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My summer in the lab: the swift death of my research career

By: Christine Zewe

Louisiana State University, Class of 2013

My summer started off much like most of my veterinary school experiences:  I, eager student, full of enthusiasm, entered unknown territory with a determination to succeed!  I was convinced that my well-researched, expertly designed project was going to make an indelible mark on science and possibly propel me down the path of “super-important science researcher/disease curer.”  Alas, as vet school is wont to do (and with expert precision, I might add), I was humbled.  And when I say humbled, I don’t just mean “knocked down a peg,” or “slightly ego-bruised,” I mean pure, abject failure.  Okay, I hyperbolize, but it felt like it at the time.

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There's a First for Everything

By: Megan Cassels-Conway

University of Georgia, Class of 2012

A first-hand account of Ruffian Equine Medical Center’s first extern and her first experience with orthopedic surgery

When you first get to an externship, you don’t really know what to expect. Of course, you’ve done your research- read the website, looked at brochures and talked to other students who have been there.  But what if you are the practice’s very first extern? How do you know what to expect?

            When I was looking for externships, a friend had told me about a new equine hospital that was being built in Long Island, NY. Living in northwest Pennsylvania, where I am originally from and spend my holidays and summers, there are no equine hospitals for hours. In fact, there are no equine vets at all within 90 minutes. Potential surgeries are taken five hours to the University of Pennsylvania or four hours to Cornell University Veterinary Schools. With the severe lack of opportunities for a hopeful equine surgeon, I was excited to hear about a state-of-the-art equine hospital being built five hours away.

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The Wide Open Range

By: Elizabeth Homerosky

The Ohio State University, Class of 2012

Here are some shots from Elizabeth's trip out to Montana and Wyoming working on some cattle ranches. 


A New Look at Vaccines

By: Laura Stoeker

North Carolina State University

Our companion animals are routinely vaccinated against infectious diseases that target the respiratory, intestinal, and reproductive tracts, collectively known as mucosal tissue. Veterinarians typically inject vaccines into the muscle, leading to a system-wide immune response. However, recent research suggests that vaccine effectiveness may be improved by administering a vaccine at the pathogen’s point of entry, leading to a stronger local immune response that may prevent initial entry of the pathogen into the host.

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Some Extra Ultrasound Experience

By: Sarah Spiegelman

Colorado State University

The year before I applied for vet school, my pre-veterinary advisor informed me that my resume was lacking in the area of food animal medicine. Now, I eat meat and I have a leather jacket, but apparently she thought I should work with a live cow before I could expect veterinary school to accept me.  I went home feeling dejected and cursing the world of ruminants.  A few days later, I received an email that a local beef rancher was looking for a student worker with experience in ultrasound.  Perfect! After a semester out at the equine reproduction lab, how hard could this be? I figured that palpating a cow couldn’t be that different from a horse, so I sent back a reply and a resume.

I got to the feedlot and found where I needed to be.  The manager helped me get oriented with their ultrasound machine. The ranch hands were all ready, brought in the first cow and loaded her in the squeeze chute. Meanwhile, I had come prepared and I pulled out my long palpation glove and lubed up my arm. But when I saw the cow, something wasn’t right.  Because instead of a cow, there stood an unmistakable and very male, Angus bull. Dangling participles and all.  Now, I figured the other workers were pulling a prank on the newbie, so I laughed it off and waited for them to bring a cow in next. Five ranch hands stood staring at my gloved and lubricated arm. One of them started giggling and asked, “Where do you plan to put that?”

After much confusion, me staring at testicles and dripping lube all over the room and five grown cowboys laughing themselves into tears, I came to find out that I had been hired for meat quality ultrasounding. Apparently, feedlots ultrasound their beef cattle to determine the condition of choice meat cuts, looking for marbling and other factors.  The boss explained that they had really intended to hire someone with experience in this type of ultrasound technique, so they wouldn’t be able to keep me on.  He did however allow me to come watch over the next few weeks to learn about working with beef cattle. I got my food animal experience after all.