Vet Students Around The World - Meet Willy Shyu from Taiwan

Posted on: June 17, 2016

To start, please tell us about yourself.

I’m Willy and a vet student at the National Taiwan University (NTU). I’m in my final year and am also an intern at the NTU Animal Hospital. I was born and raised in Taiwan and I have some professional experiences practicing in different countries: such as Panda research based in China, the animal surgery department in Korea, and even the Singapore Zoo! I plan to be an acupuncturist for animals, especially focused on equines. At the moment I’m taking different courses in acupuncture to develop my skills.

Why did you decide to study veterinary medicine?

I love animals in the first place. But I don’t only love them, I think we must do something to help them. Not merely the stray dogs, but also wildlife and even the environment. We owe the earth too much; so since I was younger I always wanted to become a wildlife veterinarian.

Why did you change to acupuncture?

I study in a Chinese culture and I think it is somehow our specialty. Further my parents are acupuncturists, but for humans. As a vet I want to combine Western and Eastern medicine.
Besides, I love sports medicine and acupuncture is a good treatment for rehabilitation. If I had the opportunity, I would also want to study physical therapy, and do acupuncture and physical therapy together.
After practicing in many places, I found both wildlife and equine medicine are my favorite areas of practice. However, in Taiwan we are paying more attention to small animals or exotic pets clinics. So if I want to become a wildlife vet I am supposed to train abroad, but this requires a lot of money. So one can say there is also an economic reason. Although, I think I still can help the wildlife even I am not a wildlife vet.

Can you tell us your favorite veterinary fact or pet advice?

Acupuncture for horses is very interesting. When we examine the horse we often use something like a pen to scan the acupoints of horses. As soon as you touch the acupoint where the horse is sensitive, you can truly experience it by what is happening with the horse. For example, you touch on the lumbar and equine’s hind limbs suddenly become weak, then you know there is something wrong with his knee. And when you treat it with acupuncture for some time it will progress soon.

What advice would you give people who are thinking about a career in veterinary medicine?

The world is really huge and you should explore it! Try everything before you make the decision to pursue veterinary medicine or a specialty. Studying is important, but vets in training also need to know their hobbies, what they want to be, and have a sense of the future they imagine. It also helps to know the world’s need and how your career in vet medicine can fill that need.
It’s also import for vets in training to try to learn something different that can make life colorful. I also work as a magician and perform magic in many countries; and I play baseball for our school’s team. I have many hobbies, but if you give me one more profession to choose, I still would still want to be a veterinarian. Being a vet is a really great job that lets people help the owner and the pet.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a male cat. He is one year old and his name is Taro. I also have a turtle and a hedgehog, which I adopted from an owner who didn’t have time to enjoy with them.

The big question for any vet: What's your favorite animal and why?

I think I love all animals. I don't have a real favorite, but there are some that I have already been in contact with and am very familiar with; these include animals such as pandas and snow leopards. Pandas are really cute. They are just like babies! Otters are also great, though they can be aggressive and sometimes smell bad. And of course I love horses too.
I worked with snow leopards for the first time in the United Kingdom. We had an International Veterinary Student Association Symposium (IVSA) in Edinburgh. After that symposium I stayed in the UK to volunteer. I was in Hertfordshire and worked with ‘Cat Survival Trust’. This is a charity that is involved in the conservation of wild cats and educating on those wild cats that are endangered.

Any plans for the future?

For now I am planning to study western and eastern medicine abroad. Study more and wish I could help horses, and/or wildlife in the future.

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June 17, 2016