The Externship Project Blog

Expanding my experience, growing my confidence

Posted February 18, 2021

Four weeks of learning here at my externship have flown by! I have seen so many cases, learned so many technical skills, experienced the victories and losses within veterinary medicine, and perhaps most importantly, have felt my confidence grow.

I remember my first day. I was so nervous and felt like I could not do anything right. Then as the days went by, I quickly learned from my mistakes, studied what I did not know, and became more confident in my knowledge. The best example...

Highlights of my externship

Posted February 17, 2021

It is hard to believe my externship is over already. The four weeks just flew by. The most valuable part of my externship was the knowledge I learned when helping during patient cases. I thoroughly enjoy working with clients and their pets to ensure that each animal gets the best care possible.

This was the first time I had ownership over cases and was able to speak with clients as a veterinarian (with supervision of course). I learned a great deal about common conditions in companion animals such as otitis, inflammation of the external ear canal, and allergic skin disease and got to snuggle some adorable puppies and kittens for wellness examinations...

The value of mentorship

Posted February 16, 2021

While the mandatory externship serves as the first real clinical immersion for many fourth year veterinary students, it can be easy for both ourselves and the people we work with to forget that we are very much still learning. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that a good clinician knows that learning takes place every day until retirement. There is a lot of pressure felt by veterinary students, who are frequently ‘type A’, self-critical personalities. Thankfully, the doctors and staff at Mildmay Veterinary Clinic were..

Pearls of practicing preventative medicine

Posted February 11, 2021

As student veterinarians, we are eager, we are curious, and we are excited! We like to be a part of all the interesting cases and try to brainstorm what could possibly be wrong with that mystery patient. I have certainly been guilty of this here at my externship! But time and time again, I have been reminded of the importance of those “simple” yearly wellness appointments. I say “simple” because they usually do not come with any exciting medical history, or vague clinical signs that need to be investigated. But “simple” most definitely does NOT mean...

Not everything is as it seems

Posted February 10, 2021

Marbles, a 15-year-old tortoiseshell cat, presented at the clinic for a distended abdomen. She was eating and drinking normally with no other complaints. From a distance, she looked almost overweight. When palpating her abdomen, a large and firm mass was felt on her right side that seemed uncomfortable when touched. (Client consent was provided to include info and photos)

Upon completing a radiograph, a large, round structure was identified in her right abdomen with a soft tissue opacity. The right kidney could not be identified. An ultrasound was performed which identified the left kidney and a large, fluid filled mass in the right abdomen. Whenever you see a large mass in an older animal, cancer is something to keep on your list of differentials, a list of possible conditions or diseases that could be causing...

Practice makes…progress

Posted February 9, 2021

As mentioned earlier, veterinary medicine is not always confined to the common image of cat and dog appointments. Because I intend to practice mixed, i.e. companion animals, small ruminant animals such as sheep and large animals such as cows, I wanted to ensure some practice with large animal procedures, including ‘herd health’. This is a term used to describe the regular monitoring of production animals – often dairy cows, but certainly others as well – for calf health, growth, pregnancy, gestation stage, postpartum condition and overall...

Connections in veterinary medicine and human medicine

Posted February 4, 2021

Being a veterinarian was my dream for as long as I can remember. When I was young, it seemed like it was the perfect career because I loved animals. As I made my way through high school and university I came to realize that it was not only my love of animals that was driving me to pursue a career as a veterinarian, but also my interest in biology and medicine, whether that be human medicine or animal medicine.

I think the similarities between the human and animal medical fields may take some people by surprise. Many human diseases can also be found in animals, and the diagnostic tests, the medications, and treatment therapies are also very similar. In today’s post...

Practice makes perfect

Posted February 3, 2021

In the second week of my externship, I was assigned to perform spay surgeries on three cats from the local humane society. A spay surgery, also called ovariohysterectomy, is the removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female dog or cat.

It was great to put on my surgical cap (figuratively) and be able to perform surgery with a mentor to give me feedback. I was apprehensive about tackling three surgeries in one day as someone relatively new to surgery. At the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), we are taught and examined on all aspects of surgery including sterile technique, preparation of the...

Watch, do, teach

Posted January 28, 2021

My second week at Mildmay Veterinary Clinic (MVC) was no less exciting than the first. By Monday afternoon I was already immersed in the misfortunes of yet another species, this time an adorable caprine (goat) that was “blocked”. This is a term used to describe the inability for an animal to pee, and often occurs as a result of urolithiasis, which is a fancy term for ‘stones’. Because of the shape of their urethra (the structure bringing urine out of the body), animals such as bulls and male goats are at a higher risk of developing such obstructions, which are unfortunately quite painful. The prognosis for blocked goats depends partly on the location of the...

Ready, set, externship!

Posted January 28, 2021

The day that I have been anticipating for more than a year has finally arrived. I have my white coat packed, along with my notebooks, my stethoscope, my penlight, and most definitely all my excitement and nerves! Today I start my externship! 

What exactly is an “externship”, you may be wondering? Well, let me give you a quick summary of how we get to this point in vet school first. Work endlessly in undergrad to obtain good grades and experience —> apply to vet school —> get accepted to vet school —> Phase 1: Normal Physiology —> Phase 2: Abnormal (bacteriology, parasitology, virology etc)...