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The Black Magic Hat - Leighann Diehl

(Leighann, AVC class of 2015, travelled to Sheshatshiu and Rigolet)

Leighann, Rhonda and Sarah arrive in RIgolet

At the beginning of The Chinook Project, I felt like an untrained magician reaching into my black magic hat excited for what I was going to pull from this project. In my case, it was, appropriately, a rabbit that had a lasting impression.

The rabbit had come into the clinic for what we thought was just going to be a routine check up appointment; however, when the owner came in, she asked if we could neuter him for her because she said her rabbit had some behavioral problems, and she knew that neutering rabbits helped with such issues.

At first, we were hesitant to do the rabbit’s surgery because we were unsure if our makeshift clinic was equipped for an exotic surgery, as there are higher risks in rabbit neuters than there are with cats and dogs. After some debate and a mental check of our equipment, itwas decided that we would be able to perform surgery. I was happy that even in our small clinic we would be able to help this owner and hopefully help with the rabbit's behavior. As the owner filled out the admitting paperwork, I was filled with excitement because this would be my first exotic surgery, and it has always been a goal of mine to incorporate pocket pets like rabbits into my future practice. I knew that this would be an invigorating learning experience.

Since we had only been doing dogs and cats at this point in the trip, some research on anesthetic protocols for rabbits needed to be done to ensure that he received the best quality of medicine we could offer to him. After determining safe drugs that could be used and performing a complete physical exam, it was time for the surgery. I was lucky to assist Dr. Hopson on the surgery, and I remember the exact moment when she asked if I would like to do part of it. I squeaked a “yes” too enthusiastically through my surgeons’ mask and took ahold of the suture ready to help in any way I could. The surgery went seamlessly, and the rabbit woke up quickly.

The picture posted below was taken as I held him wrapped in a towel for recovery.

I chose this picture because this experience epitomized The Chinook Project for me. I jumped into the rabbit neuter excited for a challenge and a new adventure, just as I went into this project; ready for a challenge, new experiences, and to push my boundaries further to help make myself a better veterinarian when I graduate.

Going into this project, I assumed the people or the sled dogs would be the topic I would write this blog post about, but in the end, it was a rabbit that had the greatest impact on me.

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