Stormy the Horse, specifically Dr. Tom Wilson’s horse, stood calmly as several students fussed around him. Stormy was gently coaxed into position so that the Lancaster County CTC Veterinary Technology Specialized Associate Degree students could perform a dorsolateral palmaromedial oblique radiographic image of his left front fetlock. Translated for those of us who are not Vet Tech students and instructors, they took a portable x-ray of Stormy’s front left leg and hoof.
No worries about Stormy. He was just fine and probably looking forward to some tasty rewards for being a calm and handsome helper. Dr. Wilson, the CTC Vet Tech Program Veterinarian, brought him along to work today so that the current Vet Tech students could work on equine radiology, one of the program’s required skills.
The Equine Radiology demonstration was conducted by Dr. Brian Kopec of Kopec Veterinary
Associates, P.C., of Lancaster. Dr. Kopec first conducted a classroom-based review of equine radiography techniques, and afterward, the class regrouped outside for the hands-on session with Stormy. Over the course of an hour, each student practiced taking x-rays of the horse. The portable radiography equipment took and displayed the images nearly instantaneously. Between images, the students would swap the protective equipment, sets of heavy leather and lead aprons and gloves.
Dr. Kopec and the students checked a large digital tablet that displayed the images that they were taking. “Stormy is going to be one of the most thoroughly imaged horses anywhere today,” Dr. Kopec said, reviewing one of the x-rays.
Amy Busch, Class Four Second Year Veterinary Technology student, said that doing hands-on training like that really clarifies and reinforces what it is that they learn in the classroom. Her classmate, Alaina White, said that the specific angles in three dimensions are really important in equine radiography. “It was so much easier to understand the process and the ways that you would need to move and hold the equipment when you were actually doing it, instead of sitting in the classroom reviewing a Powerpoint,” Alaina explained.
Whether they are working with a patient horse (such a good boy), a diesel engine, a pipe fitting, or an industrial oven, the Vet Tech students’ comments highlight the crucial value that hands-on, in-the-field training such as this means. Career and technology education brings the real world to the classroom and Lancaster County CTC students are all the more prepared thanks to it.