Spring 2019

A Custom Fit

Learn how veterinary students personalize their education by exploring areas of interest for selective credits.

By Genevieve Rajewski

Harris Fitzgerel, A17, V21

Selective Anesthesia at the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals

Photo: Tufts University

Why he chose it “I chose it to gain more familiarity with the anesthesia and surgeries that take place in a busy referral hospital such as those at Tufts, as I only had experience with surgeries performed in general practice. I also was influenced by how great Drs. Lois Wetmore and Emily McCobb, V00, VG02, are to work with and learn from.”

Most rewarding aspect “The coolest part has been to see the drugs used in actual surgeries and to learn not only which side effects to look out for, but also why those are the expected side effects. This adds a practical and clinical understanding to what we learn in class. It’s important to ask questions as necessary about what is happening mid-surgery. This builds the really good skill of being able to actively participate in anesthesia protocols, which is great preparation for future clinics or externships.”


Daniela López Goicochea, V21

Selective Community medicine clinics and outreach at the Worcester Housing Authority

Photo: Courtesy of Daniela López Goicochea

Why she chose it “I chose the WHA outreach clinics because of my interests in community veterinary medicine, public health, and increasing access to care. I wanted to get more experience conducting physical exams and providing primary care, while participating in community medicine firsthand. These clinics are a great example of how important it is to provide access to veterinary care to underserved populations, and how it can have a direct impact on public health and the human-animal bond.”

Most rewarding aspect “Spanish is my native language, and I’ve translated for some of our Spanish-speaking clients at one of the WHA sites. Being able to communicate directly with clients about their concerns about their pets helped create a sense of community between the residents and the veterinary caregivers—and we were able to provide better care. It really highlighted the importance of communication, as well as the need for more bilingual veterinarians to better serve our diverse population of clients.”


Ava Mastrostefano, V22

Selective Aquatic animal medicine at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut

Photo: Courtesy of Ava Mastrostefano

Why she chose it “I hope to pursue a career at an aquarium after graduation. I love the challenge involved in aquatics. We know so much more about dogs and cats [than marine life], and I’m fascinated by the innovative treatments and therapies that zoo and aquarium veterinarians are able to come up with.”

Most rewarding aspect “I have really enjoyed being able to work with a wide variety of species. I’ve seen ultrasounds on beluga whales, deworming of frogs, cownose ray injections, skink X-rays, venipuncture on crabs, exams on rescued seals, laser treatment on penguin feet, and much more. It’s rewarding to see what great lengths the veterinary team will go to in order to ensure comfort of animals great and small. It’s also incredible to see the bond between the veterinary team, the trainers, and the animals. It requires so much trust to be able to perform medical procedures on animals such as whales and sea lions, and I’m impressed by how the team has worked with these marine mammals to have them voluntarily participate in their own medical care.”

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