My classes this semester have been beyond phenomenal as I have more hands-on experience from our designated labs. We have a surgery lab this semester which teaches us how to perform a proper sterile technique to prevent any form of contamination with the imaginary patient.
We are given SynDavers, which are synthetic surgery models that have realistic looking organs and vessels. These models allow us to practice suturing, taking biopsies of the organs, and removing foreign objects that were supposedly swallowed by the patient.
This is our first class where we learn the sterile surgeon skills for our practices, and are taught by veterinary specialists who work at the A&M hospitals next door.
Besides surgery, we also have radiology and this class solely focuses on how we can read and diagnose the pet’s problem by identifying them on x-rays. To me, it’s like a puzzle where I look at an image and see what is abnormal or not. We are given a brief history of the animal but otherwise we don’t have any test results to explain what isn’t right with our patient.
I appreciate this approach because it gives me a blank canvas to work with and I’m not blinded by my own ideas. With this method, I learn how a normal bone looks like compared to a bone with a small fracture. I can see the detail, or lack of detail, of vessels in the chest and determine if there’s fluid or air in the lungs.
From two images, I can create a story behind what I see and determine what form of treatment is best for these animals.
Experiencing these two classes reminds me why I wanted to come to this school and to this program. I truly appreciate the brilliant specialists who teach us, along with the vast amount of hands-on experience I get to be involved in!
It seems as though the further I get into veterinary school, the faster the semesters seem to fly by.
As I am writing this post, it is week eight of my second semester as a second-year veterinary student.It seems like just yesterday that it was week one.
Probably the most exciting thing about this semester has been starting surgery.We have our “Introduction to Surgery” course this semester, and it has been such a great experience.
Even the simple things, like learning how to wrap our surgery gowns and instruments and how to get scrubbed and gowned for surgery, have been exciting for me. So far this semester, we have already practiced a liver biopsy and an abdominal exploratory.
One of the coolest things about introductory surgery is the extremely realistic models we get to use to practice procedures on. Each model even has its own pump system that simulates blood flow and bleeding.
I think that practicing on these realistic models is a great way to gain confidence before having real patients put in front of us; the things we are practicing and learning in our clinical skills and surgery courses are going to make us much more confident when it comes time to perform real procedures.
I definitely feel like I leave every semester of veterinary school more and more confident and prepared to help my future patients.
Right now, I am focused on going into equine medicine after I graduate, and so in the midst of studying, I am also arranging summer externships.
I can say that I am truly lucky to have such an amazing group of professors who have been willing to meet with me outside of class to help me establish connections with clinics that I want to extern at.
I am excited to take what I have learned this semester, and past semesters, and apply it during my externships!
I’m almost halfway done with my second year of veterinary school and it’s still absolutely flying by!
This semester, we officially started learning about one of horse-lovers’ favorite (and most frustrating) examination to perform—that for equine lameness.
We had dabbled in lameness exams last semester as an introduction, but when I saw all of the equine lameness exam lectures and labs on the course syllabus and realized that we’d be getting into the details and the how-tos of the exam this semester, I was ecstatic, even though I know they can get tricky and take a long time to truly master.
Equine lameness exams are almost like an art form. As a (hopeful) future equine veterinarian, this is a skill I know I will need to be great at. So, every week that there’s a lameness lecture or lab is my new favorite week, as they become more and more advanced.
With some of our previous lecture subjects, there have been some about which I remember thinking, “oh boy, not this again;” however, my continued excitement for lameness exams confirms that I’m on the correct career path, since I’ve always wanted a job that I would be excited to go to everyday.
Even though at the beginning of the semester some of the practice cases shown in class were frustrating to get, seeing my skill, and my confidence, in these exams growing has been so rewarding.
And the best part? I get to take a whole class next semester over equine lameness and rehabilitation.
We are just about to finish our 11th week of veterinary school, which means we only have four weeks left until finals! It feels like just last week that we were at orientation.
Veterinary school has been an endless cycle of going to class every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then going home and studying.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is thrown at us each day, but it’s important to keep your eye on the “prize”—all of that information has been helping me improve and learn the skills I need to become a doctor.
Hands-on learning through “live-animal labs” have been my favorite thing in veterinary school so far because we get to apply everything we have learned in the classroom. During live-animal labs we practice skills such as learning how to listen to the heart and lungs and how to look at the eyes, ears, and mouths of dogs, cats, horses, and cows. In the spring, we will learn how to give physical exams to each of these species!
These hands-on days really help me remember why I am sitting in a classroom for eight hours every day.
Another thing that has been really helpful is semester is having a second-year mentor. Being able to reach out to someone who was in my position last year and ask them questions has been really amazing.
The mentors are there to be a person to whom you can turn and who can help answer questions you might not want to ask anyone else.
I think that it is important for all of us to take a step back at times and remind ourselves why we are here and what the end goal is—becoming a veterinarian, and we are four weeks away from being one semester closer to that goal!