Being Selective About Third-Year Electives

Mikaela StanislavAs a third-year veterinary student, I have been
able to choose the electives that I take; after two years of taking
a pre-selected curriculum, this is an amazing experience! I get to
pick what I want to learn, which makes learning all the more

This semester, I have completed an oncology elective. Oncology
is a big part of veterinary medicine because 50 percent of dogs
over the age of 10 years will develop cancer. Through this
elective, I was able to learn about current research being done
that correlates human cancers and cancer in dogs, because it is
very similar and advances in each field can help each other.

The elective I just finished is dermatology. This is also a
large part of veterinary medicine, as many pets have issues with
skin or allergies, especially living in Texas. In dermatology, we
learned how to identify different infections, causes, and how to
treat common dermatologic problems. Did you know that dogs can have
food allergies, too? It’s a lot harder to find out if dogs have a
food issue because they can’t tell you they feel bad after eating
something or if they eat something that causes them to itch.

The next elective I will be taking is clinical pathology, in
which I will learn all about how to interpret blood work and
understand what the values mean. I’ll be able to tell if a dog is
anemic, if it has liver issues, or even if it’s a diabetic.
Clinical pathology is a skill that we will be using every day in
practice. Interpreting blood and urine are common practices and
taking this elective will hopefully help me feel more comfortable
with this aspect of veterinary medicine.

Overall, all of my classes have been good, but it’s even more
exciting to get to decide what you learn!