During my first year of vet school, I applied for two summer programs: the Zoetis externship and an Animal lab externship in New York. I was selected to participate in the Bovine Zoetis externship, I was the only student from my veterinary school that was chosen to participate in this externship. After I finished my first year, I traveled to Okeechobee, Florida to start my externship at the Davie Dairy Farm. I was a little nervous because I did not have previous experience working with cattle but I was very excited to work with large animals. I wanted to get experience in this field of veterinary medicine and become familiar with the role of vets in the dairy industry. I worked there for 4 weeks and side by side with 2 bovine veterinarians.
I spent most of my time working in the maternity barn and the nursery barn where I learned how to administer oxytocin to pregnant cows, vaccinated baby calves and feed them colostrum. In the early mornings, I palpated open and pregnant cows. I shadowed during artificial insemination procedures and reviewed important reproductive hormones. Overall, I could assist during a physical examination, diagnosis, treatment, labor, and left displaced abomasum surgeries. But, the most valuable learning experience came when I assisted in a left displaced abomasum surgery. One of the veterinarians allowed me to do the incision in the abdomen of the cow. It fascinated me when I could insert my hand and feel the displaced abomasum close to the rumen. I was able to remove the air using a needle attached to a hose and suture the skin of the cow at the end of the surgery and…it was my first time suturing a live animal!!