Treating Large Animals on Vet School: The Big Rotation

When it comes to being vet, no amount of studying can prepare you for the actual interactions with live animals… especially when they are twice your size. This week on Vet School, we’re all about big rotations and the even bigger job that comes with it.

Fourth-year student Aria has already completed 18 rotations, but is starting all over in large animal surgery. It’s a constant marathon in vet school, and Aria’s first task is a big situation. Helen, a 6-year old co2100520_an-eye-for-an-eye_uensu6q222ogkowxa262qcibdyeatuw6lrlcsphco3flmkbrawuq_757x567w, was rescued from being slaughtered and has been blind since birth. Helen’s owners noticed her health declining and turned to Cornell for help. Since a cow’s eyesight is such a vital sense, Aria and her fellow vets want to find the best cure to prevent Helen from being in so much pain. Aria has the rare opportunity to participate in a challenging surgery that will hopefully save Helen’s failing health. If all else fails, the only option left may be euthanasia.

Over in the equine lab, fourth-year students, Singen and Aziza, work together to learn about another large animal – the horse. Singen, who is an aspiring equine vet, is excited about this rotation and takes in every opportunity to learn something new. Aziza, who is more interested in mixed animals, seizes this opportunity as well since she would like to open up her practice and offer some of these services. Their first task together is caring for horse’s teeth and using a power tool to file down horse’s sharp teeth. Singen and Aziza exemplify the strong bond each vet class has, as they continue to help and learn from each other.


Fourth-year students are great examples to those just beginning, as we see the bond first-year students are developing with each other as they begin their vet school journey. First-years students Dan, Cristina, and Hannah, visit the sheep farm to meet their biggest patient yet. These fluffy animals may look soft, but they sure are rowdy. The first-year students must learn how to flip a sheep and then properly draw blood. For some, such as Dan, this comes easy but other students don’t seem to have as much luck!

For students at Cornell’s vet school, it’s a big week with even bigger patients. However, with teamwork and dedication, both fourth-year and first-year students learn how to handle these large cases.

Tune in to an all new episode of Vet School: The Big Rotation on Saturday at 10/9c and let us know what you think!


  1. Tj Evans
    Houston, TX
    October 18, 2015, 1:19 am

    Outstanding show very educational.

  2. Kelley Lee
    October 31, 2015, 7:27 pm

    Why couldn’t the eye veterinarians do Helen’s eye surgery with the cow in a standing sling or hammock in order for her to stay standing under general sedation?

  3. Tammy G
    November 7, 2015, 8:24 pm

    I thought the same thing about using a sling or harness on Helen the cow. Why wouldn’t they use assisting apparatus for cows since they are so at risk if they don’t get up. Plus, Helen was known to be overweight. Very sad episode.

  4. Angie
    November 14, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I also don’t understand why a sling wasn’t used for Helen’s eye surgery? What am I not understanding?