For moms in Savannah and the Coastal Empire


My Preceptorship at Case Veterinary Hospital

by Dr. Carla Case-... on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 9:30am


                                              by Natalie Craven DVM

After visiting Savannah, GA, in the summer of 2012, I fell in love with the city.  The food was delicious, the history was fascinating, the scenery was amazing, and the locals were so very kind.  So I set out to do a preceptorship in Savannah.  A preceptorship is a 2-month internship that Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine requires prior to graduation from Veterinary School.  After reading about the rich family history behind Case Veterinary Hospital, I emailed Lisa Yackel (practice manager) to inquire about opportunities within their practice.  Lisa responded expressing interest, and eventually I was accepted as a preceptor to begin in March.

I started work on March 11, 2013.  I was given a tour of the facility, learned of the expansions they had undertaken throughout the previous years, as well as the new lobby renovations.  I also learned more Case family history.  Then the real work began.  Initially working in the treatment room, I assisted with annual examinations, observed/assisted with surgeries, and read cytologies (microscope slides looking for parasites and bacteria).   However as the weeks passed and I became more comfortable, I saw clients in rooms and performed basic surgeries (spays, neuters, declaws).   During this time, I was able to work closely with the veterinary staff. I learned so much from each of the doctors including client communication, patient care, anesthesia, surgical tips/skills, and local Georgia regulations.

A typical day often began with me arriving at the clinic around 8:30 a.m. and initially working in the back (prep room).  Then, a patient would be dropped off for an annual examination.  The patient would be brought to me so I could perform a physical examination (looking at eyes, mouth, body condition score/weight, listen to heart and lungs, feel the abdomen, feel the muscles and bones, etc.).  Once I deemed the patient healthy, I would provide the appropriate vaccines and call the owner with any noted health concerns and work out the best treatment plan.  Some of the cases I managed included dogs with allergic dermatitis (skin problems due to environmental or food allergies), a dog with heart problems (arrhythmias – abnormal heart beats), and a dog with diabetes.  So many wonderful pets—each pet presenting its own challenges, from medication options to the best diagnostic choices—all helping to keep the job interesting.  The morning cases were often followed by a couple of surgeries including spays/neuters that would be performed with doctor assistance/supervision and a technician monitoring vitals while under anesthesia.  After surgery, I would monitor the patient to ensure they awoke from surgery without complications.  Then, in the afternoon, I would help out with appointments by working with dogs and cats in the examination rooms, and talking with clients.  The day would end with ensuring all the patients’ files were in order and all the animals had their appropriate treatments before leaving for the day. 

During my preceptorship, I learned about the importance of client communication, how to perform laser and laprosopic surgery, and how to read ultrasound images that will help me when I get out into practice.  Furthermore, the staff was so welcoming, treating me like family and making me feel at home.  I will miss them greatly and will always recommend externships/preceptorships at Case Veterinary Hospital.



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