During late November the Lancaster County CTC Veterinary Technology students assisted a local goat dairy with an annual herd survey to determine the prevalence of a viral disease and monitor efforts to control its spread within the herd. Students in the Large Animal Medicine class assisted by drawing blood samples from the adult milking herd as well as juvenile goats. The class sampled (by jugular venipuncture), processed, and sent 126 samples to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory.
While the class was at the farm that day, two USDA Animal Health Technicians were at the farm to collect various biological specimens to screen the herd for the presence of diseases commonly found in goat herds. The farm was randomly chosen by the USDA to participate in the National Animal Health Monitoring Survey or NAHMS. NAHMS is a nationwide program that randomly surveys dairy, beef, horse, sheep, goat, poultry, and apiary operations for diseases and herd management practices. The technicians incorporated our students into the process of collecting sterile bacterial cultures for parasite analysis.
The day went very well in spite of mid-20 degree temperatures and the students did great. Dr. Tom Wilson, Veterinarian for the CTC Veterinary Program said, “I feel the experience for the students to work with the herd, as well as the USDA technicians, was unique and very valuable. The USDA techs were appreciative of the help in that it halved the time needed for them to collect samples at the farm.”
During a different field trip, the class visited the New Bolton Center, the Universtiy of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Teaching and Referral Hospital. Dr. Perry Habecker, a Veterinary Pathologist, and a staff member of the administration took the class on a tour of some of the facilities at the hospital including the general surgery and recovery center, the orthopedic surgery center, the unique recovery swimming pool (complete with a customized US Navy Seal raft modified to fit an anesthetized horse to make it’s awakening from anesthesia less dangerous).
Lastly, the class went to the pathology building to witness several large animal necropsies. Our students are required to witness a necropsy and some of the world’s best facilities are only 50 minutes away. The students witnessed necropsies of a cow, a horse, and a deer.