Q&A: Human Doctor Turned Veterinarian: The Switch from MD to DVM


I am a 34 year old female doctor. I am a radiology fellow currently…having slogged for the last 10 years through medical training. I really always wanted to be a vet but did not go for it as I am allergic to horses. I studied medicine at Cambridge in the UK and was always jealous of the vet students… over the years I have tried to convince myself that pets can just be a hobby but I hate human medicine and really care passionately about animals. Now I am trying to pluck up the courage to start all over again… how old will you be when you finish vet school? how much extra internship training is there afterwards?

Any comments appreciated





Hi MD (coincidentally your initials and your profession!)

I’m so sorry to hear that the human medical profession is not providing you with the job satisfaction you desire. You’re not the only person to consider (or make) the switch between human medicine and veterinary medicine. In fact, the Class of 2015 at UC Davis has an MD in their class, so know you’re not alone and it can be done!

While the bad news is that there is more schooling ahead for you if you proceed with the switch, there is a lot of good news! To begin, you have already survived medical school, boards, etc – you know you’re competent and you will have that much easier of a time in vet school because many of the things you will learn will be similar to what you learned in medical school. Admissions wise, you’re likely to stick out like a neon flag given that you are already a doctor, so you’ve got a good chance of admittance! And one of the best pieces of information I can offer is that, unlike human medicine, veterinarians are able to practice as soon as they graduate (so long as they have passed boards and are licensed). There are no internships or residencies required. Should you decide to specialize, you can go that route and it would be another 4-5 years but it is by no means a requirement!

Hope that helps and good luck with your decision!

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