Skip to content
Log In

Life as a vet: "... hard but extremely rewarding"

Observing a surgical procedure on a dog was the first exposure to real-life science for students of the Doherty group at Session A of the NYSF for 2018 in their lab visit to the Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) on Thursday. They were able to see a small animal specialist surgeon, DrJacob Michelsen, in action restoring functionality to the dog’s airways, whilst demonstrating the wide variety of roles that a veterinary surgeon plays.

The students were also treated to a tour of the facilities by the Clinical Director of Emergency, Dr Michelle Keatley. These facilities include onsite x-ray and CT scanners as well as an onsite laboratory for diagnostic purposes. The ARH group has seven centres throughout the Eastern Australia from Brisbane in Qld to Point Cook in Victoria. The veterinarians at ARH provide medical and emergency treatment to small and exotic animals. For more information or to contact the ARH please visit:

Following the surgery and tour, the students learned about the use of CT scanners in diagnostic veterinary medicine. Using a previous feline patient’s scans Dr Michelsen illustrated for the students how different medical issues may appear on the scans. The students were able to have two phones (a samsung and an iphone), an apple, a nectarine and a water bottle imaged by the scanner.

Going behind the scenes at the Animal Referral Hospital - content image

CT scan of an iPhone.

The visit to the ARH was informative and inspirational for all the students, providing them with a unique insight with a behind the scenes look at veterinary practice. The visit also included a question and answer segment which enabled the students to broaden their knowledge about medical sciences and to compare the processes that are used in the medical treatment of both animals and humans.

Dr Keatley urged the students to “be flexible” both with their future careers and the opportunities which present themselves. When speaking about her own role as an Emergency Veterinarian she described it as “hard but extremely rewarding when the really sick animals pull through” and that each day would never be the same as the last. Dr Keatley stated that she enjoys the problem solving and diagnostic work that comes with each new case.

Hayley Miller, Communications Intern NYSF 2018 Session A and NYSF Alumna 2013.