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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Veterinary is far from a childhood dream, and you must be ready to face reality’

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with veterinary med student, Maeva Rouyer (26) in this week’s Student Focus series, in the second of her two-part interview. You can read the first part of her interview in this link.

“If you want to study veterinary medicine, I strongly recommend completing different internships before and talking with different veterinary students or veterinarians.

Many students realise during their studies that the profession is not for them and that it does not correspond to their expectations.

Many think of becoming a vet practitioner but finally change their minds before the end of their studies.

Veterinary is far from a childhood dream, and you must be ready to face reality and agree this.

In the event that you are lost, that you think your results are insufficient to enter veterinary school, do not lose hope.

First, ask yourself if this is the job you want to do. Then find out about the different schools, the different possible paths, even if you must go abroad for that.


With my background in horse management study, I was far from being able to enter a veterinary school one day. But with research and being surrounded by the right people, and a lot of work, I ended up getting there.

Of course, I am not telling you that the path is easy. It can be filled with disappointment and moments of doubt. But it is worth it if that is what you want.

Even if it was hard, and today it is also hard being far from the people I love, I would not change my choices at all.

All my decisions make me who I am today. I want to be a vet firstly because I want to have the opportunity to help animals who need it, to reduce suffering, to be able to recognise what is wrong and to have the opportunity to act for the well-being of the animal. It is true that in movies, the power to heal is incredible.

I do not have the power to cure all diseases, unfortunately, but being able to improve a life or save one is like having a little bit of this power. Then, many of the health problems of our animals are often due to captivity.

Man has decided to influence the life of the animal, so it is normal for me to make it as comfortable as possible.

Finally, even the veterinarians have less and less recognition from the owners; I am happy to tell myself that a ‘member of their family’ will be able to return with them.


Once I graduate, I plan with my boyfriend to go to Canada for one year, where he will work as an agriculturalist, and I will undertake a horse veterinary Internship.

I have an interview this summer with a clinic in collaboration with a Canadian Veterinary University, and if that does not go to plan, I will apply for different internships in Canada or in France.

After it, I would like to apply for a residency in equine internal medicine, but it will depend on my familial and financial situation.

We never know what can happen. I will be 27-years-and-half once I graduate, and I am thinking about this speciality because I would like to work with critical cases and life-threatening patients that need strong veterinary care.

In addition, it also included neonatology (medicine for the newborn) which is a part of the medicine that I like a lot.

Besides all that, I have plenty of other long-term project ideas, like supporting my partner in a poultry breeding project.


In summary, my life as a veterinary student is about revising and revising.

I have moments of doubt, of questioning because sometimes the stress prevails.

But in the end, once I passed exams, I was so relieved and proud of myself. Then, I do not miss an opportunity to go practice at the equine clinic to remind myself why I do all this work.

If you want something, whether it is becoming a veterinarian or whatever, do not be discouraged.

If, unfortunately, after trying all the options, it was not possible, you will know that you will have tried everything, and new great opportunities will be offered to you.”

To share your story, email – [email protected]

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