Open House 2015 attracts big crowds to college

Child performs chest compressions

A child performs chest compressions on a dog model during Open House. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

Among the crowds gathered at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s annual Open House on April 11, children donning gloves, face masks and surgical caps learned more about the care provided to their beloved pets by veterinarians, technicians and students in the emergency and critical care area of the UF Small Animal Hospital.

“Our goals were to help the public understand what we do behind the doors of the lobby to help their pets during emergency situations and to let them have some fun playing ER doctor for the day,” said Dr. Ashley Allen, a clinical lecturer with the emergency and critical care service. “We had three stations set up in the ER to provide a hands-on experience.”

The first station was created with a dog model, an anesthesia machine and a monitor.

“The story I told the attendees was that he came home with a big wound on his back that needed to be fixed, and their job was to secure an airway for anesthesia,” Allen said. “In addition, I wanted to show them that the monitors used on dogs and cats during anesthesia are just like the monitors used in a human hospital.”

That particular station was a huge success with kids, as they were able to “play veterinarian” and intubate the canine model.

“The second station featured a feline model that needed hemodialysis because its kidneys were broken from eating an Easter lily,” Allen said. “They got to see how the blood, i.e. water and food coloring, was processed in the machine to act like a temporary kidney. They were most excited about the light pink bag collecting fluid, which I told them was the kitty’s urine that the machine helped him make.”

Allen added that the third station was also a highlight for participants, as it enabled people to do chest compressions using a teaching device to help them know if they were doing good enough and fast enough compressions for canine CPR. She added that UF veterinary students did a great job of helping attendees learn how to do correct and quality chest compressions.

K9 Demo, Open House 2015

Crowds gather to observe a K9 demonstration at Open House 2015. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

Many groups of young children, families and pre-veterinary clubs from across the state attended Open House this year, and what took place in the ER was only one of many educational and fun opportunities available to attendees. Gainesville Mounted Police and K-9 demonstrations were offered, along with equine treadmill demonstrations, a teddy bear clinic, agility dogs and much more, including “How to Get Into Veterinary School” presentations, which were standing room only in the college auditorium.

“I was thrilled to see so many members of the Gainesville community inside the vet school learning about veterinary medicine,” said Brittany Martabano, president of the Class of 2016 and student Open House committee chair.

“There were children and parents alike looking through microscopes with our clinical pathology department learning about blood cells and other common things that people know exist but may never have had the opportunity to see,” she said. “While we showcased our hospital’s services, we were also honored by the presence of our local canine and mounted patrol units who spoke to the community about their jobs and how they help to protect us.”

Martabano thanked everyone who was involved in making the event a success.

To view more photos from Open House, visit the college’s album on Facebook.



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