Listening to a lecture on wound management given by one of the veterinary interns, performing radiographs on a red-tailed hawk that presented for being found in the middle of the highway, and moving a mallard duck from a dry pen into a pool to assess its healing post-ulnar fracture are just a few of the things you might find me doing on any given afternoon in the wildlife clinic. Returning to the wildlife clinic for my official core rotation was a breath of fresh air after having had spent weeks locked up in both the large and small animal hospitals. I had spent most Tuesday afternoons during my second year spring semester there for our so-called ‘selective’ course during which my friend Mike and I shadowed the wildlife vets.
Whereas second-year students are typically not allowed to do as much as rotating students, I now feel more comfortable holding, assessing, and treating wild patients. While on the service, I got to interact with a bobcat, porcupine, Canada geese, red-tailed hawks, Eastern screech owls, hooded mergansers, a mallard duck, and several turtles. One of the more memorable experiences with my turtle patients was that of noticing that my snapping turtle had laid a single egg! This was notable since she had been in the hospital since 2016 and been kept in a pool by herself away from any male turtles. How could this be? It turns out that turtles can actually store sperm for five years. This fun fact is but one of many that I learn on a daily basis while working in the wildlife clinic.