TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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Started as per a conversation in the "new vet schools" thread about balancing out the bad with some good.

From those who have graduated, what are some of the highlights of your career?

And for vet students, what's been your highlight experience of vet school?

I guess I'll start with one from a vet student: This fall I was doing a shadow shift through our ECC club in the teaching hospital ICU, and had stayed a few hours past the shift end because it was a busy night and there were some interesting cases. A quill dog came in, and the intern working gave it to me as "my case". After she did an initial assessment and gave sedation, I was left to pull quills and manage the dog. When I felt the dog was too light to accomplish that safely, she trusted my judgment without question and gave more drugs. After double-checking to make sure all the quills were gone at the end, it was left up to me to determine when the dog was awake enough to go home and give the dog back to the owner. That first small hint of responsibility and her trusting my abilities to assess the patient was a major highlight for me.
 
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Lupin21

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Most recent feel good-
Family brought me a little shih tzu that they had rescued from neighbors because they noticed that she was not well taken care of and even got kicked from what they told me. They didn't have much money, but wanted to get her vaccines updated and a health check. Unfortunately, exam revealed she had busted hock ligaments, and repair really wasn't an option, especially since they were financially limited. I splinted it until I could coordinate with a fund that my clinic has to afford amputation.

It was approved and I performed my first amp all by myself. It went well and she recovered like nothing happened. She gets along great and the family was super thankful as if they had not been able to have help, she would have had to be given up to a shelter. They have a little girl that has fallen in love with this little love bug mop of a dog and pup now has a princess outfit with sparkles she proudly wears. I love to see her on check up because it had a happy ending.
 

allygator13

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Receiving sincere thank you cards and chocolates from owners whose pets I’ve euthanized. I have only ever euthanized animals while working ER since I’m not in GP, so I don’t have long-standing relationships with these people and their pets, so it means a lot that I provided them a meaningful and loving experience with their babies as they said goodbye :love:
 
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PippyPony

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I got to hang out in oncology last fall and see our new linear accelerator in action, and it is perhaps one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.

Straight out of Star Trek, with the nicest people imaginable sitting behind the controls. It made me want to be a radiation oncologist so I could fight cancer like a boss. Zap zap!

Bonus: lots of golden retrievers, which are basically made of sunshine even when they are sick.
 

allygator13

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I got to hang out in oncology last fall and see our new linear accelerator in action, and it is perhaps one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.

Straight out of Star Trek, with the nicest people imaginable sitting behind the controls. It made me want to be a radiation oncologist so I could fight cancer like a boss. Zap zap!

Bonus: lots of golden retrievers, which are basically made of sunshine even when they are sick.
Rad Onc is SO. COOL. I too was awe-struck the first time I saw the LinAc do its thing.
 

PippyPony

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Rad Onc is SO. COOL. I too was awe-struck the first time I saw the LinAc do its thing.
They rotated it and switched from electron mode to photon mode as a demo, and I was standing there next to the control panel like

68c5d187de0f2ea93e62bb410a21a3dd.gif
 

twelvetigers

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I'm just glad I found a job that I find really rewarding and that does not stress me out to the point where I can't sleep. It's not like, EASY, but it's kind of easy for me, and I value that.

The best moment of vet school is when I got that acceptance letter, not gonna lie. I mean, that's kinda sad... but I still have that damn letter and I can still 'feel' it if I hold it in my hands. I think the best thing I got from vet school (besides, you know, a DVM, which is important) are the friends I made there. I'm getting dinner with several classmates this Saturday and I can't wait to catch up and - wait for it - bitch about our jobs, except I don't have much to bitch about any more so I will just listen and shake my fist for them as they complain. The one finishing her path residency is more happy now than she was towards the beginning, so maybe she will be shaking her fist sympathetically along with me, or perhaps complaining that her kiddo isn't fond of sleep - also very valid.
 

twelvetigers

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Receiving sincere thank you cards and chocolates from owners whose pets I’ve euthanized. I have only ever euthanized animals while working ER since I’m not in GP, so I don’t have long-standing relationships with these people and their pets, so it means a lot that I provided them a meaningful and loving experience with their babies as they said goodbye :love:
See, you might understand... people are SO THANKFUL. And they need help getting through it! It's so important! If it's sometyhing you can do and not 'carry with you' then it can be very rewarding.

