What makes an 8 year old girl decide she wants to become a veterinarian?
Standing there with this dying little bird in my hands, without a clue what’s wrong with it nor what to do to help. Watching this baby calf being pulled out with brutal force of a cow wide-eyed with pain and anxiety at my great uncle’s farm. Crying over the body of my dying little dog who was just run over by a careless driver in the middle of my village, the local vet’s words ringing in my ears – “Is it able to get up? No? Then there is no point in me wasting my time, call a hunter to shoot it.”
Clearly not my idea of caring and healing. Conveniently, my mother’s cousin was a hunter and could be called in such distressful moments to bring a pet’s suffering to a peaceful end, but I still decided I wanted to become a veterinarian who made greater efforts in healing animals and caring about people than our local vet. I never changed my mind since then, and I have never regretted it for a single moment. Although I have spent the majority of my professional life in research and development of pharmaceutical products, the fascination of understanding how bodies function and what makes them ill and the comforting idea of being able to do something about it has never left me. Even the knowledge that I can’t do anything to heal an animal is comforting, because at least I don’t have to have a bad conscience about being ignorant.
I have met many other veterinarians during my career and have found that this common theme of knowledge about health and illness and the fascination of healing unites all of us around the globe, not only on World Veterinary Day.
This year’s World Veterinary Day is focusing on Vector-borne diseases with Zoonotic potential. Vector-borne zoonotic diseases are becoming a major public health concern in fact scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. At GALVmed, we work on a number of zoonotic diseases not only to protect livestock from these diseases but humans as well.