One of the advantages of working in a mixed animal clinic is the diversity of patients that walk through the doors every day. Last week, I was able to observe my first pig spay. The patient was a small four-month-old pot-bellied pig named Petunia. She weighed only 13 pounds, and it took almost all my willpower to not adopt her and take her home with me that afternoon.
I had witnessed countless dog and cat spays during my years spent in small animal clinics in high school and college, but a pig was definitely something new. I helped to prepare the surgery room for Petunia. Compared with dogs, pigs have a narrow trachea. Therefore, unlike the previous spays I had observed, the vet chose to use an anesthesia mask instead of intubation to administer anesthetic drugs. At every step of the way, the vet told me what she was doing and why she was using a specific technique. I learned so much in that operating room.
Veterinary medicine provides the opportunity to never stop learning. Veterinarians can do it all. Each species is different. Although many similarities exist, it is our job to learn about what makes each unique, and I will never tire of being able to experience the breadth of knowledge that our field holds. Each day is different. Each day brings new patients, like Petunia. And, most importantly, each day is another opportunity to touch the lives of animals and the people who love them.