Taking the Reins

Whitney Madigan with Taffy

There is no better place for sick or injured horses than the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University. In addition to a skilled team of professional veterinarians, technicians and residents, upper-level students literally take the reins of the patients at the hospital.

 “We’re the first ones the clients talk to, and the first ones they can form a bond with, and that’s really cool,” Whitney Madigan, a fourth-year veterinary student said.

 Madigan has a bachelors degree in animal science. She started working at the large animal hospital as a junior, which helped her further realize her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

 “Had you asked me 10 years ago, I was pretty sure I was going to be a florist,” Madigan said. “Five years ago, a parasitologist. But these professions, I quickly learned, would not have fulfilled my desire to make differences in the lives on animals and their people.”

 Students like Madigan are responsible for taking patient histories and consulting with the rest of the team to diagnose and treat patients.

 Michael Huber, section head of large animal surgery said he would match Oregon State veterinary students against any others in the country.

 “Our students are of the highest caliber,” he said. “I think they have had excellent preparation during their time here.”

 The collaborative spirit of full-time employees and students at the large animal hospital ensures the care patients receive is of the highest caliber as well. Most patients treated at Oregon State have been referred by another veterinarian because they require treatment by a specialist and access to state-of-the-art facilities. But OSU also provides wellness exams, dentistry, nutritional consultations, and even acupuncture.

 Providing a high level of care on a personal level is something both faculty and students at the equine hospital are passionate about.

 “The students are able to learn from each case that presents here,” Madigan said. “It’s just as rewarding for the students as it is for the clients, and they really are receiving top notch care.”