If you're at all interested in lab animal medicine, Ross University is a very good place to be. Dr. Bradford Goodwin acts as the professional adviser for the RUSVM student chapter of ASLAP (American Society of Lab Animal Practitioners) and teaches two lab animal medicine electives. He also has his fingers in practically every honey pot of the field, has sat on pretty much every influential board within the industry - including for the American College of Lab Animal Medicine board certification exam. He's a very, very good friend to have.
A classmate and I just sat down for a one-on-one powow with him over sushi, asking about externships, residencies, what salary we can expect to make just out of vet school, etc. It was an incredible opportunity. And he reassured us and helped calm our fears quite a bit. I left feeling so much more confident and relieved about my professional future. He's got our back, all the way.
I think it's funny that my classmate and I are both very, very interested in pursuing lab animal medicine and so you'd think we would be fiercely competitive, but we actually want to go into different aspects of the field. She wants to focus on the medical aspect and particularly on primate medicine, whereas I am more of a rodent person and less interested in medicine so much as administration. The funny thing is, I never told Dr. Goodwin that. He totally called it, though. He pointed to me and said, "And this one wants to do admin."
Working in more of an administration capacity means that I'd be doing rounds and treatment less, but I would be the one making the rules, determining protocols, writing the standard husbandry procedures for my facility. In other words, I would be the person who decides how my animals are treated by everyone from the caretaker husbandry staff to the researchers performing the study. That is what I want. I want to have the final say so in the welfare and treatment of animals used in research.
It sucks loving mice and rats and working in research sometimes. Your heart will be broken every day, knowing that they will be euthanized at the end of their study. But people who care, who love these animals, are necessary to make sure that they aren't exploited, suffering or sacrificed unnecessarily. Every time someone asks me, "How can you work with lab animals? Doesn't it upset you? Don't you love animals?" I work in lab animal medicine because I love animals so much that I want to personally make sure that they're given the very best treatment possible.