Exploring my passion: My week with veterinarians

by Lauren Dunteman

Hi there! My name is Lauren Dunteman and I am from Big Rock, Illinois. As a sophomore at ISU, I am studying biology with the possibility of becoming a veterinary student. I live on a farm and have raised animals for many years, which has lead to my desire to continue working with animals in my career. To explore my interests in animal medicine, I followed my local equine vet around for one week, driving around from barn to barn to take care of many different horses. Every day it was common for us to visit a few horses that were experiencing lameness (soreness). Most of the time we injected synthetic joint fluid into inflamed joints (typically in the lower leg (pasterns, fetlocks, and hocks)) to reduce the pain that they had been experiencing.

Dunteman 1Dr. Heinze injecting synthetic joint fluid into the hock

The most interesting case of lameness was one gelding who continually got abscesses in his hoof. After taking a few x-rays, we were able to locate and then remove a mass (possibly a calcification) in his hoof wall that we believed was causing his abscesses.

Dunteman 2Xray of hoof, calcification still present

During my week I also observed the vet give vaccinations, float (file) teeth, and perform equine chiropractic.

Dunteman 3Dr. Coveyou performing dental work on a mare

Dunteman 4 Dunteman 5
Dr. Heinze performing chiropractic

We also took ultrasounds of the ovaries of mares to detect if they were ready to breed. At the animal hospital I watched multiple surgeries (a castration and a colic) and cared for the horses that were in recovery. Watching the surgeries was very interesting because of the process of sedating the horses (the horse was hung upside down from the ceiling to transport it). I thought it looked funny!

Dunteman 6 Dunteman 7

Dunteman 8A gelding being prepared for colic surgery

My week with the veterinarians was a very exciting part of my summer. I highly recommend to other students that they get hands on experience in the field of their interest. My experiences really opened my eyes to the life of a vet, and furthered my interest to care for animals in my future. 🙂


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