Keeping Swimming via Wet Labs
flies quickly—I feel that this is so true. One-third of the fall
semester has already passed. When my day starts, usually at 6 a.m.,
it does not stop until midnight or as late as 2 a.m. As Dory, from
the movie “Finding Nemo,” says, “Just keep swimming, swimming,
swimming”...that’s each day for me. It seems tiring, but certainly
not boring, because along the way I am learning many different
aspects of medicine for different species.
As a second-year veterinary student at Texas A&M, there is
still a lot to learn until I become a veterinarian. With little
clinical experiences prior to applying to the program, I felt like
a deer in front of the headlights. But soon enough, I learned
that opportunities are always around, not only in the clinical
skill labs provided in school curriculum, but I can also easily get
clinical experiences outside of the classroom. The more I practice
my clinical skills, the more confident I will be when I
One of the ways I receive hands-on experience during the
semester is through wet labs. A wet lab is set up by the student
organizations, of which there are more than 20 at the CVM,
including student chapters of the national associations for Equine
Practitioners, Bovine Practitioners, and Internal Medicine, and
Emergency and Critical Care; groups focusing on Laboratory Animal
Medicine and Zoo, Exotics, Wildlife Medicine; and many others.
These wet labs are scheduled for the weekend or after-school hours,
and each is supervised and taught by board-certified veterinarians
who are specialized in the field being covered in the wet lab. Last
weekend, I participated in a dermatology wet lab. Dr. Alison
Diesel, who is board certified in veterinary dermatology, came to
teach us to perform sample collection and diagnostic evaluations
for ear cytology, skin scrapes, and impression smear cytology in
dogs and cats.
Last year, I participated in five web labs. First, during an
internal medicine wet lab, I learned to perform centeses
(thoracocentesis, abdominocentesis, and
arthrocentesis), esophageal tube placement, lymph
nodes aspiration, and organ and skin
biopsy (aspiration and punch biopsy). Second, during a lab
animal wet lab, I learned to handle and restrain the rats, as well
as to administer drugs and medications. Third, during a Surgery
Club wet lab, I learned how to scrub, gown, glove, wrap packs, and
suturing techniques and patterns. Fourth, in a cytology clinical
pathology wet lab, hosted by the Pathology Club, I learned to look
for abnormal cells under microscopes, which prepared me for when I
take a pathology class this year. My last wet lab last year was the
small and large animal dentistry, hosted by the Dental Club, in
which I learned to determine the age of dogs and horses and how to
perform canine teeth cleanings.
I recently signed up for an emergency and critical care wet lab.
In it, I will get a chance to practice techniques such as temporary
tracheostomys and watch the clinician demonstrate open-chest CPR.
This year the Internal Medicine group also will offer an equine
echocardiogram wet lab.
Participating in these wet labs allows me to explore more about
veterinary medicine; it is a part of my veterinary school journey I
really enjoy, a part that helps me to “keep swimming."