Patty Khuly writes in today’s USA Today that while the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs features revolting trades, no profession rivals the average veterinarian’s for the variety of revolting, fetid, infectious crap we have to deal with on a daily basis.
Though some have got it bad (consider the hands-on shelter worker or the bovine reproductive specialist) and some manage better than most (the radiologist, perhaps?), we all get treated to a fair bit of repulsive fare whether we like it or not.
As a mixed animal veterinarian in suburbia (dogs, cats, chickens and goats), my work is routinely disgusting. Picking through feces and vomit, for example, figures routinely in my daily
Below are the top 10 most digusting things we veterinarians and veterinary technicians must subject ourselves to.
1. Maggot picking.
This is the worst, so I’ll mention it first just to get it out of the way. In my opinion, wounds infected with maggots rival anything else I have to deal with. It’ll surely put you off rice for at least a month. (If you can stomach this, one the nine that follow are fairly easygoing.)
2. Bovine/equine reproductive examination.
Ahhh … the full-arm rectal of vet school lore. We all have to do it, but I never really minded it. It’s better than standing bare-armed in a three-sided barn when the 10-degree wind blows … though it does take some getting used to.
3. Fecal material sampling.
How many times a day do I stick something up a pet’s bum and then gently prise the stuff onto slides and into plastic containers? Ten? Twenty? Who knows, but it’s gross.
4. Dentistry for severe periodontal disease.
Never underestimate the force with which the foulness of an oral cavity can hit you — across three masks, even. If you need further inducement to consider this the revolting job that it is, factor in the pus, blood and spray of bacterial filth contaminating the air around you. Hence, goggles are a must lest you risk suddenly contracting a novel strain of especially aggressive pink eye.
There’s more. I sent the story to a veterinarian colleague, who said her personal favorite was looking through dog vomit for all the stuff the dog ate. … did he puke up all the pieces of the tennis ball (and puzzling the slimy pieces back together to find out) or is there still some in there?
She also said she loves her job.