Piecing Together the Puzzle
are now over a quarter of the way done with the semester! Whoop!
Veterinary School is really good at keeping our minds and bodies
busy, so even though it feels like the clock is barely ticking
during some class days, it’s actually FLYING by! I can feel the
jittery excitement in the air, because all of my third-year
classmates can finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the vet
school tunnel. We are gaining confidence, skills, and wisdom; we
finally feel closer to being doctors and further from students.
We third-year students have gotten more comfortable with basic
surgical procedures so far this semester; nevertheless, I still
sweat bullets the entire time. Putting non-powdered surgical gloves
onto sweaty hands should be an Olympic sport. Gold medal goes to me
for my hilarious and laborious struggle with such a menial task!
This week, AFTER I took 10 minutes to get my gloves on, I proceeded
to accidentally poke a hole in the glove on my left index finger
with a stray towel clamp, which meant I had to stop what I was
doing, remove my poked glove, and start the whole gloving process
over again. It’s definitely a learning curve.
Luckily for me, sweating doesn’t interfere with my paper
test-taking skills! 3VM students had a BIG Small Animal Medicine
test this week covering a month and a half of oncology and
endocrinology material. These are probably some of the most common
diseases I will be dealing with as a small-animal veterinarian once
I graduate. Unfortunately, at least 50 percent of dogs over the age
of 10 will get some form of cancer, which is why it is so important
for us to learn how to treat and manage cancer patients. It may be
surprising to you, but dogs and cats are candidates for
chemotherapies and radiation, just like humans! Our professor, Dr.
Claudia Barton, made sure to emphasize the fact that cancer is
indiscriminate of species; therefore, observations from cancer in
our domestic animals can be studied and incorporated into human
For endocrinology, we are taught by Dr. Audrey Cook, who has a
wonderful European accent and a remarkable passion for the diseases
she presents. I actually printed out all of her notes, put it in a
binder, and labeled it my “Cook Book,” since I plan on keeping it
on my shelf in my veterinary practice in the near future. My
favorite disease she has talked about is feline hyperthyroidism. I
like it because it is a disease that likes to hide behind the
façade of just “old cat syndrome,” but when correctly diagnosed and
treated it can really improve the lives of our aging kitties. It is
nerve-wracking to learn all of these common, everyday diseases
while having aging animals of your own. I find myself wondering
which diseases my own cat will get someday—and hoping I will be
sharp enough to spot them early and treat them!
This upcoming Monday is one of the few Mondays that we don’t
have an exam. To take advantage of my lessened weekend stressors, I
am headed back to my hometown of Boerne to visit my parents, my
103-year-old great-uncle, and my three brothers. I haven’t seen any
of them since summer and am starting to feel the homesickness. I
try to make time during the week to reach out to all of them, but
sometimes it just doesn’t happen with everything else going on.
Hopefully they can get my head out of my textbooks, help me to
relax, and have a little fun before diving back on Monday.
What I have found to be so incredible and different about our
third year of vet school is that we are finally putting all the
pieces together and understanding veterinary medicine on a
different level. Our veterinary puzzle is actually starting to come
together, and it is SO EXCITING!