|Peter Jinman is a vet who lives and work
in Herefordshire, in the west of England.
What made you decide to become a vet?
I was always interested in animals and originally when
I was at school, I was hoping to become a zoologist.
I wanted to study animals and their behaviour. And because
my father was working at a university at the time, I
said to him, 'Do you know anybody there that I can go
and talk to in the zoology department?' and he arranged
for me to meet the Professor of Zoology, and I went
to the university and he said to me, 'Do you want to
teach?' and I said, 'No, I don't think l do.' He said,
'Well, 80% of the people who do the zoology course teach.
Have you ever thought of being a vet?' And I thought
that's a rather good idea.
Do you prefer treating farm animals
Personally I'm, I do probably a little bit more with
the farm work but I don't mind, I like treating them
all. I like being involved with them all. And I'm in
general practice, so I don't have a specialization in
one particular species or one particular discipline
So why do you tend to prefer farm animals?
I quite like meeting the people on the farm, I'm living
in the countryside, where we are today, in this surgery,
we're right in a little village in the countryside on
the border of England and Wales and if you look around
and look out there, you'd understand why it's nice to
be able to go round and drive round a bit of that country
and see the animals there.
What's the most difficult animal to
It's surprising what people turn up with in the surgery.
So some time, most of the animals that we would see
belong to a certain group, say dogs, cats, maybe rabbits,
guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets. But now we're starting
to see cameloids. That is llamas - certainly we've got
llamas locally - and other members of that same group.
Those suddenly present a challenge because you're looking
at an animal that you haven't really dealt with and
is different because every species is different.
Even within a species, we sometimes
have variations between breeds. So the most difficult
is really just one that you're not used to and you
suddenly find yourself thinking, 'What are the peculiarities,
what's the anatomy, what's the anatomical variation,
how will particular medicines react, what is the dosage?'
And you sincerely hope that either you've got a book
or there's something somewhere or somebody you can
ring up and find out. But I can assure you that when
somebody brought a tarantula spider in one day, I
did have a moment there where I thought to myself,
'Now what are we going to do with that?' It's the
dreaded cardboard box. Somebody comes in with a little
cardboard box and they put it down very proudly on
the table and you're waiting in expectation and then
they open it up and you look at it and go, 'Ah, very
interesting. Now what is that?'
What do you think is the most intelligent
animal of all the ones you treat?
I suppose when we're dealing with intelligence it's
a question that you can have intelligent animals within
a particular species. So I've met some extremely intelligent
dogs, particularly collies, working collies. "They
are amazing, how they get the sheep in, how they sort
them out or work with the cattle. Marvellous! People
always say pigs are very intelligent and I had a professor
at college who always maintained that why do we keep
dogs and cats; we should keep pigs as pets. He reckoned
they were very clean and they were wonderful animals
to have as a pet - highly intelligent.
What's the best and worst thing about
I think the best is always birth. It doesn't matter
what species, birth is brilliant, amazing every time
it happens, one marvels at it, whatever the species.
I suppose the worst is always having to put an animal
down, put it to sleep.