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One Health: Doctors work with equine veterinarians in new initiative

UW Health Anesthesiology resident Nyle Larson, right, discusses induction of anesthesia in an equine patient with members of the UW Veterinary Care clinical team during a week-long internship at the hospital. © University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

Carrie Schroeder, section chief of anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, wants clinicians in human and veterinary medicine to know they have a lot more in common than they realize. An option at SVM for resident physicians at UW Health helps make this possible.

The program, coordinated and formalized by Schroeder, allows residents in anesthesiology in human medicine to spend a week in UW Veterinary Care to gain a new perspective in a different line of practice. The exchange takes place about eight times a year, but Schroeder expects further expansion.

As the program has grown, so have the SVM trainees. UW Veterinary Residents are now invited to UW Health Anesthesiology Rounds (Clinical Problem Presentations). Coordinators are also exploring opportunities for veterinary residents to rotate through the human hospital, as well as potential research partnerships.

During the week they visit UW Veterinary Care, each UW Health resident has flexibility over the types of cases they observe and investigate. Nyle Larson, a recent participating resident, had the opportunity to learn from patients who range in size from a small snake to a 1600 pound horse.

“I think anesthetizing the horse was the most intense induction I’ve seen in vet school and the most physically demanding I’ve ever seen — human or animal,” he says.

“From a recruitment point of view, it was huge. I think we are the only program in the country that offers such an experience. Many students are drawn to us because of their interest in gaining this experience.

Larson learned about the elective from former students of the program, who praised it, and he wants to continue the tradition of recommending it to prospective UW Health residents. He noted rotation as a unique feature when interviewing for residencies four years ago.

Christopher Darling, associate professor and residency program director in the Department of Anesthesiology at UW Health, confirms these sentiments. “From a recruiting perspective, it’s been huge,” he says. “I think we are the only program in the country that offers such an experience. This is one of the big questions we get asked about on recruiting days. Many students are drawn to us because of their interest in gaining this experience.

For Schroeder, the opportunity to facilitate and guide the program to success has been rewarding. “Our jobs are very similar in veterinary and human medicine,” she says. “The elective provides low-stakes learning for visiting residents. They can learn to learn and appreciate what they do for anesthesia, how we do it a little differently, and how the art of anesthesia is similar with different species.

Ultimately, twinning encompasses the idea of ​​“one health”: optimal health outcomes are achieved when people work together and recognize the interdependence of humans, animals and the shared environment.

“It was eye-opening to see how the physiology of animals compared to that of humans,” Larson says. “It’s also surprising that many of the drugs we use are identical to those vets use, even down to the doses.”

» Article published with the kind authorization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. He first appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of on duty magazine.

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