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Getting our Hands Dirty

This past weekend, I participated in the Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (SCAAEP) Annual skills lab, hosted here at Texas A&M.  In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a skills lab is a time outside of the curriculum when veterinary students can "get their hands dirty" and practice new skills.  Many of our student organizations offer at least one skills lab a year for interested students, but what sets SCAEEP's skills lab apart is the fact that veterinary students from all over the United States travel here to Texas A&M to participate.

Students were allowed to register for four one-hour rotations from an incredible list of options: alternative medicine, radiology, stallion collection, emergency and critical care, equine dentistry, arthroscopy, field anesthesia, lower limb surgical procedures, endoscopy, bandaging, splinting, rectal palpation with laproscope assistance, laceration repair, ultrasonography, opthalmology, abdominal exploratory, introductory lameness, advanced lameness, joint injection, farrier skills, mare reproduction, field necropsy and pathology, and emergency response.  As you can imagine, planning an event of this size is not an easy task.  In fact, planning the annual skills lab is a year-round endeavor for a group of dedicated students.  That's right: this event is entirely student-run!  The event also wouldn't be possible without the generous time and support of our equine clinicians who volunteer their time to share their expertise with students.

Second year students typically work as volunteers and assist the clinicians in their demonstrations.  I volunteered in the rotation called "Lower Limb Surgical Procedures.”  Students in this rotation were provided the opportunity to practice surgical techniques commonly performed on equine patients including a palmar digital neurectomy, a distal check ligament desmotomy, and a deep digital tenotomy.  Each student had the opportunity to practice these procedures supervised by one of the Large Animal Hospital's boarded equine veterinary surgeons, Dr. Lamb.

After such a successful event, all I can say is that my classmates and I are so fortunate to be in this program, where students collaborate to put on such awesome events and clinicians go above and beyond to provide us with every learning opportunity possible.  I look forward to participating in this skills lab next year!