Agne Stoskute is a junior on the UGA Equestrian Team. Currently, she is an Animal Science major. After participating in an internship during the month of May, Agne wanted to share her experience.
This summer, I was given the opportunity to be an undergraduate intern at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Zoological/Wildlife ward. The past 4 weeks have shown me an entirely different side of veterinary medicine. Being on the UGA Equestrian team and owning a horse have shown me how veterinarians treat domesticated and large animals, but nothing on how to administer antibiotics to a baby bird, that may die from the stress of handling it.
The first week of the internship proved to be a challenge. I didn’t know where anything was and didn’t even know the first steps to treating a wild animal. Dr. Cutler and Dr. Cusack took us under their wings and explained to us the first steps of wildlife care. I learned how to do a proper physical exam, administer subcutaneous fluids, and gavage feed a bird.
As the weeks progressed, more interesting cases came into the ward. I remember one day starting at 7 am and ending at 7 pm. We had tons of patients to treat, radiographs to take, and a surgery to perform. I recall the first surgery I watched being a partial wing amputation on a bird. The tissue was necrotic and needed to be cut off. During the surgery, the bird experienced some stress under anesthesia and was accidentally extubated at one point. Despite all the problems, the vets remained calm and cool.
Finally during my last couple of days, I experienced some of the sad parts of the career path I want to follow. Sometimes animals need to be euthanized and that is a very special power that veterinarians are allowed to have. I have learned about when that time is right and when it’s not.
My favorite case was a Canadian goose the came in where the skin on the top of it’s head was completely gone and you could see it’s skull and jaw. It was amazing to see Dr. Cutler and the other students stitch back up what was left. The before and after pictures of the goose were amazing.
Overall, my responsibilities during the internship included finding rehab for injured animals, administering medication, performing physical exams, and figuring out the best treatment plan for the patients. This internship has opened up my eyes to maybe another field of veterinary medicine I have never considered before.