"The Big Rotation" -- Vet School Reflection

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

I was very excited to take the Equine Specialty rotation. It was the only opportunity I had while in vet school to learn how to float horse teeth and other horse specific diagnostics. Floating is the process of leveling off the points that form on the teeth in a horse’s mouth in order to prevent future lacerations and ulcers on the cheeks and tongue. I had some experience floating teeth prior to the rotation as a veterinary assistant, but I wanted to have more detailed training to understand what I see in general practice.

It was great to learn how to perform a complete dental exam. This includes learning how to make notes on a dental chart, take x-rays, and put all this information together to develop a treatment plan. I became familiar with the different rasps, or instruments used in order to float the teeth. Most important, I began to develop a preference for the different rasps. Now, when I float teeth, I know the type of instruments I’ll need in order to get the job done. For example, I will want to use a power float for one purpose and manual rasps with a particular angle in order to reach certain teeth.

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

Photo by: Lisa Tanzer/National Geographic

One of my interests within veterinary medicine is ophthalmology. I enjoyed the ophtho lab during the rotation because we learned how to perform a complete eye exam on a horse. One of the skills that we were able to learn is a particular nerve block that is great when you are trying to exam horse eyes. Knowing the different landmarks and techniques to perform the nerve blocks is different when learning in a lecture versus actually trying to do it in real life. Practicing that skill was so invaluable and far from uneventful (I ended up splashing myself in the face with an anesthetic, leaving half of it numb for a while). Overall, my expectations for this rotation were satisfied and goals were met. It was a great two weeks.

-- Dr. G