Robert M. Miller, DVM
Professor A: Good! We have reviewed your undergraduate scholastic record, and it is excellent.
Terry: Thank you, sir!
Professor B: However, acceptance to veterinary school is competitive. Because there are many more qualified applicants than there are available spots, we must look at more than an applicant's GPA.
Terry: I realize that, Doctor B. I hope I can meet those other criteria.
Professor C: On your application, you expressed an interest in food-animal medicine.
Terry: Yes, ma'am.
Professor C: Are you aware that a critical shortage of veterinarians has developed in that area?
Terry: I've heard that, Doctor. I'd like to help alleviate that shortage.
All three professors: Good. Yes. Good.
Professor A: You come from a large city. Are you certain you'll be happy in a rural environment?
Terry: As long as I don't have to get up early.
Professor C: There is talk of opening a veterinary school devoted exclusively to food-animal medicine. If you are not accepted here, you could consider applying to such an institution.
Terry: If I attended an institution like that, would I be allowed to treat other animals after I graduated?
Professor C: Probably not.
Terry: You mean I'd only be licensed to treat cows?
Professor C: No, you could treat cows and hogs and sheep.
Professor A: —and goats!
Professor B:—and rabbits.
Professor A: Rabbits are lab animals.
Professor B: Not if you eat them.
Professor A: In some countries, they eat dogs.
Professor C: What about poultry? We eat them, but we usually lump avian medicine with exotics.
Professor A: Well, what about horses? We consider them to be companion animals, but people in some countries eat them. If we started species-limited schools, would a graduate of an equine school be an equine practitioner or a food-animal practitioner?
Professor C: What about wool production? That's not a food.
Professor B: It is for moths!
Professor C: Very funny.
Professor A: I'm serious. If we limit licensing in the future, who will treat wool-producing sheep? What about llamas? Students study them in exotics, but they are a domestic species.
Terry: May I say something?
All three professors: No!
Professor B: Times change, Terry. It's not like when I was in practice.
Terry: Were you in small-animal practice or large-animal practice?
Professor B: Yes.
Terry: Did your practice include food animals?
Professor B: It was all food animals—if I didn't treat everything, I couldn't afford to eat. I'd often put in 20 hours. It was tough!
Terry: Twenty hours a week? What's tough about that?
Professor B: I meant 20 hours a day.
Terry: Uh, may I go now?
Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practioner. Visit his Web site at www.robertmmiller.com.