My final rotation at ISU CVM was Clinical Microbiology and Diagnostic Laboratory, which was perfect for me due to an overwhelming amount of swine cases. For me, the diagnostic laboratory portion was the most beneficial to read case histories, sort through submitted tissues, and develop a prioritized differential list. This experience further emphasized the importance of providing both a thorough and relevant history, along with collecting the appropriate sample, at the appropriate time, and selecting the appropriate test. This rotation would have definitely better prepared me for my swine preceptorships, but some rotations can be more difficult to move than others.
For my final two weeks of veterinary school, I scheduled a preceptorship with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). I already had enough credits to graduate and had a long commute to the plant each day, so I elected to not receive credit for this preceptorship. As a future food animal veterinarian, I thought it was extremely important for me to spend some time in a slaughter plant. I had toured several plants during my education, but had never witnessed the day-to-day schedule of a USDA veterinarian. This actually became one of my favorite fourth year experiences again due to great mentorship. Each day, I was involved in ante-mortem inspection in the barn and post-mortem inspection along the line. I was exposed to so many carcasses in such a short amount of time that I was able to start differentiating normal variation, from common to uncommon pathology.
The past year of two-week rotations has completely flown by. I can confidently say that fourth year is the best year of veterinary school. For me, the opportunity to be involved in cases was where everything started to come together. Looking back at my education, I wish my fourth year of veterinary school was longer. Sure, the hours were long and there was a constant feeling of unpreparedness, but does being a new veterinarian feel any different? Veterinary school doesn’t teach you everything, but with some mentorship, hard work, time, and practice that unprepared feeling can slowly start to fade.
Until next time,