Ontario Agriculture

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New Blog: U of Guelph OVC Vet Students Share Experiences Working With Animals In Local Clinics - Externships.



Join our DVM students as they blog all Externship long.

University of Guelph News


Diagnostics, clinical skills, problem solving, and working with clients are all critical pieces in a student veterinarian’s education. Hands-on opportunities are invaluable.

Each summer DVM students from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) delve into that practical experience at veterinary clinics across Ontario and additional locales. They visit farms to treat cows and horses, work with dogs, cats and all manner of companion animals while applying the skills they’ve studied.


Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and MRA), students must complete an eight-week Externship Course between third and fourth year in a mixed (companion and food animal or companion and equine) practice.

Ask any of the veterinarians involved in the DVM Externship and you’ll hear similar comments –they love hosting the DVM students, their enthusiasm and their knowledge of new research and techniques. They also remember being students themselves and how important this hands-on training was to their careers.


For the students, it offers a multitude of benefits – experience in client relations, practice management, applying clinical skills and the opportunity to work with both companion and food animals.

This summer, you’ll have the opportunity to tag along with five of them as they blog about their experiences.

The bloggers have diverse backgrounds: some plan to pursue companion animal medicine, some food animal practice — but all share a passion for veterinary medicine, for animal care and welfare, for their role in public health, and the opportunity to communicate their experiences this summer.

Chelsea Allan and Lindsay Oxby are both committed to food animal practice; Jodi Boyd and Michael Brown plan to pursue companion animal practice, and Jeremy Shaba has a particular interest in equine medicine.  Each will spend their summer in practices across the province and, in one case, across the Atlantic in Northern Ireland.

“The Externship Course is a critical part of the student veterinarian’s training,” says Dr. Elizabeth Stone, OVC dean. “OMAF and MRA recognize  that this hands-on training with both food animals and companion animals is vital to DVM students. Not only do they have an opportunity to apply the skills they’ve learned, they’ll do so both in a clinical setting and on farms, allowing them to practice their diagnostic and problem-solving abilities in a real-world setting.”

The Externship Course started in the mid-1980s to provide practical experience to DVM students entering their final year. More than 40 of the practices that host these students have been involved for more than 20 years – their support is critical. Not only do practitioners provide their expertise, they evaluate the students’ clinical, diagnostic and communication skills covering a set list of criteria.

“The Externship Course not only helps students transition from the academic environment to the hands-on world of veterinary medicine,” says Dr. John Tait, who co-ordinates the DVM Externship Course, “it gives them an opportunity to be part of a team providing animal care to the public, to apply the skills they’ve learned, refine their communication, technical and problem-solving skills and experience an extended realistic job preview.”

Here’s your opportunity to join these students as they put their skills to work.  Hear what they have to say about the Externship and their blogs.


Meet the students on our website at www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/externship


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