Every month, Vet Record Careers checks in with fourth-year vet student Rosie Perrett.
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The start of my summer break was packed with placements – equine, farm, small animal and public health too. During these, I encountered every weather system possible, from a heatwave to winter weather – all in June.
Placements began with two weeks’ equine practice with my own vet, who helped treat and manage my old horse’s respiratory problem. I already knew he would be great vet to work with.
I organised the two weeks during the principle breeding season for horses and improved my reproductive and breeding knowledge. The experience involved lots of rectal examinations, ultrasound and artificial insemination. One thing I hadn’t appreciated was the amount of driving involved in routine first-opinion equine practice, and in all honesty it has made me reconsider becoming an equine vet. However, the emergency, breeding and lameness work-ups I found interesting, so, who knows?
I spent the heatwave in waterproofs at a local farm animal practice. I had never really considered being a farm animal vet – the only contact I’d had with sheep and cows involved my vet school placements. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed routine dairy work, and now definitely consider it as one of my options. I had several ‘light bulb’ moments when rectalling dairy cows, as I started to understand and recognise reproductive structures that are essential in pregnancy diagnosis.
My ‘public health’ placement was at a local farm shop with onsite butcher and abattoir. It was truly invaluable as I saw the whole package, cow in field to burgers on the shelves all in one week. The abattoir provided me with great insight into what happens and was humbling.
My other week was spent at Heathrow’s border control inspection point as part of ‘disease surveillance’. There is lots of legislation involved and despite being not very ‘hands-on’ it’s still a veterinary option. I also now feel confident that I know the requirements for animals entering the country.
My final two weeks in small animal practice gave me the chance to do my first cat castrate and spay, and my second dog castrate. Overall, I was pleased with myself, even if my incision for the cat spay did go slightly wonky.
I was hitting the cephalic and jugular veins first time and gained confidence in basic clinical skills, such as intubating for anaesthesia as well as improving my pharmacology.
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