Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pet-friendly hotel supports the OHS

Thank you to the Monterey Hotel on Prince of Wales Drive in Ottawa, a pet-friendly hotel that is generously supporting the OHS by providing a place to stay for out of town veterinary students during their rotation at the OHS. Over the next year the OHS will host over a dozen fourth-year veterinary students eager to increase their skill sets before they graduate.

Here’s a first-hand account from a vet student who spent time at the OHS:

Early in the New Year I completed a rotation at the OHS. I had anticipated performing several surgeries; however I could not have imagined the sheer volume of opportunities that would arise over the week.

The OHS cares for over 500 animals at any time, many are sick and in need of medical care. At the start of each day, the staff veterinarian and I would head to the critical care unit to assess the patients, triaging them and making sure they were stable and receiving timely, appropriate care.

We then began surgery. I had the opportunity to perform numerous feline and canine ovariohysterectomies and orchiectomies. It was an invaluable experience that greatly enhanced my confidence. As an added bonus, it was highly rewarding to see many of my surgery patients find loving homes later on in the week.

After lunch we began rounds. First we examined and treated foster animals. These are animals that for a variety of reasons require intervention (medical or behavioural) before they can be made available for adoption. OHS volunteers care for them in their homes and bring them in for veterinary check-ups and treatment.

Then we examined other OHS animals in need of care, which on any given day can range from 10 to 30 animals.

These patients provided me with an excellent opportunity to practice performing physical examinations, communicating effectively to gather a history, developing a problem list, a differential diagnosis list, and a subsequent treatment plan for many common ailments, such as gastrointestinal or respiratory disease. 

Following rounds, it was back to surgery again. Toward the end of the day, the veterinarian ensures that all surgery patients are pain-free and resting well. 

During my rotation at the OHS, I not only gained invaluable surgical experience, but also a great deal of insight into shelter medicine. I gained experience working up challenging cases with limited resources—a reality facing many veterinarians on a daily basis. I also had the opportunity to learn how to manage infectious patients properly, as well as how to triage critical patients, which are two imperative clinical skills that I had not previously had the opportunity to develop.

My experience at the OHS was much more than I could have ever anticipated. I gained experience and confidence in several areas of practical veterinary medicine, and most importantly provided many deserving animals with a second chance at life. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a lost, injured or abandoned animal find a loving home.  

Jilliian Thatcher
DVM 2012
Ontario Veterinary College

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