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There is something special in that Poo!

Well, we are back into the swing of things here at school. Each day we move further away from free time, pool days, and summer tans; to staying up late, hitting the books, sitting for hours, and stressing about tests. It has been rather surprising how quickly it's come and how quickly this year is going. We are already halfway through midterms and two months away from finals. Due to increased caffeine consumption and a lack of sleep, I've been in a vet school daze. My experience this weekend helped shake me from my stupor and remind me why I chose this struggle - why I wanted to be in veterinary medicine.

All of my prior veterinary work experience has been in small animal medicine. I love small animal practice, but I knew when I got into veterinary school that I wanted to acquire experience in large and food animal medicine. So this year I am signed up for Bovine Practitioners club (BP). BP holds palpation exams once a month, and I was excited when I signed up. I was ready to palpate my first cow!

It didn't hit me until Saturday morning. I had volunteered to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to put my arm in a cow's rectum. As my alarm went off, it was too late to turn back. I pulled myself from bed, threw on my coveralls and ran out the door; if I hurried I could grab myself the breakfast of champions, a McDonald's coffee.  I made it to McDonald's, ordered the usual, and headed to campus. As the coffee set in I was bright-eyed and excited. We all signed in and headed out; we piled into vehicles and headed to the Riverside Campus. I was riding with Ben, a BP officer and a close friend from class, and a first year named Ross. It was a single cab truck and I was smack dab in the middle. I looked to my left Ben was wearing worn jeans, leather working boots and a scrub top. To my right, Ross was wearing leather working boots, cinch jeans and a button down. Then I looked to myself, I was in leopard print rain boots and oversized dickey coveralls. I thought, "Man, I need some leather boots."

We arrived at the gate and you could see the cows in the distance. That's when it hit me, I thought to myself, "Wait a minute, cows poop and pee whenever, wherever in large amounts and I'm about to stick my arm where?" Then, the question ran out of my mouth, "Hey guys, will they poo on me?" Both of the guys chuckled and answered, "They might." Ross pulls his hat from his head and points out several brown splotches on the bill of his cap, "That's what this is," he said.  So I responded accordingly, "Well, great. That means I'm definitely going to pick the one that poops!"

The first cow I palpated was well behaved, I was guided to feel for her cervix which is about wrist deep then, as I reached further I felt the placentomes that were small half-dollar sized circles, and just beyond that her fetus. She was approximately five months into gestation. I was so excited! That's when it happened, she started pooing on me! So without missing a beat, I stated "It's got the poo on me." (Joe Dirt).

At that point I was more excited visualizing in my head what I felt, then to care about the poop running along my side like the city slicker question I asked in the truck. Palpating is not easy and it's definitely not for the squeamish. I was apprehensive, at first, to go out there and get so dirty, but, after feeling her calf, you forget about how dirty it is. We were caring for a cow and her young. I gained a new appreciation for the individuals and veterinarians that work with bovine.

This Saturday was a reminder that we are here to be a part of it all.  We are all guilty of adjusting to school and getting tunnel vision. We see an end and work diligently to get there, but we forget to step out for moment and experience something new. This profession is so dynamic; you never know what you will be called to do one day.