Part 2: Vet Student Forum

In addition to hands-on experience, veterinary students value more philosophical discussions on their future role and relationships with clients.
In addition to hands-on experience, veterinary students value more philosophical discussions on their future role and relationships with clients.
(John Maday)

Today’s veterinary students will guide the future of bovine practice, bringing a fresh outlook and unique skills to the ever-evolving profession. With that in mind, we’ve launched a new “Student Forum” feature, highlighting the insights, opinions, aspirations and concerns of today’s veterinary students.

The question for the January issue was: "What is the most practical, profound or memorable thing you’ve learned in school over the past month?”

Following are responses from eight of the students on our panel. Part 1 listed answers from eight more students.

Chantalle Penner, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

The most practical/memorable thing that I have learned/done in the past month in school was a right flank laparotomy and omentopexy on a ewe. It was my first large animal surgery and this surgery is very important to repair a displaced abomasum in a dairy cow. It was an incredible learning experience and makes me look forward to a career as a bovine veterinarian.”

Caitlin Quesenberry, Washington State University

While performing pregnancy diagnosis, I learned to work as a team with the cattlemen to get the cows in and out of the chute safely and efficiently - when everyone focuses on the task at hand, the work goes by much faster. And always bring more coveralls than you think you could possibly use! You never know when palpating could turn into surgeries in the field.

Paul Riedel, Lincoln Memorial University - College of Veterinary Medicine

One of the most helpful practical tips I recently received at school was to try wearing an exam glove over my palpation sleeve while practicing bovine pregnancy checks. It may not work for everyone, but I have noticed it increase my tactile sensitivity and accuracy.

Seely Sayre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The most practical thing that I have had the chance to learn in school in the last month was how to perform pregnancy diagnosis in ewes using an ultrasound. An ultrasound lab was held for my 3rd year class where we were able to perform transabdominal ultrasound on our school’s sheep flock. I will not only utilize this skill out in practice, but I can also apply these skills to transrectal ultrasound in cattle since the principle of reading an ultrasound image is the same across species.

Catherine Seeds, University of Florida

The most practical and memorable thing that I have learned in the last month is how to interact with clients who want to do the best thing by the animals in their care, but do not have the financial backing to make that possible. I have worked to strengthen my communication and empathy skills to handle those situations, and have practiced counseling people on alternatives when the thing they would most like to do for their animals is limited by finances.

Kristy Shaw, The Ohio State University

During the past month of my clinical rotations, I have learned that there are going to be really hard days but there are always friends, family, and mentors that are there for you. There will be questions I don't know the answers to, but I know where to go to find those answers and who to ask.

Stephanie Tarlowe, Cornell University

I was really struck by a point Dr. Daryl Nydam made in recent lectures to our class of 3rd-year students about mastitis. He asked the class, "What are the four ways a cow can get mastitis?" The room was silent for a while as we mulled over his question. One of my classmates tentatively offered up an answer--hematogenous spread. Dr. Nydam conceded that this was the very rare 5th cause of mastitis, but informed us that we were thinking about it too hard. The answer is simple: left front, left hind, right front, and right hind. Mastitis infections begin when pathogens enter the mammary gland, and the only ways in are through those four open teat ends. It kind of struck me how in our veterinary coursework we can get so bogged down in the myriad of symptoms and differential diagnoses and other bits of information our professors impress upon us that we forget to take a step back and look at the animal itself. The cow's udder is her most valuable asset, and those four simple openings are so important to consider in the bigger picture of disease.

Katelin Young, Saint George’s University

In the last month, I have had the opportunity to participate in many bovine necropsies. This has helped me to learn how to systematically and proficiently perform necropsies, as well as to reiterate how important necropsies are for herd health.


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