All Roads Lead Back Home

Graduation came and went for Cassie Klostermann in 2017 and like the rest of her classmates, Klostermann packed up her bags and left Ames and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her destination – a suburb of Phoenix and a year-long internship at the Arizona Equine Medicine and Surgical Centre. There Dr. Klostermann saw a different set of equine cases from instances of colic caused by the extreme Arizona heat to rattlesnake bites.

And her patient load was much different there than here. Arabian show horses made up a significant number of the cases Klostermann saw.

But when a freak injury – she was kicked by a horse, breaking her sternum – put a damper on her young veterinarian career. So when the opportunity came for the Iowa native to return to her home state and the College of Veterinary Medicine this fall, she jumped at it.

Klostermann is once again an intern, spending a year as a large animal rotating intern in Iowa State’s Large Animal Hospital. She moves between equine and food animal cases, working in internal medicine, surgery and theriogenology.

“While I enjoy working with horses, I prefer the food animal side,” Klostermann noting that isn’t a reflection of the injury she sustained, but rather her desire to become a large animal surgeon.

She returned to Iowa State because she “liked the clinicians I had in my fourth year of vet school on both sides (equine and food animal) of the hospital.

“They’re all very good at teaching and they mentored me, allowing me to grow as a veterinarian,” Klostermann said.

Klostermann says she is still adjusting to her new role as a veterinarian in the place where she learned the trade. And it is a big adjustment going from student to teacher in such a short period of time.

“The first few weeks it was really strange hearing people call me Dr. Klostermann here instead of Cassie,” she said. “But the main difference is that I’m taking on more responsibilities than I did as a student.

“I like working with students because as a student here I had really good mentors. I’m now working to flip that script and become a mentor to the students.”

Klostermann still finds herself going back to her days as a student in the large animal hospital.

“As a fourth-year student you help get things ready and set up for procedures,” she said. “Sometimes I find myself doing that still.”

Klostermann says the Iowa State clinicians are good at forcing her out of her comfort zone and in the process, allowing her to get the valuable hands-on experience she needs if she hopes to be a large animal surgeon.

“In our fourth year, we would watch and see what happened when we were on clinics,” she said. “We didn’t have to make that decision.

“Now I have to make those decisions, but it’s great to be able to put what I’ve learned in my four years of vet school to good use.”