I have to be honest, the whole practical in the turf club was more towards learning the good food in Penang rather than the practices in equine medicine; reason being:
1- The club itself harbors great management, especially in their prized race horses. The chance of them getting complications requiring surgery is kept to the minimal with good husbandry.
2- The club lacks the facilities for advance surgeries. Even if they were to have cases, they need to send the horses down to Perak instead for the surgeries.
3- The race horses run on maintenance; meaning possible problems are geared towards prevention over treatment, because it is not going to be easy at all to treat any horses; when time, money and effort comes into the picture.
Add that to sensitive issues of non-registered vet student statuses, the chances of us handling or be part of any treatment in the horses were close to nil.
The attending vets guided us throughout the week for us to know more about the basics in equine medicine:
1- All the drugs required and the dosages in horses.
2- Common dynamic diseases in horses and their differentials
3- Endoscopy in respiratory diseases
4- Common practices pre and post race for race horses
5- Important anatomy of the horse and the usage of topography
6- Radiographs of the horse and its interpretation
7- Factors to consider in knowing the performance of race horses
8- Role of veterinarians in race days.
last but not least, a very important quote from the attending vet:
We committed a huge mistake in the turf club, and it boils down to us being ignorant. When we first wanted to handle the equipment I'd actually asked if we were sure that is disposable. Being the inexperienced one in the ward, I agreed to others' opinion when we decided the equipment is okay to be used. Little do we know, our ignorance and lack of discipline costed us the trust we built from day 1 for the attending veterinarians.
I was really glad when Dr C said we were the only batch managed to answer questions on antibiotics without him needing to explain from A-Z, because it meant I'd actually studied my pharmacology well enough.
I was also glad when he commented that I was "smart" when I explained my answer on the action of local anaesthesia to him; even though I did not mention the important key word like the sodium-potassium pump in the impulse generation as per expected in the comprehensive oral test.
But it kills me even more when he said that we were the only batch manage to infuriate the veterinary department in the club to this extent.
I guess everyday is a learning process. I'm pretty sure Dr C meant well to train us up to be a more responsible and cautious vet student, especially when we can afford to ask and practice without being held responsible by law.
I'm sure the others probably are somehow traumatized by the whole series of events, and it still boils down to us being really not careful with all our actions. I am rather empowered by the practical, simply because I would want to be as good, if not better than the vets in the future. It may not necessarily be in the same field, because the concept spanning over the spectrum of species is similar, only with minute difference in details which can easily referred with a formulatory.
The equine rotation in this current semester is probably not ideal, simply because I feel like I'm not to par with Sea or Lady Boss when questions about clinical pathology, surgery or clinical medicine thrown into my face. I really felt like I was a nobody with no basic knowledge throughout the whole practical.
It was extremely clinical, because of the drugs and medicine as well as the surgical procedures coming in with the amount of clinical skills required; which I did not exactly expect. What's worse, the contact time with horses were dampened to minimal until deemed necessary; something which I wasn't even seeing it coming as I was expecting a lot of contact with the horses.
But, because of the nature of the prized race horses which we worked with more, it is something very much understandable.
In a nutshell, equine rotations are deemed much better to be joined in a later period, best after the Equine Medicine course for future veterinary students as the surgical knowledge and medical skills required will be ample to deal with the cases and scenarios thrown by the veterinarians in house. In that case, more discussions can be engaged with more relevance to the rotation.
I have to say I wasn't really happy with the practical simply because I feel that I wasn't competent enough to learn. But since its just to satisfy a course requirement, I might as well invest a much longer and worthwhile equine practical in the future after I have attained adequate knowledge.
PS: Pictures and locations of good penang food in the upcoming posts!