Today was the first time I got to shadow a day at the Ouchita Equine Clinic this summer. I didn’t expect to do much, since Dr. Burgess was already hiring two other students, but surprisingly I was able to assist in every surgery.

My sister’s cat, Angel, had developed an eye problem, and I brought her that morning so my mom wouldn’t have to bring her in for her appointment later in the day.

I’m working alongside two other people this year. Patty is a high school graduate that wants to go to veterinarian school, and Ben is a third-year veterinarian student that will be graduating next year.

At the Ouchita Equine Clinic, Dr. Burgess does surgeries every morning except for Thursdays and Fridays. On Thursdays, he goes to the Glenwood Sale Barn to pregnancy check cattle that are going to be sold. On Fridays, he does spays and neuters all day for the local Humane Society.

Anyway, we ended up doing eight surgeries that morning, all of them spays and neuters. Several of them also received vaccinations, which we administered while they were asleep. Before we started surgery, however, an older couple came in with their dog. They wanted the animal tested for certain things, because it had been behaving strangely and they wanted to make sure she was alright. Dr. Burgess ran several blood tests, and in the end, she ended up having many health problems, including diabetes. She could be treated, but it would include insulin shots, daily medications, and weekly examinations. They knew they wouldn’t have time to care for her, so they asked Dr. Burgess to euthanize her.

The worst part about being a veterinarian is having to put an animal down, especially one that could thrive quite well if the owners are willing. I’m not blaming this couple for having their dog euthanized–they simply couldn’t care for her. But there are some owners that are able to take care of their animals, but don’t want to pay the veterinarian bills, or are tired of taking care of an animal. Instead of trying to find them a new home, they have them euthanized.

It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve entered the clinic, seen a healthy dog smiling at me from a kennel, and am told they will be euthanized at the end of day. It saddens me, and if I could, I would adopt every animal that is capable to live a healthy life.

The owners were very upset, and Dr. Burgess, being the expert, talked about the lakes located near their house (he loves to fish) to keep them distracted from their dog, who was currently taking her last breaths.

We ended up performing eight surgeries, vaccinating twelve animals, euthanizing one dog, and examining seven animals. We treated twenty-one dogs and three cats. I think my favorite patient was the Siberian Husky we did a pregnancy check on. We laid her on the table, and used an ultrasound to see if she was expecting or not. We counted several puppies, and I know the owner was thrilled to know she was pregnant.

My sister’s cat’s eye ended up simply being irritated and inflamed, and he gave me some cream to apply on it 2-3 times a day.

I took a couple of pictures of the animals I assisted caring for today.


Angel, my sister’s cat


We neutered this young dog


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