A group of aspiring teenage veterinarians received hands-on training recently during the Texas 4-H Veterinary Science Camp at the O.D. Butler Jr. Animal Science Center in College Station.
The event coincided with Texas 4-H Roundup week. Experts from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University provided training.
Upon completion of the week-long instruction, the youth received Beef Quality Assurance certification from the Texas Beef Council.
“This is for young people with the ambition to one day be a vet assistant, vet technician or veterinarian,” said Dr. Joe Mask, AgriLife Extension veterinarian. “They are learning equine practices, small and large ruminant practices, as well as small animal practices. A lot of these students are urban members who don’t have the opportunity to work with large animals, so we are giving them that experience.”
Dr. Joe Paschal, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Corpus Christi, provided an overview of beef cattle handling strategies.
Paschal told the students to handle cattle in a low stress environment. To capture that type of atmosphere, Paschal said cattle should be assembled in a pen with ease and without any running or loud voices. He demonstrated this by gently walking to the side of a pen of five female cows. By nature, these cows “herd up.”
“If there is one cow that you are trying to pen, it’s always easier to take two or three with her,” he said. “It is always harder to pen one cow by itself. Always walk alongside the cow so she can see you (and know your whereabouts).”
Other practices discussed and demonstrated included haltering cattle, proper injection placement and evaluating cattle with potential illness.
“Always evaluate the symptoms,” said Dr. Meredyth Jones, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine Field Services, College Station. “Does the cow have lameness present? Ask the owner questions and get some information before diagnosis.”
Dr. Dennis Sigler, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horse specialist, provides an overview of equine health during Texas 4-H Veterinary Science Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
Camp participants also were given lots of hands-on time with a cow in a chute. They were also able to use a stethoscope and listen to the cow’s heart rate.
Jason Bagley with the Texas Beef Council, Austin, provided an overview of the Beef Checkoff program and how the funds are used to further research, promotion and education among beef producers and marketing of beef.
Camp participants also viewed a beef cattle research demonstration project at the Texas A&M field laboratory near College Station.