When I was making my fourth year schedule, I found myself having an awkward week off in between rotations and decided to change that by trying to add in a rotation. Well, to my surprise there was a seat available in Swine Medicine, so I said “Why not?!” I signed up for swine and was excited to add a pretty random rotation into my schedule. I have worked with some pigs in my past, mostly hobby farms and family who have had them, but I had never seen anything in terms of industrial swine production.
Well, wouldn’t you know, I ended up loving that rotation! I learned so much from it, about stuff I didn’t think I’d spend time in my fourth year learning. We spent a lot of time talking about the different diseases that affect swine, different aspects of herd management, biosecurity, and may other topics. It definitely was a good review for my NAVLE, but it also was a good review of critical thinking and applying what we’ve learned in school. Our professor always made us work through the problems and sent us home to follow up on information we talked about, which I actually did with enthusiasm. Swine medicine is a really interesting mix of public health, economics, medicine, welfare, and problem solving, and it just made sense.
In addition to the lecture/rounds format, we spent some time out on farms, where we got hands-on experience performing health checks, handling, drawing blood (which I am awful at on pigs–sorry piggies), pregnancy diagnosis, and more. I also got a first-hand look at how farms are run, the strict biosecurity measures they practice, and what disease outbreaks look like. It was just so much more than I was expecting, and I really only wished that it had been longer! Take a step outside of your comfort zone every now and then, and it might surprise you.