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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

Work Experience with a Large Animal Vet

This week I have been doing work experience with a large animal vet covering Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

On my first day, we went out to see two horses, one with a swollen, infected leg from a nasty cut. He had to have IV injections for the next few days, so we were back and forth visiting him for the next few days, monitoring his swelling and delivering the injections. We also visited a shetland pony that wheezed after exercise, he is being monitored and possibly scanned to identify any abnormalities.

The next day we were back to give IV to the horse with the swollen leg, and then we were busy for the rest of the day doing castrations. We spent 2 ½ hours castrating 36 bull calves at a beef farm. I was in charge of filling the syringes with the antibiotic so I guess you could say I have mastered that skill now, or at least managed to fill 36 syringes without too much disaster!

On the third day, we went to visit a pony who had been at pony camp the week before and went lame one of his front legs. The vet assessed the pony in walk and trot but was uncertain of the issue so we went back to x-ray it later. The x-rays were developed the next day and he discovered a hairline fracture in the pony’s canon bone. He will be on box rest for about 2 months but should be ok after that.

Thursday was by far the busiest day, starting off visiting two 3-month-old Kune Kune Piglets with lice. They were very cute and the one was so tiny! We stopped to test a urine sample of a laminitic horse, borderline on cushings disease, then went on to deliver an order of drugs to a stud farm. After that, we stopped by a farm of Aberdeen Angus Cattle where a calf had gone lame on his front leg. The lameness came from his shoulder which was very swollen and the vet suspected the injury was due to trauma. The last stop for the day was a dairy farm for TB testing of 4 cows due to be moved. This was particularly interesting for me as I had not seen this done before. I got to watch the guys milking the cows for a while, while the vet filled in paperwork. It’s surprising how much you can pick up from just observing a milking session for 20 minutes!

On my last day we went out to see a cat with jaundice, it was a lovely cat that loved having its tummy tickled and it seems to be getting used to having injections now. He was very well behaved! My last call with the vet was another round of TB testing, this time at a small farm where only 3 cows needed to be tested.

I had a great week with the vet and definitely learned a lot! It has really made me look forward to my next placement as I love being around the large animals… 

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