Dr Lynne Hepplestone qualified with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree in June 1998 from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort, University Of Pretoria. Lynne practiced for the PDSA in Pimville and Mofolo South, Soweto, for three years before joining a private practice in 2001. Lynne is now part of the five-vet team of Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital as a Small Animal practitioner.
Eight hours per day during the week, every second weekend during consulting hours and then standby for emergencies on the working weekend as well as on standby one night a week.
What does your job entail?
Primary health care of animals: mainly cats and dogs, keeping pets healthy and attending to those that are ill. Routine pet sterilisations and vaccinations, medical treatments, surgical procedures, as well as emergency medical and surgical care.
What are the boring bits?
Quite to the contrary, each working day is a bag of surprises. Veterinary science is never mundane, and with each patient and situation, there is a different challenge and end result. You’re always learning new information about pets, random tidbits like home remedies for fleas on cats, long after completing veterinary school. You have to read up regularly on what’s new, sites like http://reviews.rogerspets.com/5-best-flea-treatment-for-dogs/comfortis/ really help since we’re all so busy, who has time to research on the side.
What are some of the personality attributes required to make a good veterinarian?
Patience, tenacity, focus, courage, humour, balance, hardwork and intelligence. Good people skills are very important and very helpful, and obviously good animal handling skills…
What are the different fields in veterinary practices?
Small animal medicine and surgery
Equine (large animal) medicine and surgery
Production animals (pigs, chickens, sheep, goats and bovine)
Exotics (birds, reptiles, small “furries”)
State Vet (Department of Agriculture)
Where and what did you study for this career?
University of Pretoria – Onderstepoort – Faculty of Veterinary Science.
Bachelor Veterinary Science (BVSc)
What entry-level requirements should I have to qualify to study?
All higher grade subjects, above average grades university exemption and science, mathematics and biology and English as subjects.
Break-down of the subjects I can expect to learn / study:
Physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and toxicology, parasitology, virology, bacteriology, diagnostic imaging (Xrays and ultrasound), ethology, large and small animal medicine and surgery, herd health and public health.
What would be the best way to get started in your field?
There is no internship programme to become a veterinarian. A full BVSc needs to be completed.
What can I expect to earn in this career?
Entry level salaries are dependant on the Veterinary Council recommendation. Current entry level is approximately
R17 000-00 per month. Thereafter salaries are dependent on experience.
What is the market like in terms of jobs and competition?
There are always positions available in the veterinary industry, not only in South Africa, but abroad as well. Specialist veterinarians (i.e. poultry and pig veterinarians) are very sought after as there are very few around.
Any other information you feel teens should know about this career?
Anyone wanting to go into the veterinary field should spend a few days at a veterinary practice to get a feel of the job and the requirements.
Any tips for teens who want to pursue your career?
Study hard and keep your marks above average. Keep your focus, as your determination will go a long way. You’ll never stop learning (and studying).
Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital