Transition to the Small Animal Side

August 2018


Since my last post, I have completed two more rotations. Time continues to fly by as I try to convince myself I have plenty of time to prepare for boards. I am slowly working through my Vet Prep questions, at a messily 3% compared to other subscribers who are at 20%. Getting out of the classroom is great, but it’s hard to use your sudden free time to sit down and study versus getting back into your hobbies. I really enjoy hiking and kayaking, and have had some time and cooperative weather lately to explore the variety of parks and lakes near Ames. It is plenty flat in central Iowa, but the area does have a great parks system with a variety of difficulty levels. Free time has varied every two weeks, all dependent on the rotation and the group effort of your rotation mates. It is true that your attitude, along with your rotation mates’ can make or break your rotation experience. Always lend a hand and do your best to spread out the workload, your rotation mates will appreciate it!

I completed the Food Animal and Camelid Field Service rotation in July, which meant it was Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) time for the upcoming county and state fairs. I got to see many show pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, and horses. Writing CVI’s is pretty common practice for most veterinarians and surprisingly this rotation has been my only exposure to the entire process. I also got to spend a lot of time at the ISU Dairy Farm during this rotation, which was beneficial since I grew up on a dairy, but was never involved in full treatments. I was able to get a lot of hands-on experience with performing physical examinations, culturing milk samples, rectal palpation, and giving treatments. Outside of the dairy, my rotation mates and I were able to go out on a variety of calls. My most notable was a processing call, where I was able to castrate. I really enjoyed the variety of this rotation, along with working outside for a full two weeks.

Next, I entered the small animal hospital by easing in with the Primary Care rotation. This rotation operates like a normal small animal and exotics practice would. Appointments are scheduled every thirty minutes and the students choose their appointments the day before. You get to interact with clients through not just routine appointments, but unexpected clinical findings or diagnostic results, and may even need to discuss euthanasia. This was another great rotation to perform physical examinations, give vaccinations, collect diagnostics, write prescriptions, and explain discharge instructions, all under the supervision of a clinician. This was another very hands-on rotation, not just with my own appointments, but by helping other students with theirs. My rotation mates gave me a lot of support with navigating the small animal hospital and computer system. I was able to learn as much from their appointments, clinician conversations, and suggestions as I did from my own.

I am off for the next block, but will get you all caught up when I return for the Food Animal and Camelid Medicine and Surgery rotation.

Until next time,