Medicine is Medicine, Human or Animal

What Can Veterinary and Human Medicine Students Learn From Each Other?

Contributed by Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Last week we had a great exercise at veterinary school, where we met with students from the UC Davis School of Medicine and worked on a case that exemplifies the One Health approach. It was a valuable experience due to many, many reasons:

– We had thought-provoking discussions on the human side, veterinary side, public health and government regulations side. At the same time we realized the depth of information we lack individually and professionally in each of these facets.

School of Veterinary Medicine students meet with School of Medicine students during a One Health collaboration session. Photo by Don Preisler/UCDavis

School of Veterinary Medicine students meet with School of Medicine students during a One Health collaboration session. Photo by Don Preisler/UCDavis

– We questioned ourselves in what our responsibilities are, and how far we should get involved in the situation vs leave it to other professionals, and pros and cons of each option.

– We are lucky at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to be very One Health oriented; and as a member of the veterinary profession, we are used to the concept of treating the whole patient. It was great to come together with human medicine students and discuss with them about how to go through an interaction with a patient/client and patient and similarities of veterinary medicine to pediatric human medicine.

– We had an emotionally charged case at hand which could have turned really emotional and difficult to deal with very fast. While this was not a priority of our activity today, I can see this being a perfect case for a client simulation lab where one really needs to think about how to handle best. I couldn’t help but think of what I would have done if I was involved in such a case.

– I was able to see mock interviews of human medicine students. They were similar to our client simulation labs, yet at some level so different too.

– It was a great opportunity to learn from each side: We were asked questions about veterinary medicine and schooling, and we learned about the structure of human medicine schools. It was a pleasure to partake in such a curious give and take. It was very honest, very open and very sincere.

Overall it was relieving to see veterinary medicine being taken seriously on the front lines of human medicine. I would like to think we left our fellow human medicine students with some respect in what we do and with more interest and curiosity in a One Health approach.

I certainly was impressed in their eagerness and openness. I am already looking forward to have more lively chats with fellow medical students.

Curious? Learn more here.

Veterinary Medicine in the Land of Smiles

Contributed by Sarah Tirrell, Class of 2018

Sharing a meal with Thai veterinary students and doctors

Sharing a meal with Thai veterinary students and doctors

This summer I returned to one of my favorite places in the world – Thailand, the land of smiles. My goal is to practice veterinary medicine in Thailand, so I was extremely excited to participate in a veterinary externship at Chulalongkorn University’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. I was not disappointed by my experience; I was able to expand my knowledge of veterinary medicine, practice some clinical skills, explore the differences between veterinary medicine practices in Thailand and in the United States, and make some new friends.

During my externship, I was able to assist the hospital’s veterinarians in four different specialties. I spent 3 days a week in General Medicine with Dr. Kaew giving various injections, restraining patients, drawing blood, running some blood tests, and practicing other clinical tasks. Since she spoke fluent English, I was also able to discuss cases with her and ask questions about veterinary education and practice in Thailand. Through these conversations I was able to learn about disease patterns in Bangkok, how Thai culture affects the standard of care, and how Thai veterinary school differs from America. One of the most interesting things I learned was that during the four years that Dr. Kaew has been practicing, she has only euthanized three patients. Palliative care is a major focus of Thai veterinary medicine and euthanasia is usually only performed in extreme trauma cases. Continue reading

Making a Difference in Chile

Contributed by Marlene Belmar, Class of 2018

Photos courtesy of Dr. Gerardo Acosta

Marlene Belmar in Chile

Marlene Belmar in Chile

My life long career goal within veterinary medicine is to specialize in epidemiology and apply my knowledge and skills towards a better understanding of zoonotic diseases. This past summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Chile to participate in a research project entitled “Control and Prevention of Hydatidosis/Echinococcosis in the communes of Punitaqui, Monte Patria and Combarbalá within the province of Limarí in the region of Coquimbo,” under the mentorship of Dr. Gerardo Acosta-Jamett.

Hydatidosis is a zoonotic disease of high public health concern within Chile, where dogs are the intermediate host and herbivores and humans are the definitive host. Studies evaluating risk factors associated with the presence of E. granulosus in dog feces have only been initiated recently. Having the opportunity to participate in a project that is striving to improve the lives of people and animals in underserved areas of Chile sparked all of my interests. Continue reading

One Health Research in Mongolia

Contributed by Samantha Lawton, Class of 2017

Sam Lawton, Class of 2017 with a lamb in Mongolia. (Photo: Soyolbolod Serguleng)

Sam Lawton, Class of 2017 with a lamb in Mongolia. (Photo: Soyolbolod Serguleng)

Sain baina uu (that is Hello in Mongolian)! During June and July of 2015 I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Mongolia for five weeks in order to complete a STAR project (Students Training in Advanced Research). My project was assessing the prevalence and distribution of intestinal parasites in small ruminants and dogs. Mongolia was an excellent place to conduct this research because people, their livestock and their dogs interact closely and many people are reliant on animals for food and fiber. Therefore, intestinal parasites, and targeted strategies to reduce parasites, could have impacts on animal health, economic health and even human health in the case of some intestinal parasites, like Echinococcus, where humans can be infected if they consume parasite eggs shed in dog feces.

In the field, collecting samples. (Photo: Soyolbolod Serguleng)

In the field, collecting samples. (Photo: Soyolbolod Serguleng)

A friend/previous mentor connected me with this project when I approached her about opportunities to experience fieldwork. I wanted to gain fieldwork experience because I have always thought that field research was something I might like to do in my future but only had short experiences. This summer did confirm that I really do love international fieldwork and I want to incorporate it into my career. Continue reading

Serving Pets of the Homeless in Sacramento


Veterinary student presenting a holiday gift basket to a Mercer Client with patients enjoying their new sweaters.

For more than 20 years, the Mercer Veterinary Clinic has provided essential free veterinary care to the pets of Sacramento’s homeless citizens. DVM students from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine operate the monthly clinic with the help of veterinarians and faculty from the school, community veterinarians who serve on the Mercer Clinic Board of Directors, and an invaluable number of undergraduate students from UC Davis.

Services include a wide range of medical care including spay and neuter surgeries, provision of prescription medications, physical exams and diagnoses that result in treatments, surgical repair, and preventive medical treatments. This year, the dedication of the clinic’s volunteers was recognized by three awards—including a Presidential Award for Community Service—complete with a plaque, pin and certificate signed by President Obama.


Rachel Ferris

Third-year veterinary students Rachel Ferris and Byron Lee recently shared a photo essay that captures some of the experiences at the clinic. Rachel started volunteering while an undergraduate at UC Davis in 2009. The following year, she took over as the undergrad coordinator and stayed involved after coming to veterinary school. She served as the head coordinator her second year of vet school.


Byron Lee


Byron got involved in volunteer work through a club in high school and wanted to continue some kind of outreach. He served as the historian during his second year of vet school. “I really like helping people. The challenge with Mercer Clinic is figuring out what we can do with the least amount of money. We learn to make do with what we have.”

Photos Courtesy of Byron Lee Continue reading