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Leonie is a Veterinarian who currently specialises in the treatment of small animals.

What does a Veterinarian do?

There is a large range of skills that are required and hence a wide variety of types of vets. From the common small animal (pet) vet to a mixed practice farm vet, zoo vet, research and development of pet food or medicines, teaching at universities, working in diagnostic laboratories or for the government concerning export of animals. A vet can remain a 'jack-of-all trades' or specialise into one field. And, either you can work 9-5 and wear make-up or get really, really dirty at 2am in the morning!

What are your main responsibilities?

At the moment I am a small animal vet. This means doing consultations with owners and their pets, treating hospitalised patients and performing surgery.

What does a typical day involve?

A day may be made up of seeing 15 consultations, four surgeries, treating all in-patients, taking phone enquiries, writing up case histories, and seeing emergencies in between. No day is predictable.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Being thanked sincerely for what I have done, and having clients remember me long after I have left.

What is the most challenging part?

The long days (up to 14hrs) with no lunch break, and the after-hours if the clinic does them. Also the difficulties with client communication.

What been your best on the job experience?

Assisting a calving easily (cow having a calf) in front of a group of three burly blokes who had all tried and failed (NB I weigh 55kg and am female).

How did you get into the industry?

Completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science Degree.

What kind of training did you do?

Finished year 12 did, one year of Bachelor of Science, before transferring into Bachelor of Veterinary Science at The University of Melbourne. From year 10 to the end of the vet degree, lots and lots and lots of clinical work placements.

What type of person is suited to this job?

Someone who is outgoing, talkative, willing to communicate with all sorts of people and has a strong sense of self. You have to be able to be forthright but understanding at the same time. You also have to love getting dirty.

What’s your advice for teens who want to get into this industry?

Do lots of work experience in different types of clinics i.e. mixed country and city. Develop your people skills and remember that though you are treating a pet, it's the owner that you have to communicate with through the whole case.