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Vet School : ABC TV

A doco series about the Veterinary course at Murdoch Uni

1 - 4 of 4 posts

Jordanfun Jordanfun WA Posts: 79
1 28 Jul 2013

I thought people on here would be interested in this 6 part series on the ABC about the Veterinary school of Murdoch University. I found this particularly interesting because I attend Murdoch and always wondered what happened in the vet course. It follows the students through their 4th and 5h year of uni.

You can watch it on iView here.


*Steph* *Steph* VIC Posts: 363
2 28 Jul 2013
I watched part of this. I know students have to do certain things in order to become competent vets but I found it particularly confronting when they performed, what seemed to be pointless and unnecessary, surgery on sheep. I have sheep and my heart broke when one seemed to be waking up in the middle of an operation. Even if it felt no pain, can you imagine the fear that would have struck it. Also I don't understand how these people who must love animals to some extent, can be so calm and okay with doing such things, as well as working with animals who have been killed purely for them to learn on. Like I said, I know they need experience, I just felt horrible for the animals involved.

Jordanfun Jordanfun WA Posts: 79
3 29 Jul 2013
I was shocked too! I couldn't believe that the uni brought in living animals for the purpose of cutting them up for an assessment. Pretty crazy, and it's probably always been like this if not worse unfortunately.

Notas Notas VIC Posts: 1
4 3 Aug 2013
Hello. happy I felt compelled to reply.  I am a vet - I studied at Murdoch and have done this class.  I just wanted to give you a bit more information about it because I don't feel that the documentary explained it very well.

The procedure, a rumenotomy, is very common in ruminant medicine for diseases such as chronic bloat, obstructions and removal of foreign bodies. A similar procedure is used for caesarians. It's important that vets know how to do these surgeries. happy It is rare to do a general anaesthetic on cows or sheep as general anaesthesia is quite risky for ruminants.  Usually they are just sedated and local anaesthetics are used to ensure they don't feel pain.  

In teaching, sheep are used because they are smaller and hence easier to do the surgery on.  The sheep you saw on the video were not asleep under general anaesthetic, just sedated and given local anaesthetics to ensure they didn't feel pain.  So they didn't wake up out of a general anaesthetic.  For the most part, having their eyes covered with a towel means they relax and lay still but every now and then they might get restless and move around.  Of course it is possible that the anaesthetic or sedation could wear off after an extended period of time, but students are taught how long the medications last and are conscious of how long they have to do the procedure.  No vet or vet student wants to cause an animal pain!

I can understand it is confronting to watch, but as Steph acknowledged, vets do have to do certain things to become competent.  So whilst the sheep as an individual did not require the surgery, it was not pointless.  Those vet students have learned what it is like to do this surgical procedure on a sedated animal, something that they will do again and again in their job.  They know how the living tissues behave, where to put the local anaesthetic to ensure no pain, what to do if there is bleeding, how to suture properly etc.  

In my opinion, it is better to have done the first one of these in the safe environment of the university, under the direct supervision of qualified veterinarians, than to do the very first one on a farm by yourself, having only read about it from a book.

Thanks for reading. happy