Why you should Study Veterinary Medicine

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Dear Daktari, I sat my KCSE exams this year and I have just received my results and I am happy that I passed and will be joining the University. I wish to join the University of Nairobi to study Veterinary medicine. I am an ardent reader of your articles. In short I want to study veterinary medicine. What should I prepare for and what should I expect?

Augustine Mark M’ndaka, Tharaka Nithi County

Thanks so much, I am humbled to learn that I have inspired you to choose veterinary medicine at the University from reading my articles and congratulations for passing your exams with flying colors. It is a great pleasure to answer your question on a day that the world is marking the important role played by veterinarians in the world.

The Kenya Veterinary Association is marking this day by having a field day at Karagita in Naivasha subcounty on April 30th during which veterinarians will do free vaccination of dogs against rabies, deworm livestock, and carry out surgeries and farmer education. The 2022 World Veterinary Day will celebrate efforts from veterinarians, veterinary associations and other stakeholders to strengthen veterinary resilience and bring attention to this important cause

Why you should study veterinary medicine

I have never regretted studying veterinary medicine inasmuch as I did not know much about it at the point of choosing it – this was mainly inspired by the love of animals and the need to take care of them. Studying veterinary medicine is not easy because you are studying to understand many animal patients whom you do not share a language. Human doctors have the advantage of talking with their “one” client (human) and therefore benefiting from historical knowledge which is important in making a diagnosis. A vet has to crack this, diagnose a sickness and treat a myriad of species. Nonetheless I am yet to hear about a profession that is so satisfying to practice as veterinary medicine.

By preventing and treating animal diseases you not only save animal but also human live considering the many diseases shared between man and animals (Zoonotic diseases). You safeguard the public health, it does not stop there; veterinary medicine is not just about treating sick animals. Veterinarians also carry out other animal husbandry activities like breeding and therefore increasing the productivity of animals. Further as a veterinary doctor you can specialize in research. Many vets today are working with drug companies to develop drugs, vaccines and in the design of many other diagnostics both for humans and animals.

Veterinary medicine was once only taught at the University of Nairobi but recently Egerton University has started training veterinary medicine. The veterinary medicine course takes five academic years and it is a rigorous but a very enriching course that widens your knowledge scope. After graduating from vet school you can effortlessly take on another course; veterinary medicine is amenable to many other courses. You caYn proceed to study human medicine, communication, project management just to mention a few and you will be a master in multi-disciplinary approach and occupy a coveted niche.

(Dr. Othieno is a veterinary surgeon and currently the head of communications at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kenya. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of FAO but his own)

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