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Captain Gatsby S. Trouble

Check out these wonderful peices by Snighdha Paul from Western University. 

Captain Gatsby S. TroubleTQ


Where the Mate and cattle never end

Uruguay Veterinary Experience -

Where the Mate and cattle never end

by Robert Stenger

Mississipi State University, CVM

Becoming a veterinarian is an aspiration that came later to me than many of my peers. After high school I left West Virginia and the family farm to attended Denison University - majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a wildlife biologist or ecologist. I thoroughly enjoyed the material and studying biology, but by the end of my senior year having been away from the farm for a few years I realized I would like to find a way to combine my interest in biology with livestock. Veterinary medicine seemed like the perfect fit, and I have not looked back yet. I was able to do a fair bit of traveling before veterinary school having traveled to Australia, the Republic of Georgia, and across the USA on a four-month motorcycle trip to Alaska. I figured that it would be the end of my travels once I entered veterinary school; boy was I mistaken. Mississippi State has  been amazingly supportive of international travel providing travel grants and working with students to establish international connections. In the summer of 2016, I went to Uganda for six-weeks to work on an international research collaboration investigating mountain gorilla internal parasites; I just returned from spending a month in Uruguay; and within the next year I have plans to travel to Romania and Australia. Rather than closing the door on my passion for travel, veterinary medicine has opened more doors for me. It is an ideal combination, as I can travel and work with livestock and farmers while I do it, giving me the best of both.
My family has a cattle and sheep which is the root of my passion for livestock medicine and also is how I started down the path that culminated in me spending a month working in Uruguay. My father showed me an article about a veterinary, Dr. Juan Scalone, from Uruguay who had visited sheep farms in Ohio. I tracked down his contact information, and then arranged for him to visit me and Mississippi State’s veterinary school and my family’s farm. We talked a lot about veterinary medicine, agriculture, and my passions and goals. He became a mentor for me. Although he now lives in Italy, he worked to set up an experience in Uruguay for me. He put me in contact with some of his family there and farmers that were his past clients. After about a year and a half of planning I had everything ready and set off for Uruguay. Well almost everything, I worked as best I could to learn Spanish before arriving to Uruguay, but with school and everything going on I wasn’t able to progress as much as I would have liked.
I arrived early in the morning to the international airport after having short layovers in Miami and Bogota. I would spend the first couple days with a friend in the capital city, Montevideo, before heading to the interior to work. Uruguay, roughly the size of North Dakota, has a population of about 3.4 million with over a third of that located in and around Montevideo. I stayed in Montevideo for just a few days before catching a bus for Salto, a town located on the River Uruguay which serves as the border with Argentina. Uruguay is a country very dependent on agriculture; it has the highest beef production per capita of any country. The country is divided by the Rio Negro with the land south of it more fertile and used more intensively while the land to the north is generally less productive and used for more extensive livestock grazing. I spent most of my time working on large expansive ranches of beef cattle and sheep.
A two day intrauterine insemination course at the University of Uruguay San Antonio Campus and Farm. Inseminating a Merino ewe.
The first day in Salto I woke up at 4:30am and drove a couple hours north to the border with Brazil. I was with three veterinarians and our job for the day was to bleed 1,400 head of cattle for brucellosis testing. Not that bleeding cattle is the most technically challenging task, but when you do that many it helps you get quicker for sure, so I appreciated the experience. We had three, and a half, veterinarians going full bore, and a handful of gauchos keeping the chute full for us. It took us all day, but we finished. It was a hot and smelly ride back to town that evening. There is a big difference between Spanish when you are meeting someone for coffee or at the airport versus when you are working cattle. The accents of the people in northern Uruguay, especially the farm workers are very challenging and the content was filled with slang and technical farm jargon that I’d not learned in my Spanish courses. Luckily, as I told a friend, the language of working cattle is universal. For the most part the cattle in Uruguay act and react the same way as cattle in the USA, so I felt comfortable working cattle because my lack of fluency in Spanish was compensated by my proficiency in cattle handling. While in Uruguay, I also got experience in ultra-sounding pregnancy in cattle, processing calves, feedlot management, and even a two-day course on intrauterine insemination of sheep. I spent four days working on the ranch of the family I was staying with. They saddled up some Creole horses and asked if I had ridden before. In the past ten years I have probably been on a horse for a combined hour. They asked if I knew how to ride, I honestly said yes, but I think they may have been more hesitant to let me ride if they knew the limited extent of my experience. Over the next couple weeks in Uruguay I would spend many days working cattle and sheep by horseback. It like many things during my time in Uruguay was trial by fire. I was able to gain a lot of technical experience and learn some tricks about handling livestock, but the most significant result of the experience were the connections I made and relationships I built.
Three Gauchos; from left to right: Robert Stenger, Alvaro the farm worker, and Manual Brites, the farm owners son. Rounding up cattle and sheep for vaccinations and deworming.
To describe all the people I met and the experiences I had in Uruguay is not in the scope of this short essay, but the kindness and hospitality shown to me was truly remarkable. The household I stayed with treated me as part of the family. I was able to work on their farm, go to the pool with their teenage son, and go grocery shopping with the mother. The children spoke some English but most all our conversation were in Spanish. It greatly improved my language skills and appreciation for the daily life in Uruguay to be immersed like this in a family. Along with many others, I hope will visit me in the USA, the family had two sons in their twenties. One is a veterinary student and one an agronomist. I told them they both need to take English lessons, so they can come stay with me. I will likely be settling down into a rural large or mixed animal practice and taking over my family farm in West Virginia. This means I will not have much time to travel. My hope is that I will have enough friends from Uruguay and my other travels who will visit me. That way it will feel like I am traveling even when I am working at home.

