Dr. Ewey was born in central valley in a the city of Atwater, CA. Growing up he never owned a dog or had a pet but was always interested in animals. He drew illustrations of animals , read and even watched shows about animals. He did not really know what he wanted to do in the future, but knew that it was definitely going to be something animal related. He decided to apply to UC Davis during his senior year of high school and was accepted.
2. Pre-vet Experience UCD
As an undergrad student, he majored in zoology (not a major at davis anymore) and had an emphasis in ecology and animal behavior. However, because he came into college with no animal experience whatsoever, David decided to go out there and grabbed any opportunity he got. He volunteered at the raptor rescue center, worked at the primate center and hog barn, and even worked in the pathology department. But what got him interested in going to vet school was the pre-vet summer enrichment program he attended. (For more info on the program click here). And after applying for vet school he was accepted into the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
3. Vet School Life
In the beginning, Dr. Ewey was interested in the wildlife track for vet school, but soon changed his mind. During the summer enrichment program he had participated in, he was advised to get some experience with food animals which would help him get started with the wildlife track. From there he decided to try working with cattle and showed a strong interest in dairy cattle and bovine immunology. While in vet school, he also became a pre-vet advisor, worked with the minority student outreach group, and was on the vet school admissions committee.
4. Dairy Practice
After graduating for vet school, Ewey got a job in Tulare, CA working as a veterinarian for diary cattle. At first he wanted to pursue a job related to disease control, but decided to go to Tulare for some more experience. While working at the dairy, he performed a lot surgeries on the cattle and worked with a few horses and small ruminants.
5. Small Animal Practice
Although Ewey loved working with cattle, he switched to working at a small animal practice after moving back to Davis. He definitely noticed a big difference between working in a small animal practice versus working with dairy cattle. For instance, in food animal medicine you do not have anyone to assist you, sometimes you do not even get light, and you have to on the ground to really help the animals out. This is the total opposite of a small animal practice where you have a vet tech to assist you and other resources to use. From working at the small animal practice, he really learned how to work with clients and staff.
6. USDA- Vet Services
After his experience with small animals, Ewey decided to try something different and put his epidemiology degree to use. He applied for the USDA and moved to North Carolina to work in the USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring Systems Department. For his work, he was responsible for trapping mice and collecting them to test for salmonella. He said the perks of working for the USDA was that he got to do national studies which is something you would not get to do working at a vet school. In addition, while working at the USDA his schedule has been very flexible as opposed to working at the dairy practice where he had many on-call duties.
A few years later, he started working as a field veterinary medical officer and a foreign animal disease diagnostician. He was in charge of testing cattle during the outbreak of bovine tuberculosis. Later on, he was promoted to managing the avian health group and continues to be a manager at the USDA.
1. During vet school you will take general classes and get a little bit of experience with each track, from there you will find you interest so do not worry about being undecided.
2. Great thing about being a professor is that you get to partake in different things like research, large animal practice, or small animal practice.
3. Always keep your options open and be ready to step up when the opportunities arise.
4. There are many avenues open to a veterinarian (Ex. public health, pharmacology, etc.) which makes this career such a great thing.
5. If you really want to get into vet school, be persistent. If you don't get in, find your weakness, work on it, and reapply.
6. If you would like to work for the USDA, there is an internship program called Pathways for college students to help you get started. There is also a scholarship program offered by the USDA called Saul T. Wilson that will give you scholarship money for all four years of vet school. For those of you who would like to work for the USDA but did not want to go for the vet program there is the Daniel Salmon scholarship program.
PSSD Historian 2016-2017