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The Range of Veterinary Medicine: Anecdotes from a Veterinary Student

Working with a wide variety of veterinarians, I have had the opportunity to explore various avenues in the veterinary field.

In a small animal clinic, I was exposed to the nature of working with clients. An owner came in with a dog around 12 years of age, explaining that the dog was out of breath easily. In the veterinarian’s experience, as dogs tend to only live for about 10 to 13 years, he explained that this is just a symptom of old age. The owner, however, insisted on conducting an x-ray so he went through with the x-ray process and found that the dog had a bead stuck in his trachea, leading the dog to have difficulty breathing. Working with small animals, especially pets, I learned how important it was to consider everything the owner has to say when diagnosing a patient.

At my time working with a mobile equine veterinarian, I aided with racing horses. Equine sports medicine looks at the broader picture and narrows down to determine the ultimate cause of injury. Many of the horses would come in limping from overexertion, but the key was pinpointing the focus of the lesion. Using x-rays, nerve blocking, and the overall canter of the horse, he was able to figure out exactly where the pain was coming from and target that source.

In terms of rehabilitation, I observed treatment on sloths. They conduct thorough exams on the sloths in the release site to make sure they are healthy. The test includes checking genitals, breathing, lymph nodes, ears, weight after defecation, body and limb measurements, and the composition of their fur ecosystem. When treating a sloth post-electrocution, which was common due to the increased urbanization in the area, the doctors would treat their skin for burns and run blood tests.

For food animals, I worked with dairy and beef cattle, goats, and sheep. The veterinarians often perform mastitis tests to ensure that the milk is safe for human consumption. One of the cows was suspected of having mastitis, so we had the opportunity to perform a mastitis test on her. When the milk was first squeezed into the plate, it appeared to be normal in consistency. However, after testing each of the teats, it was evident that the right front was infected by the coagulation of the milk, showing the importance of being thorough in testing.

I experienced crocodile veterinary in Costa Rica. Two local Costa Rican men would lasso the crocodile to pull it out of the swamp and a group of 4-6 people would have to sit on the crocodile at once, arresting and tying the limbs, tail, and jaw. The crocodile was then measured in length, weighed, had its blood drawn, and was given antibiotics. I had no time to stop and think, it was a constant flow of adrenaline. Even though the crocodile team did not have many supplies, they did what they could with what was provided.

Although all of the veterinarians I have worked with have had different specialties and approaches to veterinary medicine, their love for animals is a common factor. All of the veterinarians I have worked with have a passion for helping animals and making sure that they are comfortable in this world full of anthropomorphic growth.

I already have a heavy passion for animals and seeing the veterinarians with the same passion is what drives me to want to continue to pursue veterinary medicine!

Written by: Nitika Sansgiry

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