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As part of my extramural work experience, I chose to spend three weeks at the Whyalla Veterinary Clinic. I had heard positive reviews of the clinicfrom other students, and after visiting their website, I was keen to visit in the hopes of improving my veterinary skills. The Whaylla clinic certainly exceeding all my expectations.

Upon arrival at the Whyalla airport, I was met by two of the Whyalla vet nurses (Lena and Carol) and taken to Sandi’s house where I was to live for my 3-week duration. I can’t thank Sandi enough for welcoming me into her home, and always having a delicious dinner waiting no matter what the hour. Without expectation, all the nurses were very helpful and patient and kept my stamina up with many cafe-quality cappuccinos! Thanks in particular to the senior nurses, Karen, Lena and Corrina.

On my first day, I was presented with keys to my car for the duration of my visit, a laptop to type up all my case reports and my own personal drug notebook, which was to soon become my own personal bible during my visit, and will be for the duration of my career. On the evening of the first Monday, disaster struck with two puppies being stolen from the front room of the clinic. Fortunately, Andrew had several security cameras installed which were able to catch the criminals on film, which aired on television that night. The station was inundated with calls identifying the offenders, and the puppies were safely returned.

Andrew was a very encouraging teacher, and firmly believed in allowing students a little bit of breathing space when attempting procedures, though he was always ready to offer some advice or lend a hand if need be. Throughout my visit I was able to perform numerous spays and castrationson both dogs and cats, as well as leg and tail amputations, passing catheters for blocked cats, a cat aural haematoma, enemas, duck stitch ups, lipoma removals, ferret castrate, abscess drainages and various stitch ups. I was also allowed to perform many procedures that are needed every day in practise – placing catheters, giving SC and IM injections, setting up fluid pumps and working out appropriate fluid rates, x-ray processing, deciding which ET tube is most suitable, and calculating dosages and drawing up anaesthetic drugs. Throughout my visit, Andrew taught me many common drug dosages and encouraged me to work out exact volumes and durations for each, which will no doubt prove invaluable in my first few weeks out in practice.

Andrew involved me in every aspect of clinical work ups. I was allowed much involvement during consults, where I was able to conduct physical examinations, administer vaccinations, worming tablets and antibiotics as well as perform bandage changes, lump FNAs, ear swabs and euthanasia’s. Apart from the valuable veterinary learning, I was unexpectedly given an avenue to improve my PR skills. I appeared in an article stressing the importance of vaccinating against parvovirus in the local Whyalla news and was also invited onto the ABC radio to discuss my visit to Whaylla and the nature of parvovirus.

Without exception, my time at Whaylla was most enjoyable and educational, and for other students wishing to expand on their practical skills and knowledge in small animals, this is the clinic to visit. Thank-you again to Andrew and his team of nurses, I had a wonderful time!

"Without exception, my time at Whaylla was most enjoyable and educational, and for other students wishing to expand on their practical skills and knowledge in small animals, this is the clinic to visit." Shallan-Anne Biddle. Shallan featured in the Whyalla News and ABC Radio interviewed by Kieran Weir on Parvovirus infection.

Melbourne University, Victoria.

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Shallan Biddle