Have Skills, Will Travel: Vet Tech Externs at Cape Wildlife Center
Published on July 7, 2015 by Staff Writer
By Amanda Black-Administrative Assistant
Graduation is a big day in the life of a student and marks the beginning of many big changes to come, but the road that leads there is varied for each student and full of adventures and opportunities for growth. Emery Garner, Veterinary Technology graduate of Broadview University, decided to use her externship opportunity for one more big adventure before graduation.
After applying for a very competitive externship program at Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts, she was thrilled to know that she would be finishing out the last four weeks of her externship there. Cape Wildlife Center is operated by the Humane Society and partners with the Fund for Animals organization. The center is located in Barnstable, MA and sits on a beautiful lake.
Emery was excited to stay in the apartment complex above the facility with a group of other externs. This allowed for more hands-on learning. The center, a large remodeled house, was separated into three main areas on the main floor: the clinic, the nursery, and the rabies vector barn. The majority of the patients were seabirds and birds who were injured during their migration through the area. Other patients included foxes, raccoons, opossums, bats, turtles, squirrels, and several birds of prey.
Emery was very impressed with the knowledgeable staff and their use of best practices. “Each patient was discussed every day,” she explained, “and their medications, conditions, and needs were each evaluated.” The center, mostly supplied by donations, was equipped to care for each species. The main goal of the center is to rehabilitate the patients and release them back to their original habitat or to one similar and safer. Permanently injured animals are placed in educational facilities where they are cared for and serve as an advocate for other wildlife.
One of the most challenging surgeries that Emery assisted in was a turtle shell repair. The turtle had been hit by a car and her shell had been partially crushed. “It was like brain surgery with lots of power tools, wires, and screws. We used the zip-tie technique to hold the shell together,” she said.
When asked what the greatest things she learned were, Emery responded, “I learned about the medical care of seabirds and birds in general. I was able to become proficient in anesthetizing and monitoring the smallest of birds. I was also able to gain much more experience in radiology which will be very valuable throughout my career.” For students looking for externship adventures outside of the small animal clinic, Emery encourages them to branch out and start applying for opportunities. “It was well worth it!”
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