Large Animal Emergency Rotation

Sorry for the delay guys!

After this rotation, I jumped straight into Internal Medicine (very rigorous rotation), which meant no time whatsoever for me to write a post for my blog.  I thoroughly enjoyed this LA rotation!  Before taking it, I was a little scared that my body would not get used to a night shift schedule.  The schedule consists of coming at 5pm for discussions related to large animal medicine (“topic rounds”) and then staying until midnight waiting on emergencies.  In the meantime of waiting, we do treatments every hour until midnight for all the inpatients in the large animal section of the hospital.  The majority of emergencies that came in the middle of the night were horses suffering with colic (abdominal pain) or limb injuries, but we also saw cows, goats, and alpacas.

After midnight, you were still not off the hook.  If I was ever a primary or secondary student that night, I was on call until 8am.  Although very tired on some occasions, those were the best times I experienced observing very fascinating surgeries!  Surgeries could last up to 4-5 hours, but it was worth every minute learning from the doctors operating on the patient.  Also the best thing about being the student on call is that you are working one-on-one with the doctors and residents.  I love learning this way instead of with a large group because you are personally discussing the case with the doctors.  If I answer a question wrong, I will never forget the answer that is being corrected.  I almost felt like an apprentice being mentored instead of just a student being hand fed with knowledge on a board or screen.  Trust me when I say you learn so much more in clinical rotation than in a classroom.

During the rotation, I noticed that I was getting more rest than I thought I would.  Since there were three of us, the third person who was not on call had the day off every third day. Loved it!  If there were no emergencies that day, you had midnight til 5pm the next day free!  The breaks were wonderful, and it gave me more time to rest and study other veterinary material.

Two doctors (one in Oncology and the other in LA Emergency) have encouraged me to begin understanding certain drugs and their mechanism of action.  This is very important everyone for your veterinary career.  The quicker you can identify and use a drug for a patient, the better and efficient your practice will be run.  I have already began writing the frequently used drugs I’ve come across in each rotation I have already went through.  I have the drug name, dosages, mechanism of action, and side effects written out in my composition notebook.

 Here’s what other people had to say about it!

(What was Orientation Day like?)

-Orientation for LA Sx, Medicine, and Emergency lasted from 8am til 12pm

-Orientation lasted from 8am til 12pm then you either start working (Medicine and Surgery) or come back for your 5pm shift on Emergency

(Average Daily hours on duty?)

-It is 100% dependent on emergencies. M-F, everyone comes at 5pm for barn rounds, then Epstein or Williams does rotation rounds at 6pm unless there is an emergency. Epstein gives a list of topics to study. If you are primary or secondary on call, you stay til midnight M-F, and are on call the rest of the night til 8am. You help with hourly treatments til midnight when you are there, giving meds, feeding, etc. If you are not on call, you can peace out after rounds and get home around 8pm or 8:30pm. Weekends you are on call primary for 12 of the hours and secondary 12 of the hours. Technically you could be there 24 hours but that is rare. The hours also depend on how many people are on with you.

-5pm -midnight weekdays, during this time you are doing hourly treatment and taking in any incoming emergencies. you are responsible for 7am treatments for any cases you took in. Then you are off all day until 5pm.

(What is the attire?  When do you change into scrubs?)

-barn attire to wear, extra barn attire to change into in case you get poo on you, and scrubs in case of emergency after hours surgery. Bring it in a bag and leave it in field services room. Stethoscope. tool belt with: thermometer, yellow highlighter, sharpie, pen, small notebook, and ID badge.


-barn attire, but always have a pair of scrubs with you

(What do doctors/residents/techs constantly harp on?)

-preparing for topics, using your brain to think through things instead of memorizing stuff, being on time, being enthusiastic, and you get to do lots of hands on stuff: pass tubes, catheters, and draw blood, and belly taps. They are really great about teaching you, and you will be so glad you took this rotation!

-They want you to look at the cases that are in the barn, and research diseases/ drugs you do not know about. They want you to take the initiative while you are waiting on emergencies.

(What are some struggles to watch out for?)

-the variability- you could be there only 6 hours or you could be there 16 hours, so prepare for both. If you are not a night owl, this one will be tough for you, bc you will need to sleep during the day.

-can have some long nights, but your days are always free


(Words of encouragement)

-lots of hands on! A really fun rotation that I would recommend to SA people to take instead of internal med.

(Difficulty Level (1-3)? 1= It’s a breeze/ 3= really difficult workload)

1/3 on nights without emergencies, 2-3/3 on emergencies.

Through Him!


Daniel 12:3 

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”


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