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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Bag of Bones Provides Skill Building

September 23rd, 2013
Danielle Butler with the goat skeleton she built this summer.

Danielle Butler with the goat skeleton she built this summer.

Dr. Terri Clark’s mission to populate the CVM anatomy lab with every skeleton in the animal kingdom is one step closer to completion thanks to second-year student Danielle Butler. She spent most of the summer articulating a goat skeleton.

Butler started with lots of bones and no instructions. “I got a bag of vertebrae, a bag of ribs, a skull, a mandible, and a sternum,” she says. “The legs were already put together by a student last year.” Dr. Clarke provided her with a book on articulating a moose. “That helped a little bit,” says Butler, “and the student who built the llama last summer wrote some notes.”

The project also required carpentry skills that were new to Butler. “This was the first time I’ve really used  a drill. All the ribs are attached with little metal spikes so I had to drill all those,” she says. “I used a super-tiny drill bit because I didn’t want to break anything.”

CVM jack-of-all-trades, Steve Lehto, helped Butler bend the heavy wire that ran through the backbone and also built a stand to support the goat. “He was a huge help,” says Butler, “I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Butler appreciates the importance of having skeletons available for students. “When we have lecture then we can go look at the skeletons. We used the horse and the ox a lot last year,” she says. “If you can get 3-D it’s always so much better.”

Having survived the first year of veterinary college, Butler is looking forward to getting into the lab this year. “I’m really excited for bacteriology because I love microbiology,” she says. “And I’m excited for parasitology; I’ve heard that is really interesting.”

As a Merial Scholar, Butler also worked this summer in Dr. Dan Rockey’s laboratory. “He has a new compound we’re testing, an anti-chlamydial and anti-gonorrhea compound,” she says. “We’re working with mice to see if it is toxic, and to get a pharmacokenetic profile. That’s been really interesting and has given me a lot of insight into lab animal medicine.”

Although interested in both lab animal medicine and radiology, Butler isn’t sure yet which career path she will choose. “It’s a little overwhelming. There are so many different things I can do, it’s hard to just pick one and go for it. I’m not there yet.” Fortunately, she has three more years to decide.

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