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Veterinary Camp Teaches Clinical Skills, Hands-On Activities

Posted June 29, 2017


Dr. Joe Mask, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist youth veterinary science, displays instruments used to carry out various animal health practices at the recent 4-H Veterinary Camp. Photo by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Experts from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Department of Animal Science, and AgriLife Extension Service helped youth from across Texas build upon the skills and knowledge they need to master the veterinary science certification program during the recent 4-H Veterinary Camp.

Upon completion of the week-long instruction, which coincided with Texas 4-H Roundup week, students received a Beef Quality Assurance certification from the Texas Beef Council and obtained 33 of the 78 clinical skills needed for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Certified Veterinary Assistant Level 1 certification, according to organizers. Susan Eades, head of the CVM's Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, was among those who shared her experiences and thoughts on beef quality assurance.

“This was our third annual camp for Texas 4-H members,” said Dr. Joe Mask, AgriLife Extension specialist youth veterinary science. “We cover program areas in equine, beef cattle, cattle handling, and restraint. We also talked about nutrition, fever ticks, and Beef Quality Assurance practices. All of the students leave camp BQA certified.”

Camp attendees viewed beef cattle research projects at the Texas A&M field laboratory near College Station and toured the CVM campus.

This year, there were 26 camp attendees ages 12-18, according to Mask.

“We try to hold attendance down to a minimum so it’s more hands-on,” he said. “We also spend a lot of time around the cattle chute, microscopes, giving them as much opportunity to experience the activities animal health practitioners experience on a day-to-day basis.

“All 4-H members who sign up through Texas 4-H come to this camp,” Mask said. “The students have to get 78 clinical skills, so at this camp they can get 33 of those. They take heart rates, respiratory temperature, and restraint.”

Mask said the youth had a great week of learning opportunities, “specifically all types of clinical skills that they can use in a career path, whether it be as a veterinarian or research scientist.”

Early in the week, camp participants worked with horses to learn all aspects of handling and health, including how to apply bandages, catch and tie a horse, how to lead safely, and to handle and examine feet.

Other practices discussed and demonstrated included haltering cattle, proper injection placement, evaluating cattle with potential illness, cattle behavior in a chute, and how to use a stethoscope to listen to the cow’s heart rate.

For more information about the program, visit, or to see scenes from the camp, visit


This article was written by Blair Fannin.

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