Students pursue vet dreams

July 18, 2021

Student Monica Chan had dreamed of a career in medicine for years. After being shown a documentary at school on the 2003 SARS outbreak, she became determined to follow in the footsteps of the brave doctors who had battled the epidemic.


To fulfil her dream of a becoming a doctor, the now 21-year-old studied hard and achieved such good grades in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination that she was offered a place at medical school.


Miss Chan had to take a break from education in her first year of med school due to personal reasons. During that time she took up some animal rescue work - a decision that changed her life.


“I realised in order to heal the world you do not have to necessarily become a human (medicine) doctor. And I knew more about veterinary medicine, and the concept of One Health, which is the connection between the health of animals, humans and the environment. So I was really inspired and I chose veterinary medicine over medicine back then,” she explained.


Right requirements

Miss Chan was accepted onto the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme at City University and is now in her second year of studies. She hopes to focus on human and animal-related infectious diseases in the future and raise awareness of animal rights.


As thousands of secondary school students wait for their exam results, the aspiring vet has some advice for them as they choose their career paths.


“My personal advice is to stick with what you like and your passion, but meanwhile you also have to be realistic. You have to ensure that it is a really rational decision, and you can actually pay for your own rent and pay for everything that you should be responsible for while working towards your goal.”


Well-rounded training

The Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine is a six-year programme. During the first two years of the programme, students primarily focus on biomedical and pre-clinical disciplines that will equip them with the knowledge and understanding required to embark on the para-clinical and clinical curriculum taught afterwards.


Students also gain work and animal handling experience either at the CityU Veterinary Medical Centre or other animal care organisations such as shelters or local farms.


The three-storey centre is equipped with an intensive care unit for animals - the first of its kind in Hong Kong, a cardiology suite, consultation rooms, dedicated operating theatres as well as 24/7 emergency services manned by registered emergency vets.


The centre is also fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment, including a CT scanner, devices for magnetic resonance imaging and endoscopy.


Since 2019, up to 40,000 cats and dogs have been treated at the centre each year.


City University Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine & Life Sciences Dean Prof Nikolaus Osterrieder said the centre not only provides a wide range of clinical services to the public but also equips students with hands on animal handling experience - an integral part of their veterinary education.


“The primary purpose is for the college to teach here in this veterinary medical centre.


“The public benefits in that they can, with their sick pets, come here and get expert veterinary services by the clinicians that are here, but hopefully in the future also by clinicians that are sent from the college to this veterinary medical centre,” Prof Osterrieder added.

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