We’re well into spring, although it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I don’t know about you, but personally, I am sick of the cold and snow. Fortunately, during my travels I missed most of the bad weather and just dealt with the aftermath.
The last month has been a lot of fun. I had four weeks of externships which took me to Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. It was especially nice because these were vacation blocks for me, so I just got to hang out with vets and didn’t have to write any reports or log skills as I did for previous externships.
My first week was spent in Indiana with Drs. Jeff Harker and Max Rodibaugh. I visited several independent producers, as well as worked with some 4-H/FFA show pig operations. I found it interesting that Indiana did not appear to have a major integrated swine company presence, which is in stark contrast to Iowa and other areas of the country I have visited.
After my travels to Indiana, I spent two weeks with Suidae Health & Production in Iowa. The first week was spent at their Lake City clinic. Lake City is only 15 miles from my home, so it was nice to spend evenings with family and friends in Rockwell City. Due to some scheduling issues, I spent some time in the small animal clinic. Although companion animals aren’t my favorite animals to work with, I did assist with several surgeries (neuter, splenectomy, etc.).
The second week I spent with the Suidae veterinarians in Algona, IA. I enjoyed the opportunity to ride along with Dr. Ryan Strobel especially, as he is a recent ISU graduate whom I have been friends with for several years. I was able to ask a lot of questions about getting started as a swine vet, and Ryan did a great job answering my questions.
Most recently, I traveled to Broken Bow, Nebraska and worked with Dr. Larry Coleman and the vets at Vet Care Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Coleman is well known in the swine industry for the incredibly high producing sow farms he services. These farms are weaning nearly 35 pigs/sow/year (PSY), while many systems average around 25-28 PSY. The farms are well managed and exceptional focus is spent on sows who are giving birth and day one care for baby piglets. I was also able to spend time with the cattle vets preg checking cows, performing necropsies, and going on emergency calls.
I am now just two weeks away from graduation and the excitement is building. It is exhilarating to realize my time as a veterinary student is coming to a close. It has been incredibly difficult, challenging, rewarding, and fun …. all at the same time. After spending eight years in college, the prospect of finally becoming a full-fledged veterinarian is both thrilling and daunting. It’s the end of an era, but also the start of a grand new adventure.
Here’s to new adventures,