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I spent four weeks at Whyalla as my final practical experience placement before graduation. I was keen to develop my practical skills and gain more confidence before I made the transition from student to vet and I was certainly provided with every opportunity to do so during my time at the clinic.

Each day was packed from start to finish with opportunities to practice routine procedures such as physical examinations, vaccinations, worming, venipuncture, catheterisation, and cytology. I had lots of opportunities to improve my bandaging skills which I was very grateful for as I have never been allowed to bandage at uni! I particularly enjoyed being allowed to closely interact with the clients and being encouraged to discuss all aspects of pet care with them, including feeding, training, heartworm prevention, vaccination and worming.

Before I came to Whyalla I had very limited surgical experience, however I began with doing several surgeries on the first day and by the end of my four weeks had performed over 40 surgeries. These included numerous dog and cat speys and castrations, a dog leg amputation, a lizard tail amputation, exploratory laparotomies, several cat fight abscesses, lump removals, stitch-ups, dew claw removals, umbilical hernia repairs, and dentals.

I really enjoyed working with the RSPCA and ‘rehouse’ dogs and cats and it was very rewarding to see them all finding homes, some even traveled as far as Perth and Melbourne to meet their new families. It was great to see so many dogs and cats being given a second chance.

As part of my time at the clinic, I visited the two satellite clinics in Cowell and Roxby Downs. The trips to Roxby Downs (a mining town) involved long days, however provided ample opportunity to improve my skills and the clients seemed to genuinely appreciate the effort made to provide the service, which made it all worthwhile.

I would like to thank all the nurses at the clinics for their support, for endless cups of tea, for being so friendly and welcoming and for always being willing to help me when I was in need! I would also like to thank Sandy for allowing me to stay at her house, and for providing me with delicious meals. It was great to have a friendly face and comfy house to return home to, and to not have to cook at the end of a long day!

Finally I would like to thank Andrew for giving me this amazing experience, for always encouraging me to have a go, for sponsoring me to come over from Perth and for providing accommodation and transport for me during my stay. You have truly made a difference to my confidence and competence and it could not have come at a better time for me just before I graduate! Thank you!

"You have truly made a difference to my confidence and competence and it could not have come at a better time for me just before I graduate!" Katie Le Messurier


Murdoch University, Perth.


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Katie Le Messurier