So, this past summer I lived in Charleston, SC where I had the opportunity to work at both a veterinary ophthalmology practice, as well as an exotic veterinary practice. It was a privilege to work for, and learn from, two board certified veterinary ophthalmologists as a veterinary assistant. I was able to observe highly specialized surgeries conducted under an operating microscope, as well as help out with other procedures and duties. This experience opened my eyes (no pun intended) to the possibility of specializing after veterinary school.
As a veterinary technician at the exotic practice, I gained an immense amount of hands-on experience taking radiographs, administering subcutaneous fluids, drawing blood, processing bloodwork and urine samples, filling prescriptions, monitoring surgery, sterilizing surgical instruments and caring for in-patients. Also, I had the privilege of handling unique pets such as bearded dragons, snakes, chameleons, lizards, rabbits, chickens, ferrets, rats, birds, and pigs. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences and am looking forward to cultivating my interest in ophthalmology and exotic/aquatic animal medicine in veterinary school.
Toward the end of the summer, I traveled to Aruba with my family where I spent a few days volunteering at the animal shelter and shadowing the local veterinarians. It was extremely humbling to discuss the differences between veterinary medicine in the US and in the Carribean islands with the practice owner and witness first-hand the island’s overpopulation problem. To combat this issue, the government has installed what the locals call a “kill cage”. Adjacent to the animal shelter is a large shed where locals are able to drop off pregnant, stray, and sick animals or unwanted puppies and kittens for the government to euthanize. I was shocked that this was what they considered their “normal”. This experience convinced me to one day (as a veterinarian) volunteer to do spay and neuter clinics in developing countries like Aruba. It would be an amazing opportunity to travel and make a difference across the globe.
Overall, it was a very busy summer!
I’m excited to get back to marine research with the CMR lab where I hope to continue pursuing my passion for the conservation of wildlife and wild places.