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Back to your Beginnings

Check out this experience piece written by Caitlyn Freeny from Ross University.

My Trip Back Home

During my last semester break, I was fortunate enough to be able to shadow the doctors I worked for prior to coming to vet school. It was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the people that supported me in the beginning of my journey in becoming a doctor and to visit the hospital I previously called home.

My week started with a nasty pyometra surgery. I was able to scrub in and partake in hands on experience. I was fortunate to watch one of our doctors remove this while spaying the patient. It was a dream come true to scrub in next to the doctors that I look up to.  The week continued with ER cases as well as dental cases. The best part about this trip is that the majority of the cases I saw, ended up being a main focus in my Small Animal Surgery course and Small Animal Medicine II course.

It was an amazing experience to be back with my old coworkers and to see how far I have come from being the receptionist that was shy and overwhelmed on my first day back in 2014.  The San Francisco SPCA- Pacific Heights campus will always be my second home. I’ll never forget the opportunity they gave me when they hired me, as well as the encouragement they’ve offered. I’ve learned so much from the staff and I truly believe that I will be a better doctor due to their guidance.







Pyometra. Dental case with enamel hypoplasia. My coworker’s stylish dog, Lucy. ER case, HBC





Meet Pixar, a Shetland Sheepdog, belonging to Heather McFarlane from St. George's University.

PixarJingle, Jangle, I'm all tangledTropical Storm Prepared


My Patient Today by Price Dickson

A humorous poem written by Price Dickson from University of Illinois.


My Patient Today


My patient today tried to bite me

Though these pills will make him feel better

His jaws I must pry, though his teeth make me cry

And my hand looks like it’s been through the shredder

My patient today sunk her claws in

With hissing and urine to spray

She flies off the table, to catch her I’m not able

I’m not getting a TPR today

My patient today knocked me over

With an e-collar straight to the knee

He ran to the door as I fell to the floor

And THAT’s when he started to pee.


My patient today tried to kick me

A thousand pounds of angry hooves

Though he is quite ill

He is ready to kill

I sure hope his condition improves…

My client today called me names

And worse she tried to imply

The bill is too steep and we’re obviously creeps…

Is she trying to make me cry?

My patient today gave me kisses

That cat purred when I walked in the door

The pup ate his food, no clients were rude

Now I remember what I’m doing this for.



A picture is worth a thousand words

Check out these amazing photographs taken by Jessica Schult from University of Illinois. 


ZebraNepalese Streets


The Expanding Field of Integrative Medicine

Thank you to Tiffany Murphy from Ross University for sharing with us her experience working with a rehabilitaion clinic.

The Expanding Field of Integrative Medicine

Primum non nocere can be translated to, “first, do no harm”. While this phrase is short, it is what I believe to be the most important phrase in veterinary medicine. Our primary goal is to cure disease and prevent or alleviate suffering. While traditional medicine solves most problems, sometimes the normal routes are not an option and clients wish to seek other modalities. At Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation, Fitness & Pain Management (GVR) veterinarians are able to provide acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic, laser therapy, and rehabilitation to help promote healing after surgery, weight loss for a better quality of life, and pain management for temporary or non-curative diagnosis. The facility also provided the ability to get casts and carts fitted to animals in need.

Upon initial examination, the veterinarians were able to do an orthopedic examination on each animal to determine range of motion, crepitus, pain, and swelling of each joint. They also examined the vertebrae to determine pain and misalignment as well as the limbs for conscious proprioception. Depending on the responses of the patient, the veterinarian may determine to refer the patient for radiographs, ultrasound, or bloodwork. If the patient did not need a referral, the client could elect to begin some of the modalities offered.

Laser therapy was the most commonly used modality as it is a method of alleviating pain that nearly all patients had upon visiting the clinic. Laser therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of light to penetrate the skin and promote healing by vasodilation of the blood and lymphatic vessels.

Acupuncture was another commonly used therapy because it was helpful in stimulating nerve pathways in animals with weakness or loss of function in limbs. I was able to view three different types of acupuncture: traditional acupuncture, aquapuncture, and electroacupuncture. Aquapuncture was performed using B12 injections. Traditional and electroacupuncture were set up in the same manner except for the addition of electrodes placed on needles with electroacupuncture. Both types typically consisted of 20 needles in variable locations based on specific points used to heal different parts of the body.


Finally, the most common reason people were referred to GVR or sought out the facility was in search of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation sessions were monitored to the patient’s abilities and needs. Hind limb lameness often started with the underwater treadmill where a rehabilitation therapist was able to monitor the pet’s gait and level of tiring. Once the animal became stronger, they were able to do land sessions. Land sessions consisted of weave polls, wobble boards, and other equipment that would help strengthen specific muscle groups. Forelimb lameness or weight loss animals were often placed in the pool. They would wear a float coat and a therapist would be standing with them the entire time. With both the treadmill and the pool, the patient’s time moving increased as well as their speed depending on how the animal was doing currently and how the treatment effected the pet previously if done before. Following rehabilitation sessions, the animal would be stretched to help promote a range of motion.


My experience with GVR was beneficial in giving me the opportunity to visualize modalities that are not strongly incorporated into the veterinary curriculum. The therapies I was able to observe do not work in every patient, but have minimal negative side effects. Some therapies were used alongside traditional therapies or used when traditional therapies failed. This experience also allowed me to communicate with veterinarians about cases as well as view records of patients which allowed me to incorporate western and eastern medicine. I would encourage all students to get an experience that promoted further learning in the field because it has many studies proving its effectiveness, has limited adverse effects, and many clients are seeking alternate therapies because of the risks associated with some traditional methods.


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