(This is my full time job.)
 

WildZoo

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I've seriously had so many amazing experiences during vet school I don't think I could even begin to rank them, so I'll just go with the most recent.

I ran anesthesia for a kitty with multiple comorbidities and multiple previous anesthetic events where he hadn't done so hot. We tweaked his protocol and he did so well, it was amazing. His procedure went well, he recovered well, and he gets to go home to his owners who love him so very much. That's the good stuff right there.

Another really good one was getting to work with rescued manatees at my externship. I just heard that one that was rescued while I was there and that I helped treat many many times was released back to the wild a couple days ago :love:
 

batsenecal

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The wildlife medical clinic!!! I couldnt do it this year because last year being so bad for me, I needed to focus on passing. But all the critters, from kidnapped squirrels to the bald eagles to the foxes. I jumped for joy when I got my foxes!!
 
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DVMDream

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Really good client agreed to pay for her housekeeper's puppy that came down with parvo. Dog had been in clinic 3 days already and this client was starting to feel the financial strain. She does have her own crew to take care of too. Was able to talk to clinic owners who agreed to give her a discount thus allowing puppy to stay for that last day of treatment that it really needed. The amount of relief and gratitude I got from her when I called to tell her was amazing.
 

JaynaAli

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During my internship an old sweet yellow lab came in with signs of GDV. He had already had a GDV in the past and had a gastropexy that first time, but signs suggested it again and rads confirmed. The dog had insurance but the owners didn’t want to put him through another surgery and recovery so were planning to euthanize since he was at least 12. The surgeon mentoring me mentioned we could try to tube him and see if we could get him untwisted using the tube since we suspected it wasn’t too bad of a twist because he’d had a pexy before. Offered that to the owners with the caveat that it probably wouldn’t work but if surgery wasn’t an option, we could try. At first they weren’t sure but I pointed out that we didn’t have anything to lose if the alternative was euthanasia so they gave the okay...AND IT WORKED. I got a card a week or so later thanking me for pushing them to give him a chance and they were happy to still have him around.
 

genny

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I got to do a dental on a lion when I was in school. That was pretty cool. The zoo vet let me clean the teeth since I had done it before on cats and dogs.

The first time I ever passed a ucath in a cat by myself was one of my favorite experiences so far, just because I was having so much trouble with it in the two previous cats. My boss ended up helping me with those. And then I had to do it by myself, there was no one else to bail me out. There was a lot of swearing and some frustration tears, but I got it in.
 

that redhead

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This will sound cheesy, but I have really loved connecting with my fellow vets: commiserating, working together as a team and just having someone out there who “gets it”. Another favorite feeling is when an owner and I just click and I feel like we’re giving their critter the best possible care because of it.

Another thing I love about being a vet is the constant learning. I love to challenge myself to be better at what I do, whether it’s CE or learning a new surgery or whatever. It makes me feel good to keep striving for something.
 

SnowJ

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As a student I've been shadowing a clinic that does exactly what I want to do (SA+exotics) and getting a lot of great experience; the best part being a really great mentor relationship with one of the doctors there. I've recently started to feel like I'm really on the right track to my career and it's a pretty great feeling!
 

MixedAnimals77

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Accomplishing my first solo neuter on a cat correctly without having to ask for help was fun.

The first week of vet school 1st year I was hanging around the equine barn and they were working up a lameness. I'm guessing the 4th year was nit an equine person because the clinician asked what to do next and they didnt know. Then he asked the group and I was the only one to speak up and get it right among many of my colleagues with more schooling under them.

Most recently when I went back over winter break my vet let me bandage a leg after surgery and give a new client with a puppy the heartworm spill which was super great and made me feel like a doctor. The client was also super great and wanted to do heartworm preventative so it just made it a great experience all around.

They're mostly little things but it's all just accumulation of being able to apply what I've been learning.
 

LetItSnow

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Accomplishment-wise, probably quickly/correctly dx the only strychnine toxicity I've ever seen, and then saving it. Not the most expensive case by far I've had, but it was $9000 and the owners didn't hesitate one second. Super peeps.

