Bonjour everyone! My name is Alexandra and I am a vet from France. I am a first-year MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour student on the remote learning programme.
I live in Lille (North of France). I work full time as a vet in a general practice clinic but 50% of my time is dedicated to behaviour referrals (mostly dogs and cats). I was very looking forward to this takeover! I thought it would be fun to share what a normal week looks like for me, as I am personally always very curious to learn how things are in different countries and locations. Please message me if you have any questions on the MSc, remote learning or any other subjects! Oh and please forgive my french. As many of us on the MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour - I think - I work full time. I thought I would share how I organize my week as this was a bit of a concern for me before starting!
- On Mondays am-pm and Tuesdays am I work on the MSc (either the lectures or the assessments)
- On Tuesdays afternoon I indulge in some me Time: I go for a long walk with my cavalier or go thrift shopping for example (most of the Time both)
- On Wednesdays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - and on 1/4 Sundays I work at the clinic
- Whatever's left I chill at home, usually with a good book.
Today I thought I would explain my journey to the MSc and how a french girl ends up studying Clinical Animal Behaviour. I started by studying humane medicine and changed for vet school after an incident during which my cavalier Marlowe got hurt. I realised how much distressed I felt because of the situation and that made me understand that I could actually help humans by taking care of their companion animals. After two years in I moved from the city to the countryside and once again it is because of Marlowe that I began to wonder about companion animals welfare, the impact of the environment on their behaviour, etc.
Once I decided I wanted to work in animal behaviour I started looking for specialists that could accompany me towards that goal. In 2019 I started working with Dr Gérard Muller, DVM and ECAWBM (boarded specialist). It has been such an amazing experience for me. He retired last December and I took over his clientele. I cannot lie, it has been a dream come true. So I started working with one of our french boarded specialists and later that same year I went to Lincoln, UK for 2 months. As part of my final year in vet school, I worked at the behavioural clinic in Lincoln. It was so interesting and full of information - so different than our french approach to Behaviour - that 2 months wasn't enough. It confirmed my idea to start an MSc once I graduated from vet school.
A vet at work! 3.5 days a week I'm at our clinic both as a behaviourist and as a vet. I do referral consults but also vaccinations, blood samples, etc. It's pretty fun to be able to see kittens, puppies, lots of clients! On a regular week, I have between 3 and 8 Behaviour consults. I am pretty happy that we try to provide a fear-free environment for the animals.
What does the future hold? I was asked on my own account how long does it take to specialize in behaviour as a vet. I would say it depends. The MSc in Clinical Animal behaviour takes 3 years minimum to complete. I got in right after graduating from vet school. In France, there are other roads to becoming a behaviourist vet. Some take 2 years to complete but are only a total of six weeks of training. Some three, etc I went with the MSc because I was eager to learn more quickly about the anglo-Saxon approach. And then of course there is the European College of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine. That's the only option in France if you want to be referred to as a 'specialist'.
Goodbye and thank you for this week! I was really glad to have the opportunity to share little bits of my everyday life as a vet, a behaviourist and a student!
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