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Shar(Xia) Niu.

Melbourne University, Victoria.

"Thank you for inspiring the confidence in me to have a go at the things I had not yet done and giving me support when I needed it." Shar(Xia) Niu


I thoroughly enjoyed my three weeks here as a final year vet student.

The Whyalla vet clinic is very busy with consults every day, which allowed me to be involved in the clinical examination of many pets. There were countless vaccinations, microchips and heartworm tests to do, drug dosages to calculate, lumps and bumps to examine on microscope and x-rays to take. I saw so many parvovirus and kennel cough cases that I think my nose and ears are finely attuned to them now!

The clinic also runs a successful rehousing scheme and this provided me with the opportunity to perform castrations (watch out for those cryptorchids!), dog speys and feline flank speys on a near daily basis. I was hoping to do these surgeries when I chose my elective here but it exceeded all my expectations when I was also given the opportunity to do my first caesarean section, leg amputation, entropion surgery, hernia repair, ear canal resection and exploratory laparotomy. Pretty cool stuff!

I really enjoyed working with Andrew; he is a great mentor and motivator, and has a wicked sense of humour. Thank you for inspiring the confidence in me to have a go at the things I had not yet done and giving me support when I needed it. With all the hands on learning I was allowed to do right from the beginning, I definitely feel better equipped with the skills needed upon graduation.

The nurses were so lovely from day one and trusted me enough to let me make some decisions on my own, which made me feel like a real veterinarian. Thank you also for being so aware of my coffee needs and making all those cups when I needed them the most! Hanna, the new grad vet, is easy to get along with, fun to have a laugh with in surgery and generous with the support and advice that she gave me.

Thank you also to Sandi, for sharing her home with me so warmly and letting me act as if it were my own. I really appreciate all of your cooking, and your advice and hand when I was looking after those caesarean pups.

Andrew is also interested in philosophy, and is passionate about the environment. He is actively involved in local and federal politics and I enjoyed discussing all the interesting issues with him immensely.

If you are looking for an eye opening experience in a remote rural setting, where you have the opportunity to do so much as a vet student, learn more about yourself by challenging and pushing your limits and expectations, and become more aware of local and global issues, I can honestly recommend no better place than here in Whyalla.

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