“Day One” -- Vet School Reflection

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

My goals while on the Cardiology rotation were to get better at interpreting EKGs, understanding which drugs (and in which combinations) were used for the different heart diseases, and most importantly as a general practitioner, when I should refer a case.

It was great to be able to take cardiology because there were many concepts of the heart that I memorized for the test, but didn’t fully understand. With my first patient, Millie, a lot of that changed. I got more comfortable understanding the pressure differences within the cardiovascular system and how changes in those pressures cause the development of structural changes within the heart and even murmurs.

Nat Geo Wild's "Vet School" series

Nat Geo Wild's "Vet School" series

When studying medicine, you learn which diseases have a high or low probability of having a positive outcome. Most of the time, the cases in the hospital follow these statistics. Yet, it is great to have a patient that doesn’t follow the norm. It serves as a reminder that every case is unique and sometimes stats are just stats. It reminds you that you should treat the animal, not the disease.

I had cardiology pretty early in my clinical year. Millie was also my first case where the patient had a fatal disease and euthanasia was a plan B. Thankfully, Millie fought through the procedure and beat the odds.

-- Dr. G