Hitting the Ground Running

Sydney M.After just finishing the first two weeks of my third year, I am already feeling busy, but also excited for the semester. Third year is full of not only important lectures, but also awesome skills lab, clinics, electives, and surgery! The schedule is jammed packed with material to get us ready for fourth year, so it’s a nonstop day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Third year is very different from the first two years of vet school in that we have electives of our own choosing throughout four different blocks. My first elective is “Oncology” and I am learning from the oncologists in our hospitals; they are specialized in this field, so I am learning from clinicians who can give us tricks of the trade and break down what is most common or most important to know for when we get out into practice. So far, they have lectured to us about the different cancer types, different treatments options, and the differences in our species. This past week we met at the Diagnostic Imaging & Cancer Treatment Center, where they showed us the state-of-the-art equipment A&M has that we can use treat our patients, such as CT, MRI, and Tomotherapy. The elective is broken up so that we are not just in lecture the entire time, but also are getting a chance to work on cases ourselves and see how we would go about diagnosing an animal and staging the types of cancer.

I am also taking “Small Animal Skills” this block, and it’s been good practice as well! The very first week of “Small Animals Skills” started with a reptile-handling lab, in which I learned how to restrain snakes, different sized lizards, and turtles. A reptile rescue group came in, bringing a plethora of reptiles with them so we could get plenty of practice. I personally held several species of snakes, including a corn snake, ball python, and hog-nosed snake. Out of the lizards, I held a Chinese waterdragon, Tegu, and bearded dragon. It was amazing to be able to have that experience and learn so much about them.

The classes themselves are really interesting because we are starting our small-animal and large=animal medicine courses. Medicine really helps us gain the tools necessary to think like a doctor! In large-animal medicine, we are starting with the topic of theriogenology, which is all about reproduction. For our cattle, horses, goats, and sheep, knowledge of reproduction is very important so we can make sure we are keeping our breeds free of congenital problems. Small-animal medicine is starting a lecture series on oncology, so I am getting a lot of knowledge in that subject!

With all of the new and exciting labs and classes I am taking this semester, I’m happy I am hitting the ground running with third year and hope to gain a ton of new experiences along the way!