Also, all the 'firsts' - my first FB, first GDV, first enuc, first scope, first whatever. Stuff that is generally routine now but the 'firsts' are memorable. I still get christmas cards from the first IMHA I saved; it's pDVM sent it over as a suspected hemoabd and I established the correct dx (not a shot at the pDVM - it's way easier being the 2nd doc in line), transfused, started immunomodulatory stuff. Not a difficult case, but the fact that it was my first and the clients still send me cards sticks with me.

Um... hm. Silly one, but it still makes me laugh... I saw a nursing bitch that had tried to jump a fence and got hung up on it and ripped half of a mammary gland off. Like, it was pretty much just hanging. Owned by this crusty old farmer who, bless his soul, forked out the money for me to fix it. That rip went clear down to the abdomen - nasty injury. Put it all back together, did some creative plastic surgery to salvage the gland and nipple, and sent it home with strict instructions not to let the puppies nurse on the gland. Two days later I called to ask how she was doing and in classic rural farmer he said "Oh hell doc, she's doin' great! The pups are suckin' on that tit just fine!"

I wanted to facepalm and smile all at the same time.

My techs still refer to me as our plastic surgeon for my boob work.
 

mmmdreamerz

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Ahhh vet school. It’s been a lot of fun.

The summer after first year I had an awesome externship. Did so many surgeries. And saw so many cool cases. Had a partner for said externship that was in my class, but I didn’t really know her. We spent two months together literally living in a hotel and she’s now my best friend. Vet school has for sure given me the best friends I’ve ever had. So thankful for them.

Scrubbed in on a right auriculectomy for a hemangiosarc recently. Thoracotomies are super cool.

When I was working in GP, we had a really long term patient with two of the nicest, most dedicated owners. Grumpiest Golden retriever on earth, but I knew how to charm him....He had chronic kidney disease, so he was in and out of the clinic a lot. The day he was euthanized ended up being my last day at the clinic and he was a mess and his owners were so upset. Such a hard case. But they thanked me profusely for being there and ended up sending me a card and gift. Kind, thankful people make it all worth it.
 

PippyPony

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Two days later I called to ask how she was doing and in classic rural farmer he said "Oh hell doc, she's doin' great! The pups are suckin' on that tit just fine!"

I wanted to facepalm and smile all at the same time.

My techs still refer to me as our plastic surgeon for my boob work.
They don't call you LeTitsNow for nothin!
 

that redhead

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Speaking of funny stuff clients say (not to derail!)- I had a crusty older guy new client present his old lab for euthanasia because it couldn’t walk. Long story short, he agreed to try NSAIDS for arthritis. I warned him it may not be super effective but he obviously loved this dog and I thought it was worth a try. Got the update a few days later- “I know Doc said he wouldn’t be running around like a puppy...but he is!!! In fact he feels so good he just ate some chicken bones outta the trash!” Thank god the dog passed them no problem but I was face palming so hard on that one :laugh:
 
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LetItSnow

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I guess the other case I feel really satisfied about was a 2yo monster lab (like 120 lbs of not-fat, well-muscled labness) that was running in the woods and speared himself on a 1"-1.5" diameter 6' long branch. Went in his right axillary region, between some ribs, through a lung lobe, through the diaphragm, clipped the ... spleen, maybe, if I remember. Something. Owner was in the woods and heard the dog scream and had to carry him out through deep snow.

Three surgeries (I only did the first procedure and thoracocentesis and chest tube placement before sending it to a surgeon for the rest of it) and a CT less one lung lobe later, the dog has a normal life.

We see lots of acute trauma, obviously, but one with that much trauma and committed owners with a great outcome is kinda memorable.

I agree with @that redhead in that some of the people I work with bring me a crap ton of joy.
 

LetItSnow

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I have to say I love this thread. I keep thinking of other cases I've forgotten about. The dog stuck in a trap for <one month> (fortunately, right by water) that had lost something like 60% of its body weight ... my first successful CPR ... ever laceration ever (I have an abnormal love of fixing bad lacerations) ... etc.

Thanks, whoever started it. Brightens my day a bit.
 

