Auburn University Vet Camp offers youth a chance to experience the veterinary profession

Published: June 14, 2018
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Three veterinary summer camps offer youth the first-hand experience of being a veterinarian, giving some of them an early insight into a potential career field.

A total of 100 students will participate in camps at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, coordinated in partnership with Auburn’s Office of Professional Continuing Education. The camps are popular, booking well in advance of the deadline. This year’s camps are full, and no additional campers are accepted.

Two Veterinary Camps, one for 9th to 11th graders and one for high school seniors, is set for June 18-22, and a Junior Veterinary Camp, for 6th to 8th graders will be July 16-20.

All three camps are conducted by veterinary students, faculty and staff of the college and offered to students interested in the field of veterinary medicine.

Kimberley Moyers and Trey McElroy, both third-year veterinary students are Vet Camp’s student directors, overseeing more than 20 second- and third-year veterinary students who work with campers.

One of this year’s camp counselors, second-year veterinary student Moriah Lorge, knows a little something about Vet Camp: she attended camp in 2013.

The Athens, Alabama, native attended the advance camp for rising high school seniors, and says it was a great opportunity to see what a veterinary education would entail. “I loved camp and we experienced many of the same things you do in our educational curriculum.

“You really experience what you will study as a professional veterinary student,” Lorge said. “Vet Camp includes anatomy and histology classes and as I went through my first year I remembered going over some of it from Vet Camp.”

Lorge said one of her favorite experiences in Vet Camp was bone box day, where students were given bones and had to create a skeleton from it.

“Going to Vet Camp was one of the reasons I wanted to come to school at Auburn to be a veterinarian,” Lorge said. “I knew from Vet Camp the program was going to be amazing, and it is.”

“Vet Camp is a week of hands-on education where we show the students as many aspects of veterinary medicine as possible. We incorporate learning with many full-filled activities,” McElroy said. “We want to immerse them in the medical side, along with showing the many other aspects of the veterinary field.”

“This summer is going to be fantastic. I can’t wait to meet all of the campers,” Moyers said.

Students at all sessions learn about veterinary medicine first-hand in classrooms, laboratories and clinical facilities. “One of our favorite labs is Surgery Day, where we have the campers gown and glove in like surgeons. They get to practice drawing blood, placing IV catheters, intubating and suturing on fake canine patients, which are actually tube socks filled with rice and pool noodles,” Moyers said. “Another exciting lab is Physical Diagnosis, where we bring in our dogs and teach the children how to do exams on them.”

Camp participants will also visit and learn about animals in the college’s equine, dairy and beef units, as well as spend time learning about pathobiology and study common diseases in animals such as fleas, ticks and heartworms. Students also learn about public health, wildlife, anatomy, imaging and first aid, as well as gain valuable mentoring about veterinary careers.

“Our Large Animal Days are always a big hit during vet camp,” Moyers said. “The kids are able to interact with our horse herd and learn about colorings and markings, husbandry, parasites and how to do physical exams. The students get to interact with our dairy herd, where they learn haltering, teeth aging and physical exams. We also bring up some of our small ruminants, such as goats, sheep and alpacas.”

“A lot of the skills we teach the campers not only apply to future veterinarians, but will also make them better pet owners,” McElroy said. “We hope that they will be able to take a little of what they learn and apply it to their everyday life.”

“I love having the opportunity to be a part of this summer program,” McElroy said. Seeing the excitement all of the students have for veterinary medicine reminds me why I started this wonderful career path.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine is the South's original and nation's seventh oldest veterinary medical program, celebrating 126 years. We prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. The college provides programs of instruction, research, outreach, and service that are in the best interests of the citizens of the state of Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world.