I've only recently started my externship in Eastern Ontario and so far it has been everything I imagined it would be plus a little extra. I will be alternating biweekly between small animal at the Hawkesbury Animal Hospital and large animal at Vankleek Hill Veterinary Services.
To start out I have been in the small animal clinic where there are at least two veterinarians at any one time and a myriad of support staff. I'm afraid that all of my time in Pennsylvania [read more here] has not 100 per cent prepared me for life in a small animal clinic. Trying to listen to a horse's heart is much different from a cat’s, in that a cat's heartbeat is sometimes 10 times faster and horses do not purr!
One of the things that I noticed immediately about the team at Hawkesbury Animal Hospital is the bond that all of them have and the general air of positivity around the clinic. There are many inspirational quotes on the walls, and some fun posters such as cat yoga and puss in boots. The first morning that I arrived everyone was discussing a clinic outing to dinner and a movie that they had all taken together. All of the veterinarians, technicians, and support staff have been with this clinic for a long time and it is easy to see why. Everyone is always willing to step in and lend a hand, whether it's getting a second opinion on a radiograph, cuddle a kitten or talk with a client.
So far the French language barrier has not been a problem at all. Most clients are very amenable to speaking in English and for those who are not, the technicians are very bilingual and able to translate for both the client and the veterinarian. I am always torn between going into appointments, watching surgery, discussing cases with the veterinarians and helping the technicians with various procedures -- there is just not enough time in the day to see and do everything!