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SAVMA Symposium Insight

Michalina Kenig from Ross University shares with us her experience at last year's Symposium held at Texas A&M. We hope you consider attending this coming Symposium at UPenn for an experience just as fulfilling as Michalina's.  


The SAVMA Symposium is a unique experience, it allows for veterinary students from multiple veterinary schools across the United States and the Caribbean join together and have the opportunity to interact and network.


The symposium this past year was held at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. Never having attended a SAVMA Symposium, nor Texas, I figured this was the ideal year to attend. The days were filled were a variety of guest speakers, wet labs, as well as various day trips.


My most memorable moment from the trip was the Emergency Procedures wet lab that I was fortunate enough to attend. During this wet lab groups of 3 were able to perform a variety of emergency and life-saving procedures on fresh cadavers. These procedures included placing a central line, esophagostomy tube placement, performing a thoracocentesis, intraosseous catheterization, performing a tracheostomy, and placing a urinary catheter. A board certified emergency and critical care specialist demonstrated the procedure for us and then it was our turn to perform the procedure we had just observed. However, when assistance was needed, the specialists were more than willing to help guide us and help us perfect our technique. Within our group, we had different skill sets, therefore we were able to help each other with various aspects of the procedures. For example, one of the other members of the group was not familiar with suturing, therefore I was able to assist her with holding the instruments and proper technique.


Overall, the symposium was a wonderful experience. I would like to thank the SCAVMA board at Ross University for the opportunity to attend this symposium. Also, I would recommend every veterinary student attend in order to learn from experts, network with veterinarians and veterinary students, and create a memorable experience. 


SAVMA Symposium 2018 - Early Registration Closes Friday

Early Registration = $90

Monday, November 6th @ 9AM - Friday, December 1st @ 4PM CST

Normal Registration = $90

Monday, December 11th @ 9AM - Friday, February 2nd @ 4PM CST

Late Registration = $105

Monday, February 5th @ 9AM - Friday, March 2nd @ 4PM CST

 Register at 

Use the code STUD18 to register as a student

(you must be a current dues paying SAVMA member to register)


Hiker's Heart

Braelyn Bankoff from University of Pennsylvania sent in this beautiful "Hiker's Heart". Doesn't it just make you want to go hike your heart out and be one with nature.


Warm Heart of Africa

Read this wonderful experience piece written by Hana Henry from University of Tennessee about her externship at the Lilongwe Wildlife Center in Malawi.

  Over the summer, I spent two and a half weeks in the “Warm Heart of Africa” working as a vet extern at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) in Lilongwe, Malawi. The LWC is a wildlife sanctuary that is home to approximately 200 animals on average, most of whom are primates. LWC is recognized for having some of the highest welfare standards in Africa and is able to maintain a high level of care for both their rehabilitating and resident animals. Although it’s located in the bustling capital, LWC sits on a 180-hectare wildlife reserve that provides a home for numerous urban wildlife species and also serves as an important conservation education center for the country’s schoolchildren and public. Truly, this was a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity for me because I was exposed to two very different sides of wildlife medicine.
My first week I took part in LWC’s rehabilitation course that welcomes students from all over the world. We had lectures covering a range of topics including parasitology, triage, orphan care, preventative medicine, and the rehabilitation process from intake to release. I even learned how to do behavioral observations on primate troops and use a blow dart during some of our practical workshops! [My aim needs some serious work though…] As part of the course, we also traveled to Kuti Wildlife Reserve where we practiced our radio-telemetry tracking skills and helped conduct population surveys on zebras. Once the course ended, I was able to work in all of the different areas of the Centre. I collected browse for the antelopes and learned to chop food with a machete with the animal care team. I helped prepare milk to feed my two baby primate charges (a yellow baboon and blue monkey) with the orphan care team. My favorite time at LWC was spent in the veterinary clinic where the wonderful sanctuary vet not only tested our knowledge of fecal parasites and suturing skills, but also, turned every opportunity into teaching moment. During the regular quarantine health checks, she made sure to give us as much hands-on experience as possible and assigned us each a task monitoring anesthesia, drawing blood, etc. The time I spent working with each of the different teams gave me insight into the daily life of a wildlife veterinarian in the sanctuary and rehabilitation setting. I found it to be hectic and challenging, but also extremely rewarding each time I realized my volunteered time might help an animal to return to the wild.
In addition to working closely with the sanctuary vet, I also got the chance to work with the head veterinarian in charge of the Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU), a mobile unit that serves all of Malawi’s national parks and reserves. As vet externs, we were able to go out on a 3-day WERU call to Thuma Forest Reserve with the goal to dart a juvenile hyena that had a snare caught around its neck. This was simply one of the most amazing experiences of my professional career so far! For two nights, we went out with the reserve’s manager, rangers, and the research team of Carnivore Research Malawi and did a call-in. We used rotting dead goat bait and the recorded calls of various prey species and hyena vocalizations in an attempt to lure the hyena pack close enough to dart our target juvenile. It was a lot of silently waiting around being as still as possible and the excitement did wear off after a few hours, but I found it very peaceful and surreal. Each time I looked outside the rover’s windows, there were massive Baobao trees framed against a night sky filled with the most brilliant stars I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, we were not able to capture and treat the hyena, but this taught me how wildlife work out in the field is often unpredictable! I learned the importance of being flexible and how to always stay on your toes with a back-up to your back-up plan. However, the trip to Thuma was definitely not a complete waste - we went on a half-day hike through the forest reserve hunting for hyena tracks and I saw my first elephants in the wild! Thuma’s manager said that we couldn’t come all the way to Africa and not see elephants so she asked her rangers to take us out on our final morning to view them from a distance. It was so incredible to observe these magnificent creatures roaming free in the wild and was an adventure that will always stay with me. Finally, since we were truly out in the African bush with no electricity or running water, me and my friends were put to the survival test. None of us minded the open air bush shower with its refreshingly cool water or lack of technology, but we were surprised to learn that we could in fact cook a rudimentary meal for eleven people over an open fire. All of us were more or less ‘city’ girls who never learned to cook properly and were quite proud of this relatively small accomplishment. Working at LWC solidified my goal to become a wildlife veterinarian and work in the field of conservation medicine during my career. I recognize that it will be a challenging road and will take many years, but I am now more determined than ever to strive for my dreams. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity which would not have been possible without the support of the International Veterinary Experience Committee! Zikomo kwambili (Thank you very much) IVEC, the team at LWC, and the lifelong friends I made along the way - someday, I will return to work for conservation in Africa!

What could make Monday Better.....

Meet one of our cutest pet contest winners, Decker. Sophie Mercer from North Carolina State University was gracious enough to share pictures of her hansome fella with us.

"Make sure you get my good side""Squirrel!""I don't quit when life gets tough, I stick with it"

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