Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kids learn at vet camp

June 28, 2001
Max, a beagle belonging to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rests between canine Officer Darren Bartnik’s legs Wednesday at the Equine Performance Center. The Department of Agriculture, Michigan State Police, and U.S. Customs officers gave a demonstration about the use of dogs in enforcement to students attending the MSU Veterinary Camp. —

How would a blood and guts smoothie taste? To campers at the MSU Veterinary Camp, they tasted great.

On Wednesday, campers, like 13-year-old Jessie Priestley, wet their whistles with the strawberry, banana and lemon flavor of “cow intestine smoothies.”

“I liked when we got to make the smoothie things,” the Dexter resident said.

Suttons Bay resident Laura Patmore, 13, said when she got to “do the guts,” it was one of her favorite moments at the camp. She also said she liked going to the farms.

The camp, which started Sunday and ends Friday, is in its third year. Campers are future ninth-graders who have exhibited an interest in science fields.

Some activities include proper preparatory procedures for surgery, working on bone models and participating in animal demonstrations. Linda Chadderdon, the college’s information officer, said the camp’s aim is to show kids what it is like to be a veterinary student.

To attend, campers must apply and write an essay, including a letter of recommendation from their science teachers. The demand to attend the camp is increasing every year.

“Oh yeah, interest is very high,” said Dr. David Sprecher, outreach activities coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We have a very low level of advertising. Most of it is through word-of-mouth and sending information to schools.”

The camp had between 315 and 320 applicants, Sprecher said. There are 103 students at the camp this year.

“We get positive feedback from the parents and kids even well after the camp is done,” Sprecher said.

Fourth-year veterinary student Kristy Mietelka, the camp’s lead counselor, said the camp is representative of an MSU veterinary student’s experience.

“They see the different things that we see,” Mietelka said. “They got to saw bones in half, fix fractures and see other aspects of vet med.”

Chadderdon said the students get hands-on experience.

“(The campers) do a lot of stuff on a fair number and variety of animals,” Chadderdon said. “Most of the kids come from an urban environment, so they’re not as familiar with farm animals like horses.”

Sprecher said he believes the camp encourages students to pursue veterinary medicine either at MSU or elsewhere.

“I think many of these children will apply to MSU and the College of Veterinary Medicine,” Sprecher said.

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