Auburn veterinary medicine students have headed out for eight weeks of real world experience

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The week of spring break at Auburn University, 121 Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2017 students began preceptorships throughout the state and beyond to gain real world experience in their chosen disciplines under the supervision of veterinarians around the United States. During the eight-week experience, students apply what they have learned in classrooms, laboratories and clinical rotations.

The students in this class have chosen a variety of specializations. While 30 students will be gaining professional experience in Alabama and 30 in Kentucky, others will complete preceptorships in more distant locations.

Samantha Warner is at the Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

The hospital is a referral center providing primary and specialty level care as well as worldwide referral and consultative services for all dogs in Department of Defense Military Working Dog programs. It also provides care to dogs of other federal agencies such as those undergoing training with the Transportation Security Administration.

"I hope to learn how to provide medical care for these amazing dogs while making the experience as stress free as possible for both the canines and their handlers," Warner said.

Warner is a member of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps who will be participating in a one-year internship with the Army at Ft. Benning following graduation and before being stationed as a veterinarian.

"I also hope to gain a better understanding of how preventative medicine and conditioning can positively impact the entire life of our military's working dogs, from the selection of breeding stock and whelping of new litters to the training, working life and retirement of each dog," she said. "I am interested in working-dog medicine, specifically behavior, preventive care and rehabilitation of the canine athlete."

Katie Xu Sedlaczek calls herself a "certified cat lady." She adopted three cats while in college, and her preceptorship is at the Lexington [Kentucky] Hospital for Cats–a cat-only practice.

"I was familiar with the cat hospital from my time in undergrad at UK, and felt that a preceptorship there would be a great way for me to get the feline knowledge I was looking for while returning to Lexington.

I love cats, and I wanted to complement my excellent Auburn education with the latest in feline medicine and handling techniques before heading out into the real world as a doctor of veterinary medicine," she said. "The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine provided me with a great foundation in client communication and the basics of preventive care, which are critical in a small animal practice."

Students are required to choose a hosting practice that is at least 30 miles away from the Auburn campus. Practices undergo a rigorous evaluation process before they are approved to host a preceptor student. Applications are reviewed by a committee to ensure that they meet the high standards of practice that Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine requires. Once accepted, practices can continue to host students for four years before repeating the application process.

The college also strives to ensure that the experiences students gain during the preceptorship impacts the future direction of the college. Following the preceptorship, students spend a day debriefing by discussing all of their prior educational experiences, including their preceptorship.

The Class of 2017 completes preceptorships in early May. After the successful completion of the preceptorship and debriefing, the senior class will participate in commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, May 9, in Auburn Arena.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is the South's oldest and nation's seventh oldest veterinary medical program, celebrating 125 years. It prepares 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.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.