By Dr. Jennifer Ree
In my first 18 months as a small animal surgery resident at Oregon State University, I’ve had many amazing learning experiences. My mentors at OSU have challenged me daily to widen and cultivate my knowledge, as well as improve my surgical and clinical skills. I have also participated in ongoing studies within our surgery group, and have started my own prospective randomized clinical trial as part of my Master’s program.
My clinical duties also kept me fully engaged. Since we are a tertiary referral hospital, we are challenged with many cases that are “out of the norm.” Our soft tissue surgery service performs procedures in conjunction with our cardiology service and oncology service. We have performed a number of pulmonary artery banding cases with cardiology present with transesophageal echocardiogram to evaluate the accuracy of our partial ligation. Our oncology service has been gifted a new Intrabeam intraoperative radiation therapy unit that delivers radiation as high as 3-6Gy to the tissues directly in contact with the radiation probe after marginal resections of otherwise inoperable tumors in the maxilla or mandible.
My mentor, Dr. Wendy Baltzer, is double-boarded in surgery and in the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, so I have been able to see a wide variety of sports medicine cases as well. Being coached in this aspect of orthopedics broadens my ability to participate actively in the postoperative care of many orthopedic cases. I have always had a love for rehabilitation, with all aspects of surgery involving wound management, chronic orthopedic disease, and recovery from neurologic deficits. This exposure has solidified my desire to maintain rehabilitation as part of my career.
One of the most memorable cases I had that challenged my knowledge and skills involved a 6-month-old Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy with severe valvular pulmonic stenosis. The stenosis was unable to be corrected minimally invasively and a pericardial patch graft was recommended. Our anesthesia, soft tissue, and cardiology services planned for this surgery meticulously. And while the stenosis remained four months after surgery, we collectively performed this procedure without morbidity to the patient. My main role was to communicate between the three services involved, and lay out the procedure in a step-by-step fashion so that we would all be accurately prepared to play our roles and communicate effectively in the surgical suite. This solidified my resolve to remain calm and prepared for every surgical procedure, from the routine ovariectomy to the challenging venotomy for a right-sided adrenalectomy. Read the rest of this entry »