More than 100 animals received expert care during this annual tradition
[April 20, 2012; Kennett Square, PA] – Calves with broken legs, injured goats, pregnant ewes with difficulty delivering…March Madness at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center encompassed a broad range of veterinary cases that were addressed by fourth-year veterinary students. For those students, each with a particular interest in pursuing a career with agricultural animals or mixed practice and many of whom will remain in the Keystone State to practice after graduating, the cases offered a valuable opportunity. For one month, the March Madness students played a major role in handling specific cases, from admission to discharge, with close supervision from Penn Vet faculty members and clinicians. For the clients, it meant a discount on superb care. The March Madness team attended to 105 patients, up about 10% from last year’s caseload of 95.
The Food Animal Medicine and Surgery rotation has been nicknamed March Madness and has been an annual tradition since 1989. Owners of food and fiber animals including cows, pigs, sheep and goats have four weeks to take advantage of this program. Participating students elect to participate in one of the two, two-week rotations. Generous discounts are offered on both medical and surgical cases.
Said Ray Sweeney, VMD, Chief of the Section of Medicine and Ophthalmology at New Bolton Center, “We had multiple animals in for hernia surgeries, castrations, warts, dehornings, and a large number of cesarean-sections in goats, sheep, and cattle. Our clients appeared to enjoy interacting with them as the students spoke with them daily to update them on their animals' conditions.”
In one neurology case, a sheep paralyzed due to a parasite migration through the spinal cord, continues to respond positively to treatment and physical therapy. A blind neurologic calf suffering from a thiamine deficiency also responded well to treatment. A pet pig with severe itchy skin due to mange, treated with a parasiticide and a medicated dip bath, became more comfortable almost immediately.
“March Madness encouraged me to think and act like a clinician, while providing the appropriate amount of guidance necessary to assure excellent patient care,” said student participant Amanda Kilby. “We were challenged to develop, justify and carry out diagnostic, treatment and monitoring plans for our patients as if we were the primary veterinarians in the case.”
Umbilical and body wall hernias, a common problem with calves, were corrected. Pot-bellied pigs, sheep and goats were neutered. A cow with difficulties milking actually underwent a teat implant. “On the surgery side, we accomplished a lot,” said Marie-Eve Fecteau, DVM and Assistant Professor of Food Animal Medicine and Surgery.
“March Madness gives Penn Vet an opportunity to train future food animal veterinarians while supporting agriculture in the state. The University of Pennsylvania is the only institution training veterinarians in Pennsylvania.” said Dr. Fecteau.
“These highly trained, very skilled young men and women are just weeks away from completing their veterinary training and being entitled to put that VMD behind their names,” says Dr. Sweeney. “During this March Madness, as in years past, they provided excellent care for our patients, working under the close supervision of Dr. Fecteau or me.”