Puppy-dog eyes

We start this issue of The Vet Gazette off with a cutest pet submission winner. Avery Goho, from North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, shares this cutie with us. Those eyes will melt you heart faster than the burning fire behind her.


"Mia, the sweetest little beggar you ever did see. Good luck saying no to those eyes!”


NAVLE Survey Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the NAVLE Survey! Thank you to all the students who completed the survey to provide helpful advice for future students taking the NAVLE.  We wish all new graduates the best of luck as they enter into this new phase of their veterinary careers. Stay tuned in the next few months for a summary of the study advice given by the recent graduates!  

Sarah Kooy (Ohio State)

Taylor Powell (Texas A&M)

Courtney Dewlaney (Oregan State)

Alexandra Easton (Michigan State)

Samantha Wong (Atlantic Veterinary College)


The NAVLE survey is sponsored by SAVMA's Education and Professional Development Committee for fourth year veterinary students after they have taken their national exam. The goal is for succeeding student to be able to read the survey results as they themselves prepare for the NAVLE. 



WINN and AAFP Scholarship Recipients



Awards support the success of veterinary students who focus on feline clinical practice and research science that are vital to the future of feline medicine and welfare.

[Wyckoff, NJ; Hillsborough, NJ; May 24, 2018] Winn Feline Foundation (Winn) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are proud to announce the two recipients of the 2018 joint scholarships for clinical practice and clinical research scientist.


Both recipients show exceptional promise: Nicole Rowbothan, a junior at Mississippi State University, was awarded the clinical practice scholarship; Courtney Meason-Smith, a junior at Texas A & M University, was awarded the clinical research scientist scholarship. Ms. Rowbotham aspires to obtain her ABVP certification in feline practice and become the owner of a feline-exclusive hospital. Ms. Meason-Smith is eager to develop an independent research career investigating histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis in cats and is developing novel diagnostics and therapeutics to address these conditions.


“Both Nicole and Courtney have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills that have led to many early accomplishments; their zealous pursuit of understanding the unique needs of cats through science will open many doors to them as veterinarians and to the welfare of cats. We aim to support and highlight their enthusiasm for feline medicine so that others will continue on the same path,” said Vicki Thayer, DVM, DABVP (Feline) and Executive Director of Winn.


In 2016, the Boards of Directors of both Winn and the AAFP approved the development and implementation of a joint scholarship offered by the two leading feline-dedicated organizations. After an unprecedented number of applicants and positive feedback from veterinary education programs, the boards decided to continue offering this opportunity, expanding the selection to two recipients in the categories of clinical practice and clinical research scientist. The application process prompted students to answer two essay questions explaining their specific interest and background in feline health and welfare, as well as their plans for future participation in feline medicine. Recipients of the $2,500 scholarships are selected based on individual academic achievement, strong leadership, and deep dedication to the study of feline medicine, health, and welfare. For more information, visit:

“We are all impressed by the dedication shown by Nicole and Courtney at such early stages in their careers,” said Heather O’Steen, CAE and Chief Executive Officer of the AAFP. She continues, “Their passion for clinical practice and clinical research, respectively, has already led to phenomenal success in the health and welfare of felines. We’re excited about what they will bring to the future of feline medicine and research.”

The AAFP and Winn are both dedicated to advancing and enhancing standards in feline care. AAFP has numerous resources for veterinary students, such as discounts to the AAFP Annual Conference, and practical resources housed in the Student Center on its website, which includes complimentary webinars and a toolkit for veterinary students. The toolkit contains materials to help veterinary students embrace a feline perspective and obtain further knowledge about the standards needed to elevate care for cats. Winn also offers various educational resources on its website, including the Cat Health News Blog, educational articles, podcasts, videos, and an annual continuing educational symposium. Information regarding research grant awards and cat health study findings are also available on the website or through subscribing to the monthly e-newsletter. Other educational opportunities from Winnand the AAFP can also be found on each website.



About Winn Feline Foundation

Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies to improve cat health. Since 1968, Winn Feline Foundation has funded over $6.4 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions worldwide. This funding is made possible through the support of dedicated donors and partners. Research supported by Winn Feline Foundation helps veterinarians by providing educational resources that improve treatment of common feline health problems and prevent many diseases. Grants are awarded at least twice yearly with the help of the foundation’s expert review panel. For further information, go


About the American Association of Feline Practitioners 

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence, which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at

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