Shifting Gears

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As a tertiary referral center, the vet teaching hospital has some of the most complex, mystifying and challenging cases. While the vet school does it’s best to teach us about the most common diseases and conditions out in practice, often times the hands-on experience is lacking. For veterinary students looking to enter a general practice after graduating, there is a strong desire to get private practice experience during vet school…which is facilitated by preceptorships, externships and shelter medicine rotations.

With a personal interest in small ruminents and a history of small ruminant research, I decided to broaden my species horizon by taking a sheep productiton rotation. Even though I may never have a caprine or ovine patient, who doesn’t love working with adorable lambs and kids?

As one of the largest sheep ranches in the U.S., the facility we worked on was expansive. With lambing season starting up, it would be a great opportunity to get some private practice experience. The first week was just the beginning of lambing and we were left with a lot of times on our hands. Instead of rounding for 4 hours (like we would at the VTH), our instructor took the initiative to get us out in the field. After neutering a puppy, necropsying goats, tending to downed cattle, performing routine Bangs vaccinations, castrating cattle….I realized that this rotation was going to be a unique one that would leave a lasting impression. It was an experience that would open my eyes with first hand experience and paint a vivid image of just how vast the veterinary profession is.

While I wrote several blog entries during this rotation, the internet was not always cooperative. So, over the next week I will try to find time to organize and post these entries as a Shifting Gears- series.

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