Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

Each summer DVM students from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph delve into hands-on, practical experience at veterinary clinics across Ontario and additional locales during their Externship Veterinary Course. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), students must complete an eight-week Externship Course between third and fourth year in a rural veterinary practice that works with food animals and/or equine, as well as companion animals. These Externship blog posts are an opportunity to tag along with students during their externship. Here student veterinarian Melissa talks about cool cases during a hot weather week. Check out all the student blogs here.

It’s been a hot week up here in Eastern Ontario! The temperatures are well into the 30s with the added bonus of humidity and not a drop of rain in sight. I’ve been coming home in the evening just exhausted from being in the heat all day and I’m not the only one who the heat is taking its toll on – our patients are feeling it too! Our dairy producers have been trying to keep their cows cool by using large fans and sprinkler systems. Many stables are bringing their horses into the barn during the day to try and keep them cool as well. It’s in weeks like this that I’m thankful for the blasting AC in the truck between calls.

For me, these hot days are tolerable because of all of the cool cases that I am involved with. Every night at dinner, my husband asks “did you see anything cool today?” and the answer is always yes! I would like to share with you the highlights of my week and you can be the judge on how cool it was!

Highlight #1: I got to assist with my first DA (displaced abomasum) surgery in a dairy cow! For the experienced dairy vet, this is a very routine procedure but for the student, firsts are always very exciting. Although it was unfortunate that the cow needed surgery, it was a good learning experience and led to some very important conversations about transition cow management. Displaced abomasums are a preventable condition so we, as veterinarians, need to work with our producers to set protocols to best manage our transition cows and get them off to a great start in their lactation.

Highlight #2: I was involved with some emergency calls which included a uterine torsion in a dairy cow, a tough calving and laceration on a horse’s foot. I am very grateful for these experiences, as emergency medicine is a big part of what a large animal veterinarian does. It was a welcome change to be involved in the fast paced, “fire engine” style of practice.

Highlight #3: One day, we went to a small hobby farm that had four Highland calves for us to castrate, ear tag and deworm. The work that we did on this farm was very routine but the calves were so fluffy and cute!  

Highlight #4: I was also involved with evaluating a newborn calf that had been stepped on by her mom. After palpating her leg we found that her foot was broken at the distal end of her metatarsal bone. Young animals have the ability to heal very quickly so we decided to wrap and splint her leg to keep it immobilized. The farmer went into his workshop made a great split out of PVC pipe which we secured in pace using lots of Vet Wrap. We also gave her some pain medication to keep her comfortable and some antibiotics to help prevent infection at the fracture sight. We will see how she does in a few weeks!

I’m looking forward to what the next week brings, until then, stay cool!

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