The University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine hosted an open house, \”Vet-U-Can\” on September 25th and 26th on the Spy Hill Campus. The open house was held at the brand new, state of the art Clinical Studies Building and featured interactive displays, scavenger hunts and organized tours by students.


The only veterinary college in Alberta welcomed the public into the site of hands-on clinical and diagnostic learning. There were several departments to explore, including Small Animal, Equine, Bovine and Anatomy.  In the Small Animal section, there was a glimpse into the new x-ray room and equipment, as well as the large surgery suite. Participants were able to try their hand at inserting an anaesthesia tube into the patient (in this case, a large and cuddly stuffed dog).


I spent the most time, obviously, in the Equine section of the open house. There were new stocks on display for treating the animals, as well as a bandaging display. Kids and parents alike were able to attempt a standing bandage; I however, thought I had too much practise from years of showing. Laptops were set up at each bandaging station with an equine x-ray, and the challenge of pointing out what was wrong with each horse.


The surgery room was the highlight, with the operating table and anaesthesia machine out to inspect. There was a mock-surgery in progress, and participants were able to inspect the horse’s intestine in order to diagnose what the problem, and following solution, was.


On to the Bovine section, and by far the coolest interactive display was set up, and drawing a lot of attention. City slickers were lined up to try preg-checking some very realistic looking cows, one of which was pregnant, the challenge being determining which one. There was a milking station for the kids, and a new milking machine on display. When the calving chains were brought out, the looks on some of the mothers\’ faces were priceless.


The Anatomy display was also a large draw for the crowds, comprised mostly of families with children. I was amazed to see the difference between canine, bovine and equine stomachs, kidneys, intestines and hearts. There were also cross sections, both vertically and horizontally, of equine hooves.

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The open house was a huge success and an educational day trip for many families. It was also an exciting day for the current students to show off what they are learning in their program, and how much they enjoy the thought of becoming a practising veterinarian one day.


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