Ashgirl

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One of my favorite cases was when I was only a few months out of school I got a starvation case on ER from the local shelter- A 7 month old lab that was 11 pounds, presented obtunded, had maggots in her mouth, and her sodium was over 200!! (among many, many other issues). I remember spending 5+ hours working on fluid calculations to avoid dropping her sodium too quickly and agonizing over exact NG feedings to avoid re-feeding syndrome...

I still remember the day I came into work and saw her wag her tail at me for the first time.

One week later and she got adopted by one of our techs. 1.5 years later and I still get pictures of her and I always marvel at how wonderful she looks :)
 

JaynaAli

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My two favorite histories/presenting complaints from my internship were:
#1: the dog that got stomped by a moose and sustained a huge laceration across his back from elbow to elbow plus a broken scapula
and
#2: the dog who charged at/“chased” a bronze sculpture of a goat at the local sculpture park, ran into it when the goat sculpture didn’t “run away”, and busted out several of his teeth


The moose dog had several surgeries for wound management and we ordered a special sling to hold his scapulohumeral joint relatively still while it healed. But the owners thought his sling/vest thing made him too hot so didn’t make him wear it. He still recovered fine without it but that was frustrating. Wounds eventually closed up too.

The statue herder dog just got pain meds and antibiotics from me. We didn’t have dental capabilities so I referred them to another specialty practice that had a dentist. He had several teeth pulled and got a root canal on one or two others think.
 

dyachei

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One of my favorite things to treat is severe allergy. I love having them come in with massive swelling or difficulty breathing, treating immediately with IV meds and having them make a complete turn around.

there's also the dog that was in a ventricular tachycardia during a dental, turned out to have DCM. We treated as well as we could for hours before shipping to a cardiologist and she did really well! lived for a few years after that even though the owners always felt she was on borrowed time.
 

mmmdreamerz

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One of my favorite cases was when I was only a few months out of school I got a starvation case on ER from the local shelter- A 7 month old lab that was 11 pounds, presented obtunded, had maggots in her mouth, and her sodium was over 200!! (among many, many other issues). I remember spending 5+ hours working on fluid calculations to avoid dropping her sodium too quickly and agonizing over exact NG feedings to avoid re-feeding syndrome...

I still remember the day I came into work and saw her wag her tail at me for the first time.

One week later and she got adopted by one of our techs. 1.5 years later and I still get pictures of her and I always marvel at how wonderful she looks :)
This reminded me of the dog we pulled over 200 ticks off of...some kind person found him laying in the side of the road and brought him in. We were worried we got hit, but he actually had tick paralysis (never seen that before!)...we pulled them all off and over the course of the afternoon he regained his ability to get up and walk. It was pretty awesome.
 

TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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Reviving this thread for a new top experience for me.

We had a super anemic cat come in actively dying, with a 7% hematocrit. Of course it was a B, and we didn't have access to B blood. Did a xenotransfusion, and this cat went from about to code (we had the crash cart out and were debating just intubating pre-emptively) to sitting up bright and alert and going home a few days later. It was a really lovely cat with lovely owners, too. :love:
 

genny

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I forgot this thread existed! I would have posted this earlier this week when it happened:

A new appointment showed up on my schedule one morning for "idk i think my hamster is missing a leg". It wasn't missing a leg, it had chewed its own foot off (probably after injuring it or getting it caught somewhere), and was limping around on the exposed tibia like a pirate's pegleg. I was super surprised when the owners agreed to amputation. But it actually went really well. I kept telling the techs not to get too attached because it was probably going to die under anesthesia, so they tried to calculate emergency drugs and found out we couldn't measure the doses even with an insulin syringe. I was more worried about blood loss. But we kept her warm, and she woke up fast, and was eating again by the time we sent her home. Nothing quite like doing a procedure that the whole hospital wants to watch!

ETA: Got an update a week later: hamster doing well, running on wheel, eating normally. Yay!
 
