How do you herd and prepare 25 calves for vaccination?
What should you do if an upset horse charges you?
What technology is available for diabetic dogs?
For Jacqueline Durant, vital questions like these are just another day on the job.
Through Missouri State’s pre-vet program, she’s moving closer toward her childhood dream.
“Being a veterinarian is something I’ve wanted since I was 5 years old,” Durant said. “I want to do everything – large, exotic and small animals.”
Growing up around animals and becoming a Bear
Durant’s father was a police officer for over 30 years. He spent several years as a canine handler.
“I saw how police dogs can help society,” Durant said. “It made me want to help animals because they help us so much.”
Durant picked Missouri State because of her older sister’s experiences, and the pre-vet program.
“My sister went there for nursing and loved the campus,” Durant said. “I got to visit her and see the college experience before I went.”
“I love going to my classes at Darr Center and Pinegar Arena. Everyone has smiling faces. It makes you want to be a student here, because of how welcoming it is.”
“MSU had so many great things to offer from their pre-vet program that a lot of other schools didn’t,” Durant said.
Durant lives off-campus but never feels left out.
“I love the teachers. They never hesitate to ask questions or ask if you need help,” Durant said. “I feel very comfortable being able to go up and talk to them, after hours, or just emailing them. I don’t live on campus, but I can ask them, ‘Hey, can you do a Zoom call?’ And they’re glad to set that up.”
Job shadowing other veterinarians
Many MSU pre-vet students work or intern at local veterinary hospitals while in school.
Durant is one of them.
At Fair Grove Veterinary Service, she handles a variety of animals and job duties as an assistant.
She works with cats and dogs, larger animals like horses and cows, plus exotics such as snakes, parrots and hedgehogs.
Durant starts appointments, helps with vaccinations, injections and blood work, and provides extra support during surgeries and procedures.
“The doctors here are great,” Durant said. “They all have different mindsets and different ways to approach things. It’s really cool I get to incorporate that into my job(s) and learn all these different ways you can take care of animals.”
The workplace can get emotional.
Durant recalled the time she helped euthanize a horse – and got a pop quiz in animal behavior.
“There were two other horses and I don’t know if they got upset or what, but they started charging toward us after we put their friend down,” Durant said. “I didn’t know what to do, because I never had horses of my own. One of the doctors calmed me down and said, ‘Take a deep breath. They’re not going to hurt you. You just have to be calm because they can sense how you’re feeling, too.’
“It was nice having an experienced doctor by my side.”
Durant has used blood glucose readers to monitor diabetic dogs.
She’s helped puppies with parvovirus recover from the brink of death.
“It’s a gruesome disease,” Durant said. “There’s only a 50-50 chance they’ll live. But seeing these young puppies go from almost dying to bright and alert again, it’s very rewarding.”
Next stop: veterinary school
Thanks to dual credit she earned in high school, Durant is on track to complete her bachelor’s degree in just three years.
She plans to apply to veterinary schools at Mizzou, Oklahoma State and Iowa State.
At veterinary school, she’ll pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, which helps her become a veterinarian.
“The thought of not succeeding is scary, but I’m doing everything I can to make myself look better as an applicant and a well-rounded veterinarian.”