Food Animal Fun

Catherine T.In February, Texas A&M hosted its annual Food Animal Wet Lab, an event designed to give students exposure to all sorts of food animal medicine techniques and topics we don’t always cover in enough detail in class.

Because my main career focus is working with beef cattle and other livestock after graduation, this event is always a great time for me! I learned about castrating calves, giving epidurals, and performing C-sections, all of which can be the bread-and-butter of a food animal vet’s practice.

Even though I’ve known I want to practice in this field of veterinary medicine for a long time, it’s fun to see my classmates from all walks of life getting involved, too. Even if you plan to be a bird vet or a radiologist, who doesn’t love to play around with animals and learn from our knowledgeable and entertaining professors? Plus, you never know when a great experience may change your career goals for the better (and, yes, that is a shameless plug for food animal medicine).

While I had a lot of fun participating in the different wet labs, one of the most interesting parts of the day was meeting other students from different schools and even different states. I was able to work with and help teach several pre-vet students from West Texas and was excited to see their passion for this kind of work so early in their school careers.

I also got to learn alongside veterinary students from Oklahoma and Kansas and share interesting tidbits about how our curriculum and veterinary experiences differ. I also got to learn some things that make me grateful that I go to Texas A&M, such as the fact that it was 8 degrees in Manhattan, Kansas, the day before the wet lab.

In my upcoming fourth year of vet school, I’ll have the opportunity to travel around Texas and to California and Colorado on externships. I’m excited for the opportunity to venture out from College Station and meet other students and veterinarians from different backgrounds.

The great diversity of veterinary medicine, and everyone’s unique experiences and perspective, is just one of the things that I love so much about this profession!

Keeping Swimming via Wet Labs

Nantika D.Time 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 graduate.

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.”