When you sit in a classroom all day long, it’s difficult to imagine that some day you will actually be out in the real world using the stuff you learned in class. While this is true for any profession, the long hours of studying make this especially true for veterinary students.
Now that I am working in a small animal hospital for the summer, I’m amazed by how often things from class pop up in the clinic. So far I’ve seen a Poodle with primary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, a cat with heart failure along with diagnostic radiographs, and a Cocker Spaniel with a mitral valve murmur, all of which I learned about this past semester. It’s nice to see that the things I’m learning are actually real and that I can apply what I’ve learned to these cases.
A perfect example would be a dog that had ingested raisins. While most people don’t realize it, raisins are incredibly toxic to dogs. Since the dog had just consumed them, I knew the appropriate treatment would be to induce vomiting. I knew exactly what drug would be used and exactly how to handle the situation. After the drug was given, it was my job to keep my eye on the dog as she vomited. So for 20 minutes, I sat with her and every time she started retching, I followed her along, trying to keep the towel under her face. Fortunately, this dog didn’t develop any further issues and went home a happy dog that afternoon.
Since many of the doctors here went to VMCVM, they often talk about classes I will take in the future and things that I will learn. Just about every day I get asked if I have taken this class yet or if I have learned this yet. When my answer is no, the doctors respond by explaining to me how important something is and what the teachers really emphasize in school.
While vet school may be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, I know that my classmates and I are being trained by people who know what they are doing. We are being given the tools and skills we need to succeed, and by the end of our time at school we will have a good foundation to become great veterinarians.