Sometimes I find myself feeling a little lost in the small animal hospital after having spent so much time working with horses and large animals. But last week when I was on dermatology, we received a request for a consultation on a horse. I was so excited and of course jumped at the opportunity to be the fourth-year student on that case.
It was a case of pastern dermatitis, more commonly known as scratches, on a large draft horse. What surprised me is that the clinicians and residents who are normally so confident at examining the most ornery cat or dog were a little nervous about handling a large draft horse. I was in my element though, and the patient was very well behaved, so all went well. Better yet, I knew quite a bit about the condition, so I was able to provide a plan for possible causes of the dermatitis, diagnostic strategies, and treatment — something that does not usually come as easily or naturally to me when addressing small animal cases.
I felt really useful on the case, and the slightly uncomfortable looks on the faces of the doctors and interns were familiar because they looked a lot like how I feel in some small animal appointments. It reminded me that especially in veterinary school clinics, veterinary medicine can be a team sport in which we all use our strengths for the team’s success.