Lingokids: Growin’ Up - Professions & Jobs for Kids

How to Become a Vet and Treat Rhinos, Giraffes, and Other Animals

December 16, 2022 Host: Emily Calandrelli. Guest: Dr Michael Lazaris. Story by Sabrina Walasek. Sound Design: Juan Delgado. Season 1 Episode 16
Lingokids: Growin’ Up - Professions & Jobs for Kids
How to Become a Vet and Treat Rhinos, Giraffes, and Other Animals
Show Notes Transcript

Do you know why pigs need to roll around in the mud? 🐷 Or what to watch out for when playing with a dog? 🐶 Michael the Vet is here to answer all of our questions.
Join us as our host Emily Calandrelli chats with a real vet about how amazing it is to work with animals, and about all the gross and fun things you get to experience as a vet!
Discover fun activities and songs that will teach your child all about collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication in the Lingokids app! 💙

Speaker: Lingokids.

Speaker: When I grow up, I want to be a vet.

Speaker: What does being a veterinarian mean to you?

Speaker: Giving dogs flea medicine.

Speaker: Our vet helped our cat have her babies.


Speaker: When I grow up.

Speaker: Want to be a pilot with a uniform white, always flying high up in the sky.

Speaker: When I grow up.

Speaker: Want to be a firefighter putting out flames or maybe a police officer keeping people safe. It's so fun to learn what you can be.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: When I grow up.

Speaker: Want to be an artist that paints board tricks. Want to be a scientist that does experiments. Oh, so many people you will meet.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Hi. Welcome to Growing Up with Emily, a Lingokids podcast, helping amazing kids to grow up and be even more amazing. Emily, it's me. As a kid, I was always asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? I wanted to be so many things. Does that sound familiar? Then I am glad you are listening because you are going to find out what it takes to be anything you want. Are you ready to make helping animals your superpower?

Speaker: Yes.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Longokids.

Speaker: Last episode, we met an award-winning TV celebrity chef Andrew Zimmer. Today, we're showing up for a medical emergency for a pig.

Speaker: A pig?

Speaker: That's right. We better hoof it down this country road.


Speaker: Today, we're going to meet Dr. Michael Lazarus, a vet who grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, surrounded by all sorts of animals. He has a passion for spreading awareness about animal welfare.

Speaker: Growing up. Growing up.

Speaker: Phew. That was a long country road.

Speaker: I'm sweating like a pig. Wait, do pigs sweat?

Speaker: Not much. Let's slow down and walk through the garden. We can pick strawberries to feed the pigs.

Speaker: I love farms. So many different animals living together.

Speaker: Oh, yes. Cows, pigs, chickens, and humans must take good care of their barnyard buddies. That's where a veterinarian comes in. In 1879, the United States opened the first public veterinary medical school at Iowa State University. Back then, most vets were men who worked with farm animals. Today, there are less farms and more pets. Now, 8 out of 10 vets are women. Vets are in high demand. Guess how many veterinary colleges there are in the US today?

Speaker: Well, there are 50 states, so I'm going to guess 50.

Speaker: Close. Currently, there are only 32. Getting into veterinary school is hard.

[rooster crowing]

Speaker: As hard as that rooster is on my ears, he's leaving the chicken coop.

Speaker: How do chickens bake a cake?

Speaker: I know. How?

Speaker: They start from scratch. [chuckles] Get it? Chickens like to scratch.


Speaker: [unintelligible 00:03:53] laid eggs.

Speaker: Hey, some are blue, brown, and even pink.

Speaker: A chicken's feathers come in all different colors, so do their eggs. The white eggs you see at the store come from hens with white feathers. Let's go find out how things are going with the vet and the sick pig.

Speaker: Where are the pigs?

Speaker: In the barn. Let's head over. [music] That's his truck. The license plate says, "Vet Lazarus."

Speaker: The pigs are so cute. Look at their piggly-wiggly tails.

[pigs oinking]

Speaker: Pigs show emotions just like dogs. They're very smart and those tails wag when you pet them or feed them. Basically, when they're excited. Let's give them the strawberries. Ready? 1, 2, 3.

Speaker: They're as happy as a pig in mud except they're not in mud right now. [laughs]

Speaker: Their mud puddle is outside and it's important for pigs to wallow in mud.

Speaker: Really?

Speaker: Yes, sir. It acts like a sunblock. Mud also helps them get rid of parasites, like lice and ticks.

Speaker: Oh, just like chickens, they cover themselves in dust from the ground.

Speaker: Exactly. Plus rolling around in the mud is a fun way to socialize. Even though they love the mud, pigs are actually clean and tidy creatures.

Speaker: These pigs sure don't look sick to me.

Speaker: The farmer is keeping the sick pig apart from the others. Some illnesses can spread quickly. Just like a cold or a flu can spread in your family. For a farmer that can be big trouble. Let's go to the other pen. I bet we'll find the vet there.

Speaker: There he is. The pig is lying on her side.

Speaker: He's probably giving her antibiotics for an infection. Hopefully, that will fix her up. Are you ready to meet a real veterinarian?

Speaker: Yes.

Speaker: Yes.

Speaker: Hi, there, Dr. Lazarus. I'm with Lingokids. We want to find out what it takes to be a veterinarian. Can we ask some questions?

Speaker: Yes, go ahead.

Speaker: Great. To start with, can you tell us three things that all veterinarians need?

Speaker: Okay. Well, I think the most obvious one is veterinarians have to love animals. You're going to be working with them every single day. You have to love even the ones that don't love you, ones that want to maybe bite you or are scared of you, you have to love all of them the same. You also have to be very good with people because when you go to treat an animal, you also have to talk to the person that owns the animal. The final thing is you have to be okay with dealing with gross things like blood, poo, and doing surgery because you get to do all of that as well. There's a lot of poo and animal wee [chuckles] every single day. All those kinds of smutty things, you have to be okay with dealing with that as well.

