Two University of California, Davis students have encountered their first Australian wildlife patients - koalas, pythons, tawny frogmouths, echidnas and even wayward kites - at The University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science.
The veterinary medicine students, Monica Milstein and Kelly Morello, have written enthusiastically about their UQ avian and exotics externship, and posted a fun video highlighting their encounters with Australian wildlife.
“When we arrived at the UQ Gatton campus at the end of May to start our four-week internship with the Avian and Exotics Service at the UQ Vets Small Animal Hospital, we had no idea what we were getting into.
“As two visiting second-year students from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, we had very little avian or exotic experience, but it turned out to be some of the best four weeks of our lives!
“We were fortunate enough to work with the incredible group of veterinarians, nurses, and students at UQ Gatton, as well as handle everything from sassy lorikeets to neonatal kangaroos, explore Gatton and the surrounding Queensland region, and most importantly, learn some fantastic Australian slang.
“Each day working with Dr Bob Doneley was a surprise and a delight.
“Under his leadership, the Avian and Exotics Service provided us with a huge variety of cases chock full with learning opportunities in handling and treating exotic species, not to mention endless possibilities for creativity.
“We did everything from annual health check appointments on pet cockatiels to turtle shell repair surgery to radiographing eastern grey kangaroos.
“Most of the time we felt woefully unprepared, but under the guidance and assistance of the amazing veterinary nurses Bec and Gary, the wonderful Dr Libby, and the extremely compassionate Silks, we were able to ask questions and learn in a friendly and welcoming environment.
“And we are so thankful they warned us about the vicious drop bears!
“Our experience at the UQ Vets Small Animal hospital taught us that medicine is universal, and no matter your background, exposing yourself to as many cases and species as possible will help you become a better veterinarian.
“We were fortunate enough to make some of the most wonderful friends; it seems that rescuing kites from cooling towers, doing enemas on constipated bearded dragons and wrestling fiery brushtail possums out of carriers have a way of instantly bonding you.”
Monica and Kelly said: “Looking back, the whole experience seems surreal, almost too good to be true, and if we could go back and do it again, we would in a heartbeat.