Back in 2018, I did my first work experience placement at Marlow vets, a small animal practice. I went for two days- on the 22nd of September, and the 6th of October. Although this may be outside of (depending on when I apply) the three year threshold many universities have for work experience, I thought I’d record what I saw here anyway so that it’s not just sitting in my notebook!
The first thing I wrote down was an x-ray of an elderly dog in order to look for a tumor. I do remember this relatively clearly, as the dog was unfortunately euthanised the same day. Whilst this was obviously very sad, I understood that euthanasia was one of the roles of a vet prior to this, and the dog in question was incredibly old and obviously in pain, after living a full life. They had found two possible tumours during the x-ray, so it was clear that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep peacefully.
After this, I recorded that I watched a vet nurse perform urine tests for a cat, in which she found a large amount of blood present.
The next case was a cat that had suspected pelvic injuries. It had an x-ray, and it was found that there were no pelvic injuries, however there was a three week old fracture in the ankle. The cat also had lots of scrapes on her body, and the vet thought that it may have fallen or been scraped by a car, but didn’t believe that it was in a cat fight. This case made me think about the importance of technology in diagnosing issues, and think about future possibilities in the world of veterinary technology.
The last thing I observed was a dog having it’s claw removed under anaesthetic, which was very interesting to watch as the vet nurse explained how the anaesthetic was administered and monitored.
The second day I was there started with a full body x-ray of a cat, which was a good anatomy lesson for me! It was found that the colon was clogged with faeces, so the cat was treated with an enema and rehydrated.
Next, I recorded that a rabbit came in with a flystrike (myaisis), which can be serious for rabbits and possibly fatal. Luckily, this one was caught quickly and the rabbit recovered well after the area was washed thoroughly.
My last, and possibly most memorable experience there, was a dog that had eaten half a bar of 70% dark chocolate! He was given soda crystals to make him vomit, and I will always remember putting him on a lead and rushing outside as quickly as possible, and cleaning up pools of brown, chocolate scented puke after he was done! Fortunately, the dog was fine afterwards.
My first official work experience was incredibly interesting, and I learnt so much about the day to day workings of a clinic. All of the x-rays performed were particularly fascinating, and I think I did a good job of cleaning the clinic, washing up and retrieving equipment for the vets and vet nurses. However, I could have improved by being more confident and asking more questions- it was my first time, and I was only 13, so I was a bit nervous!