Speaker: Really interesting, Dr. Lazarus. We also received some excellent questions from our Lingokids listeners.

Speaker: Dr. Lazarus, what is the strangest animal you've helped?

Speaker: A few years ago, I went to Africa to a game reserve. I got to deal with all sorts of animals there. Lions, giraffes, rhinos, ostriches, all these wild animals that you see on tv. That was really amazing and that's something that you get to do once you go to vet school as well. You can go to work experience in Africa.

Speaker: What's the weirdest thing you've had to treat?

Speaker: I think every day you'll find something weird to treat if you're a vet, but one of them that I see fairly often and it's something I just don't understand is that some dogs like to eat their own poo. [chuckles] The owners come in and they say, "I don't know what to do. Every time he poos, he tries to eat it." I think that's disgusting, that's gross. I would say that's the weirdest, the most gross thing that we have to treat sometimes.

Speaker: Dr. Lazarus, my dad says I shouldn't run after dogs in the park even though they seem friendly. Why shouldn't I?

Speaker: Because sometimes dogs can be afraid of kids. If kids don't know, then the dogs can try and bite them. We always have to make sure we know what we're doing before we pet a dog. One of the most important things is if you see someone walking their dog, maybe ask them, "Hello, can I pet your dog? Is he friendly?" One of the other things you can look out for is the way that they're looking at you. Are their ears nice and normally upright or are their ears low or back? That can mean maybe that they're a bit scared of you. Sometimes they might lift their lips and they go like this to show their teeth. That means that they're trying to be aggressive, but they're not going to necessarily bite you, but they're saying, "Don't come near me, I'm afraid. If you do come near me, maybe I will bite."

Speaker: How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a vet?

Speaker: I was about six years old when I wanted to become a vet. That's because my parents allowed me to have lots and lots of pets. My favorite thing is looking after them.

Speaker: You still had to go to the vet with them?

Speaker: Obviously, we had to go to the vet a lot with them for their vaccinations every single year, for their parasite treatments, for any time that they were sick. I asked my vet, I said, "I want to be like you. Can I come and do some work experience with you?" He was like, "Yes, of course." He was very excited to have me there. It was great. I spent every day just seeing what he gets to do and all the different animals that he could treat. I also spent some time on a farm where they have cows for milk. That was really fun. I got to go and see how they get the milk from the cows and then how it goes into the factory. That ends up in our supermarkets. That was really interesting.

Speaker: What do you like best about being a vet?

Speaker: What I love the most is that every single day you don't know what's going to come through the doors and what to expect. Just because you could be treating anything from a 6-week-old puppy to a 15-year-old cat to a cockatoo or maybe a big steak. All these different animals have different problems and it's like a big puzzle. You don't know how to start away to begin, but then when you do treat the animal and you make them feel better, that's the best feeling in the world.

Speaker: When our cat, Lordis passed away, I was very, very sad for a very long time. Are you sad when you let go of a pet in your clinic?

Speaker: It's always sad when you have to-- The way we call it is we put an animal to sleep. What we always have to remember is the reason why we're doing that. Many times animals will be in pain, so there'll be something that makes them unwell. When we do put them to sleep, that means we're taking away the pain and we're taking away any suffering. When you think of it that way, it does make you feel better about what you're doing and you're actually doing something good. Although we're going to miss our pets and we're going to miss having them every single day in our life, we know that we made the right decision for them to make their life better.

Speaker: Thank you, Dr. Lazarus. Makes me feel a little better. Is there a big difference between being a pet doctor or a doctor for people?

Speaker: Some things are the same, but with an animal, they won't tell you what's wrong or where it hurts. Whereas if I hurt my elbow, I would go to my doctor and say, "Doctor, my elbow is sore." He would look at my elbow and say, "Let's take an x-ray." Whereas with a dog or a cat, they're not going to say anything, but they will start showing some different signs. You have to be very good at observing and very good at watching the animal and then think, "That's funny. The cat's now doing this, so maybe it's something to do with its stomach or maybe it's something to do with its paw." You become very good at observing things and putting pieces of a puzzle together. When it comes down to illnesses and treating diseases and surgeries, they can be quite similar.

Speaker: Wow. Thanks for sharing with us. Dr. Lazarus, what can kids do now while they're still growing up to become a vet?

Speaker: I would say ask your parents if you can have a pet because that will allow you to learn about animals and learn about the responsibility to look after animals, which is very important. You have to be the one to feed them and if they're sick, you have to be the one to take them to the vet. Having pets really helps. Also when you go to school and you start learning science because if you have a good understanding, a good knowledge of science, then that can help you as a vet when you're older. I would also say when you take your pets to the vet, maybe ask your mom if you can do a day working at the vets if you can go and watch some surgeries or watch how they look after the animals. That can help you see if that's what you really want to do.

Speaker: After today, I think I might want a pet pig.


Speaker: We hope you've enjoyed this episode of the Growing Up Podcast. Even if you never plan to be a veterinarian, you can still discover the joys of loving and caring for a living creature, even if it's just a little lizard. Tune in next time when we meet a real dairy farmer.

Speaker: To live a full interactive learning adventure, check out our Lingokids app with tons of games and activities for endless fun.


Speaker: It's so fun to learn what you can be.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Come and join us. Come, everyone, so we can learn while having lots of fun because it's so fun to learn what you can be. Yes, it's so fun to learn what you can be.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Lingokids.

[00:14:51] [END OF AUDIO]