The Externship

In the evenings when not at work or organizing my trip to Egypt, I have been spending a great deal of time researching. Diligently taking notes, investigating on the Internet, talking to colleagues to get opinions on the best course of action. No, I’m not delving into the latest in diagnostics or patient care, instead I am critically examining veterinary practices around Ontario, trying to find a suitable place to spend the majority of my summer next year. During the summer between third and fourth year at the OVC, all students are required to spend a minimum of eight weeks as an extern in a veterinary clinic. Completing physical exams, minor surgeries and emergencies, this is our first chance to be true practicing veterinarians, albeit a closely supervised and highly counseled junior veterinarians! One might ask, why in the world would I be researching veterinary practices in Ontario when I have access to the group of equine veterinarians at McKee-Pownall? Because the truly tricky aspect of the summer externship is that it must be done in a clinic classified as a Mixed Animal Practice… that right, I’m not safe to hide away with my equine comrades, instead I must expose myself to bovines, swine, canines, and yes, even the dreaded ferocious “how dare you drag me into a vet clinic” feline. It’s not an easy task to find a large Mixed Animal practice in Southern Ontario, as many clinics, especially near cities, are more specialized into Food Animal, Equine, or Small Animal. To find a truly mixed practice, one must search outside their comfort zone into the rural areas of this province, which often means north, very far north. And yes, Southerners, I know what you are thinking, but there are in fact people who live north of Barrie, and they do indeed keep animals up there too. So, while next month I will be battling 120 degree Fahrenheit days in the desert heat of Egypt, I can think forward a year to practicing in areas of our great province who will still have snow in June. But I’m not quite sure that will make me feel much better.

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