NCTA Vet Tech students assist with calving

Curtis, Neb. – Calving season is a natural part of agriculture. That’s why, each March for the past twenty years, Veterinary Technology students from Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture have taken a weekend to labor over the labor of cattle. For an elective course, students can spend a grueling 48 hours (which the rest of us call a good weekend) at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center in Clay Center, Neb. Dr. Gary Rupp, director of the center has NCTA students on the weekends; during the week, he and his staff of veterinarians and graduate students work with future veterinarians, providing both sets of students with real world experience in an educational setting. Students have the opportunity to perform multiple tasks under instruction.

While at GPVEC, students help wherever they are needed. Students aid with the calving process, assisting the staff of veterinarians with cesarean section births or pulling calves as needed. Sometimes, they’ll help the cows become good mothers. Other times, they will graft a mismatched pair together, providing a cow with a calf when both have lost their other half. As all in the cattle industry know, not all calves survive calving season. When this happens, students can assist with necropsies. Necropsy, if you are wondering, is an autopsy on animals to help determine the cause of death. The tasks that students undertake are generally at the mercy of the cattle, who determine the calving schedule.

In a recent trip, students ended up with a 24 hour calving session, tiring and exhilarating at the same time. Dr. Ricky Barnes, VTS instructor at NCTA notes, “It’s always interesting to hear the individual experiences that each student has had.” Dr. Barnes has enjoyed being a part of the program at NCTA, and she continues to promote these types of experiences to ensure that hands-on experience remains paramount at NCTA.

This spring the following students participated in the GPVEC adventure: Christy Johnson of Mt. Ayr, Iowa, Andrea Taylor of Glenvil, Neb., Kodee Walker of Bayard, Neb., Traci Steinkraus of Plainview, Neb., Erin Sheehan of Seward, Neb., Jena Earl of Omaha, Neb., and Jaimie Lapp of Hayes Center, Neb. Each 48 hours are different, but students always return with an abundance of experience.

For more information about the Veterinary Technology program at NCTA, contact Larry Cooper at 1.800.3CURTIS.