Animal Health is not just about the wellbeing of pets but also deeply interconnected to public health and wellbeing of our society through poultry farm animal health !
Megha Wilson, our next pathbreaker, Veterinarian and Farm Management Consultant, works for a “first of its kind” government project in Kerala, in charge of monitoring 100 poultry farms for flock health or symptoms of an outbreak.
Megha talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about being more interested in the clinical side of veterinary sciences, and choosing Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology and Obstetrics that would be helpful for both farmers and livestock.
For students, there is a huge difference between liking animals and being passionate about them, because its not an easy job to treat voiceless patients suffering from diseases, infections or maggot infestation !
Megha, tell us about Your background?
I grew up in Kozhikode, Kerala.I was an average student in my school. My father, C.V Wilson is a businessman, and my mother, Sini Wilson is a homemaker.I have a brother, Mehal Wilson who is a mechanical engineer.I am married to Rince M Paulose who is also a mechanical engineer.
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I appeared for the state medical entrance exam after my twelfth standard. I opted for Veterinary Science (BVSc and AH), which is an abbreviation for Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry. You can also write an all India veterinary exam, which I was not aware of at that time.
Since I understood that I was more interested in the clinical side of veterinary sciences, I chose Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology and Obstetrics for my post graduation
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
I always had a pet in my life either a dog, rabbit, or a hamster. So it was easy for me to choose veterinary science as I had always had a passion for animals. But to be frank, medicine was my first priority, as it is for many indians.
I had taken my pet to a nearby veterinary hospital where the vet who was in charge was a lady. She was so nice to my dog, which made me think about choosing a career in veterinary medicine.
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted?
I couldn’t clear the medical entrance. I didn’t want to be a Dentist, or be in Ayurveda or Homeo. So I chose veterinary where I could treat and help speechless patients
I got the merit cum means scholarship which is a state scholarship organised by a regional newspaper to their readers
I did a 6 month Internship after 4.5 years of academics. This included 3 months of rural and urban posting in veterinary hospitals.
I spent the next three months in various farms around the state and a week in the Thiruvananthapuram zoo.
I worked for one year and half after that. One year as veterinary surgeon and 6months as research assistant.
As a veterinary surgeon, my major field of work was in diagnosing, treating, surgeries etc. I mainly had to deal with small animals like dogs, cats, goats, poultry and a few cases of pigs and cows. Main surgeries that I performed were tumour removal surgeries, animal birth control surgeries and caesarean section operations.
After that, I worked as a research assistant for an AICRP (All India Coordinated Research Project) project in college for a while. There I was monitoring the feed conversion of piglets
The main idea of these experiences was to evaluate my interests and identify where I wanted to work. That is the beauty of the course itself. We could experiment with different fields within the subject
I did my post graduation 1.5 years after my graduation. It was in Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology and Obstetrics. I chose this subject because gynaecology of animals (birth, neonatal care, artificial insemination) has great importance in veterinary medicine as most of the animals are reared for livelihood means and I felt that focusing on something like that would be helpful for both farmers and animals. Majority of the complications i deal with are gynaecology related (Pregnancy diagnosis is something a veterinarian expects on a daily basis) and dystocia (Difficulty in giving birth) is another major case that we attend to on a regular basis. The scope of the subject is vast as it begins from pregnancy diagnosis, birth, neonatal care to biotechnological applications like IVF and embryo transfer.
How did you get your first break?
I was posted as a veterinary surgeon on contract the next month after my convocation. Working for a few months there made me realise that I should do a post graduation in the subject. In fact I chose a clinical subject as I knew that I am good in it after working there. As there are nearly 19 major subjects in veterinary science it was difficult to select one.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
Diagnosis of a disease is a major constraint as the patient cannot speak. It takes a really good effort to diagnose the problem correctly.
I try to ask all questions possible to the pet parent and make sure that I haven’t missed anything. It is quite an effort as majority of the symptoms don’t seem important to the owner
Tell us what you do currently?
Currently, I work for a government project in Kerala. It is the first of its kind of project to ensure quality chicken meat to the consumer at a reasonable rate.
What problems do you solve?
I am in charge of 100 farms in different districts of Kerala. I monitor these farms for any diseases.
What skills are needed for your role? How did you acquire the skills?
I need to be alert regarding any changes in behaviour of the flock because only a slight change in behaviour itself may be a symptom of a grave outbreak
I typically visit nearly 6-7 farms a day and monitor them
What is it you love about this job?
I love the fact that I can treat animals and can also ensure food safety to the public
How does your work benefit society?
I play a key role in ensuring flock health and food safety.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
I had treated a puppy who was in a very serious (literally “death bed”) condition. But, the very next day, the puppy was standing and I was so happy to see him. He was jumping in joy seeing me, wagging his tail and licking me all over
Your advice to students based on your experience?
You can be successful in this career only if you are passionate about animals.There is a huge difference between liking animals and being passionate about them. Many of you may like animals, but you may not be presented with patients who are fluffy and cute as you see in advertisements. They may be suffering from disease, maggot affected or decaying. The best reward you can get is seeing them love and respect you back once they are all good to go.
I would like to take up a career in clinical practice and start a private clinic of my own