Veterinary Career Topics -- Being A Vet And A Mom

Pets, kids, spouse, home life .... how does it all fit together?

The forum topic has generated some thoughtful and honest replies; both "yes" and "not quite". I felt that these answers deserved time in the spotlight, so this article is devoted to the various viewpoints of balancing work and career for busy Veterinarian Moms.


From HERRIOTFAN: "I used to have an exclusive house call practice (and really loved it) and I still see some patients once in a while, but I found it nearly impossible to work and be a Mom.

A big part of it is that I don't live in the states, where emergency clinics are available, so referring my patients was not the best option, even though I worked in conjunction with a colleagues' clinic, I was at a loss once the client found the convenience of using it and so I would eventually lose the client (not always, though).

I worked until week 38 into my first pregnancy, and then tried to resume it when my first born was about 5 months or so. Breastfeeding was a big issue, so that made it harder. The point is, and I don't mean to be negative, that IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) combining both means sacrificing part of each: part of being a Mom, and part of being a vet. I feel I can't concentrate on a case when kids are needing me, heck, a phone conversation is difficult enough with kids around! :-).

Veterinary medicine is not an 8 to 5 job, where you can turn off the switch after you leave the clinic.

If there's a case in my mind I will be reading and investigating, and I don't have time for that right now (my sons are 5 years and 2 years 7 months). Also, if there's a case where lab work, surgery, hospitalization or any other procedures that require time, I just can't be sure how long it's going to take (animals can be so unpredictable), and it's very complicated when you have to pick up two kids from school and all the rest of it.

Sorry this is so long, but I've spent a lot of time trying to deal with this, and maybe I'm not helping you much but rather getting things off my chest. On the other hand, I do have colleagues that manage to do both. I admire them, but right now I want to be with my kids. Maybe when they're older I will go back, but right now it's just not happening. I hope you get more positive responses from other Moms who manage to do both. This is just my story (written with a lot of interruptions from my toddler:-)). Good luck on whatever you decide to do."


From ANGIE C.: "Hi there, I am a veterinarian and a divorced mother of three beautiful girls ages 3, 6 and 11. Yes, you can be a mom and a veterinarian. I graduated from vet school in 1998 and the majority of my classmates were women who have since gone on to start families. We all manage our family life in different ways but it is possible to be an involved parent as well as have a career in this field.

I am the owner of my business so I can set my work schedule to allow me to both be available for my girls as well as my patients. I have the advantage of having an emergency practice in my community and associated with my general practice that allows my clients to be served after my regular clinic hours and on weekends.

There are plenty of women in my practice area that work part time as a way to allow them to be both mom and veterinarian."

From LYNASHSCA: "I absolutely agree with HERRIOTTFAN! (first page) I had the same experience with my own vet clinic trying to balance work and 2 children. It has been very difficult because I loved practice and was very attached to both my clients and patients, but had to give it up because I felt I was cheating my children. They wanted to play soccer, dance, join scouts, etc. I couldn't give my all to both and it was sad for me.

But I'm absolutely positive that I made the best decision because my kids are now both nearly grown and I'm very proud of the human beings they have become!

As they got older, though, my husband (a dentist) kept pressuring me to go back into practice full-time. I didn't want to do it because the kids still needed me in high school and college and I honestly didn't want to go back to the stress of full-time practice.

I tried using my degree in different ways: teaching, recruiting, etc, but couldn't make enough money and still control my time. A friend of mine (an MD) introduced me to a business I now work from home and I love it! I can make money and have time for my family... what a concept! I love vet med because of the ongoing relationships with the clients and pets, but I do know that some moms work at emergency clinics just to be at home with kids during the day. Best of luck in your decision!"


From Susan W.: "I am the executive director of a state veterinarians’ association.

Here in Massachusetts (and nationally, to different degrees), we have experienced increasing numbers of part-time veterinarians, most of whom (but not all) are women.

I know of veterinarians working part-time as associates in practices owned by others, as a relief (substitute) veterinarian, as the owner of a mobile veterinary practice, in research, and -- in the least common case -- as a private practice owner. Unfortunately, no one in large animal practice comes to mind, so I’d say that small animal practice or lab/research work would be the most likely options.

The pool of part-time workers makes staffing a practice much more challenging for practice owners, but for the most part the older generation no longer views part-timers as "not dedicated" to the profession.

Also, FYI, there will likely be a minimum hours requirement to qualify for certain fringe employment benefits (especially health insurance).

I believe that you will find the same trend, especially among women with young children, in human pediatric medical practice. I think, though, the trend is stronger in veterinary medicine, perhaps because the profession is increasingly populated by women.

Good luck!"