Like many fellow animal lovers, pre-veterinary student Elizabeth Egey ’19 dedicated her summer to learning more about the medicine by which she is fascinated. As someone who grew up with horses, Egey, the co-captain of Hamilton’s Equestrian Team and president of the Pre-Veterinary Club, knew she wanted to explore the passion and curiosity she fostered for large animals.
Having worked for two small-animal clinics in the past, Egey was already familiar with the routine procedures and complicated surgeries necessary for the treatment of dogs and cats. While some may think a typical veterinary internship involves playing with fuzzy puppies and kittens all day, Egey found that veterinary medicine requires tenacious, compassionate and versatile doctors.
This summer Egey traded the familiarity of sterile animal hospitals for the dirty, rugged unknown of cattle, sheep, goat, and pig farms when she traveled to Launceston, England, for her internship with Castle Veterinary Group.
From the very beginning of her internship, Egey learned to expect the unexpected, for no two days were the same. Driving in trucks equipped with the needed medical instruments and drugs, Egey accompanied veterinarians to different farms where she soon went from simply observing to getting hands-on experience, mostly treating cattle.
Testing grazing beef cattle for tuberculosis or doing routine pregnancy checks on dairy cows were among procedures Egey witnessed. However, also common in the life of a farm vet were the emergency cases, such as when dozens of goats mysteriously started dropping dead on a farm or when a wild one-ton bull accidentally broke its leg.
Hometown: West Hempstead, NY
High School: West Hempstead High School
Egey recounted a highlight of her internship. “Quite possibly, my favorite case this summer was of the first caesarean section I had witnessed on a cow, which went horribly wrong,” she said. The surgery involved the cow being fully awake and standing upright with local anesthetic being injected to the site of the incision. As the veterinarian worked to save the pregnant cow’s life, Egey remained levelheaded and helped the vets to calm the animal, wash and suture her back up.
“The sheer strength my mentors showed during even the most hopeless situations inspired me to emulate their intelligence and chase after my dream of becoming a mixed practice veterinary surgeon,” said Egey.
This summer provided Egey a glimpse at a different aspect of veterinary medicine and gave her a new perspective on what it means to loving and being a doctor for all animals.