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Animal Care

From a Texas Equine Hospital, Caitlyn Coleman Reports

Students at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine have access to all kinds of internships, externships and research experiences during their four years of school. This summer, several students are sharing some of what they're doing and learning in real time.

Caitlyn Coleman
Caitlyn Coleman is a fourth-year student at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

JUNE 13, 2024

Hello from Texas again! This week I found myself at Signature Equine Hospital in Stephenville, Texas. Signature is a nine-doctor practice that focuses on sports medicine and performance problems in western performance horses.

Each day began with morning treatments at 7 a.m. on all patients in the hospital, hospital rounds with the interns and senior veterinarians, and then appointments. I was paired with a different doctor each day, so I was able to see a variety of techniques and interests. Under the lameness pavilion, I saw upward of 20 lameness exams each day. 

Signature’s externship was incredibly hands-on, and I was able to do joint injections (coffin, hock, stifle), nerve blocks, limb flexions, ultrasounds, nasogastric tubing for colics, laceration repair, chest tube placement, and so much more. 

One really cool case was a mare follicle aspiration. This procedure is done to acquire oocytes, or eggs, from the follicles on a mare’s ovaries. These oocytes are injected with sperm and can be either frozen or transferred into recipient mares. We pulled 24 oocytes from this particular mare using an ultrasound guided probe. We are hopeful for lots of babies!

Signature is focused on education and client care, and I couldn’t have enjoyed my time here more. Stay tuned for next week at my last hospital in Texas!

MAY 30, 2024

Caitlyn Coleman is a fourth-year student at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

My week at Brazos Valley Equine Hospital in Navasota, Texas, was fantastic. This hospital is just one of multiple Brazos Valley locations, with others in Salado, Cypress, Waco, Texas, and Cave Creek, Arizona. In total, there are 10 veterinarians and three intern veterinarians. 

While there, I saw a wide variety of cases including lameness exams, surgeries — arthrodesis (joint fusion), stringhalt (a gait abnormality) and plate removals — a bone marrow biopsy, endoscopes, emergencies  — lots of colics, a rectal tear, lacerations — reproduction work, routine preventative care, advanced dental and eye procedures, sinus flushing and so much more. 

Each day I was paired with a different head veterinarian and intern so I was able to learn techniques from people with separate specialties and interests. I really enjoyed spending time with board-certified specialists in internal medicine, emergency critical care and large animal surgery as they all provided next-level knowledge and were excellent resources. 

I focused my time on sports medicine and lameness cases because that is what I am passionate about. One of the unique cases that came in was a chronic lameness on a 6-year-old performance horse who was thought to have had juvenile osteoarthritis when he was younger. His pain has been managed medically for multiple years using joint injections and different modalities. However, his lameness had progressed to a point that these treatments were no longer working. An arthrodesis was performed on his hocks in order to stabilize the joint by fusing the bones across the joint. This was done using surgical implants such as plates and screws. We hope now he will be able to move around pain-free!