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Third Year Begins...

It's a new year and classes are getting really exciting.  As a third year student, I finally get to choose my elective courses and spend time in both the small and large animal hospitals.  I recently spent the day in small animal surgery, where I watched a fourth year student perform a cat spay (under the watchful eye of one of the small animal surgeons).  It feels both strange and exciting to know that that will be me a year from now!  During the surgery, another third year student and I were grilled on the pharmacology and surgery prep that was going on.  I had to quickly recall information from last year to answer questions about opioids, analgesics, induction drugs and inhalant anesthetics, as well as sterile surgical preparation.

Once the surgery was finished, we grabbed a quick lunch and then learned how to operate a surgical laser.  We practiced holding and moving the stylet by writing our names on a wet popsicle stick.  Then it was time to perform "hotdog surgery."  We took turns writing our names, drawing pictures, making surgical cuts, and even amputating the ends off of several thawed hotdogs!  I learned that the laser allows surgeons to quickly cut through tissue and provide immediate hemostasis (it stops all the little blood vessels from bleeding), which overall decreases tissue trauma.

After "surgery," I helped perform physical exams and bathe the shelter animals who were having surgery the next day.  Texas A&M partners with the local animal shelters to spay and neuter animals who will soon be available for adoption.  It was really neat to be able to practice my physical exams and work with so many animals who were about to get a new lease on life.  Even though I ended the day tired and smelling like wet dog, it was great to be able to spend the day in the clinic, get new hands-on experience, and work with amazing people and animals.  And I have a souvenir popsicle stick with my name on it!