You know how the old saying goes, “Repetition is key.” This can be applied to learning a new language, going over suture patterns, practicing piano every day, and many other things. I find in vet school, they always suggest that practice makes perfect and we should keep working on developing our skills in certain areas. For example, when learning how to do physical exams, we were told to practice on all kinds of different animals so we get a sense of normalcy and are better able to recognize when something is abnormal.
There is also a large amount of repetition in what is going to be important in our veterinary lives. We have learned about rabies so many times. We learned it in public health and in pathology (both systemic and general), we learned about it in virology and as a neurologic rule-out for assessing physical status in clinical orientation, anatomy, and structure and function. By now, when we start talking about rabies in class, everyone is groaning and attention is lacking. However, since it’s being stressed so much, and because we’ve been vaccinated against it, rabies is obviously important. Hopefully, we’ll never see it but if we do ever have a potential rabies case, it’s very important that we’re able to recognize it and start a plan for quarantine and diagnosis, especially if a human was bit in the process.
There are many other things we’ve learned a lot about. Some, like foot and mouth, are extremely important diseases that require immediate attention, are notifiable, and have the potential for very dangerous outcomes. These are essential, once again, to be able to recognize and deal with. Other things we’ve learned a lot about, such as West Nile disease, are fairly common and can impose a very important human health risk, so we need to know how to deal accordingly with these types of diseases. Lastly, we’ve learned about diseases like IMHA in dogs, Wobbler’s syndrome in horses, and Johne’s disease in cows that we’ll see fairly frequently and just better get used to having an action plan to address each situation.
I’m sure all of these will come up again a few more times before I graduate!