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johnsmith123

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This reminds me of an experience in undergrad. I was on a neuter/spay trip to Nicaragua and was monitoring anesthesia on a dog that repeatedly kept trying to die in all the ways possible. It was a neuter on a unilateral inguinal cryptorchid so we expected it to be a little more complicated than your typical neuter. 2 hours later, they were still digging around trying to find the retained testicle, not in the inguinal region, not in the abdomen. What they had palpated to be a testicle in the inguinal area was actually just a lump of scar tissue which they assume happened after it got ripped out at some point. To make it even more complicated, we were doing the surgery in the middle of a massive ramada in rural Nicaragua when an insane monsoon came through and blew buckets of rain sideways right into our surgical site during the procedure. We had 10 people standing around the surgery table, holding up blankets and trash bags to block the rain and let us finish the surgery. Oh, did I mention this was one of my first times monitoring anesthesia? Talk about getting a running start...
 

that redhead

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Reviving this thread for a new top experience for me.

We had a super anemic cat come in actively dying, with a 7% hematocrit. Of course it was a B, and we didn't have access to B blood. Did a xenotransfusion, and this cat went from about to code (we had the crash cart out and were debating just intubating pre-emptively) to sitting up bright and alert and going home a few days later. It was a really lovely cat with lovely owners, too. :love:
OK but why was its hct 7?!? :eek:

@genny that's awesome! I love exotics surgeries because I'm always sure they're going to die no matter what, so I heavily prepare the owner, and then they live and do great and it's amazing :D
 

mmmdreamerz

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Reviving this thread for a new top experience for me.

We had a super anemic cat come in actively dying, with a 7% hematocrit. Of course it was a B, and we didn't have access to B blood. Did a xenotransfusion, and this cat went from about to code (we had the crash cart out and were debating just intubating pre-emptively) to sitting up bright and alert and going home a few days later. It was a really lovely cat with lovely owners, too. :love:
Okay this is pretty cool.

7 is so crazy low...what was wrong with the cat?

I saw a 5 once in a dog with ehrlichia
 

TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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OK but why was its hct 7?!? :eek:

@genny that's awesome! I love exotics surgeries because I'm always sure they're going to die no matter what, so I heavily prepare the owner, and then they live and do great and it's amazing :D
Okay this is pretty cool.

7 is so crazy low...what was wrong with the cat?

I saw a 5 once in a dog with ehrlichia
It was definitely hemolytic anemia, but whether it was a primary IMHA or secondary to something else hadn't been confirmed yet as far as I know. We didn't have any internal bleeding, especially not the amount required to drop that cat's PCV as fast as it dropped. It was a referral from an rDVM, and when they had seen the cat earlier that day the PCV was almost double what we saw. Since the cat was on the older side we did go on a cancer hunt and did an FNA of one organ, but the results weren't back yet when I was at work last. I'll take a peek at the file on Tuesday. I wasn't with the case after initial stabilization (read: after we realized CPR wouldn't be necessary), because we were busy and other things needed to get done.

When we saw it, besides the 7% HCT, it had systolic BP < 30, and was briefly agonal before it got alllllll the fluids and O2. Shockingly it's kidney's didn't look shot after that garbage perfusion. I was extremely surprised (and very happy!) when I came into work two days later and it was still alive.
 

SnowJ

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I forgot about this too! I've had another great experience to share:
I went on a service trip right before this COVID stuff hit my state and I got to work with so many appreciative people. I did my first neuters with a ton of support around me and I just had a fantastic time. It really reminded me why I got into the field in the first place. It was extremely therapeutic to get in the middle of a 34.5 credit hell semester
 
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DRider13

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Reviving this thread!

Yesterday one of the radiology residents brought her dog up to the clinic and taught me how to do my first abdominal ultrasound! I also detected a grade II heart murmur all on my own the other day, which I had never done before!

I've been having the best summer experiences so far and it's really exciting to see how much I've learned. I'm starting to feel like maybe I'll actually be a competent vet someday?
 

PippyPony

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Touched a beating heart today :love:

Pretty damn amazing

....aaand then my brain froze and I literally forgot how to tie a simple interrupted suture. It was system overloaded from the gushing blood
 

itsrocky

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A BDLD case I managed super intensively (see 2020 thread for the story) came in today to get all of his staples and sutures removed. He looked GREAT and wagged that tail and all those open wounds I was worried about are all clean and granulated and beautiful. When I was stitching him up my boss asked me why I was wasting so much time to fix him when the skin was all going to necrose anyways and it was kind of nice to prove him wrong 1:cool: guess all that lasering was good for something!!
 
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