February 24, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
Pete Lukasik, a Lindstrom veterinarian, was visiting the Small Animal Sciences classroom, where he has been known to demonstrate basic surgical procedures for small groups of students in the small animals portion of the curriculum. This day he'd be spaying a 3 to 5-year-old Labrador mix dog named Sis, that had been surrendered to the local Humane Society.
Dr. Lukasik explained as he made the first incision in the sedated animal's abdomen-- that there's no such thing as "a spay is a spay is a spay." And, sure enough, 'Sis' presented some anatomical obstacles. Removing the dog's reproductive organs took at least twice as long as what's standard. But the class of 30 or so students hung tough through this nail-biter, and some kids even stepped close to the "operating table" asking questions and taking cell phone photos.
Dr. Lukasik says students really seem to benefit from the experience of observing surgery.
This demonstration was especially relevant because Briana, one of the two veterinary technicians who accompanied Dr. Pete, graduated from Chisago Lakes High School.
Briana and Shelley answered questions about their vocational schooling and some of the attributes veterinary techs should bring to their job.
Students with a genuine interest in being a doctor of veterinary or vet technical careers enjoy this as a unique mentoring moment; and other students at least get a feel for the actual sights and smells of surgery.
Bob Olsen, office manager for Lakes Veterinary and Surgical Center in Lindstrom, said Dr. Lukasik volunteers for this because he wants to broaden exposure to hands-on aspects of the field and basically tries to promote the profession. Visits to the classroom are also useful as a springboard to talk with students about maintaining their personal pets' health.
The spay procedure at Chisago Lakes High School included both scalpel and laser cutting. The laser is fairly mobile on a roller-wheeled stand. When using a laser it eliminates blood loss, but there is a lingering odor, like something's being burned.
Mr. Skrupky also positioned a small camera to record what was happening on the operating table and this was being projected onto a large white screen at the front of the classroom. He has students write a brief paper to hand in the following day highlighting items of interest from the surgery demonstration.
Sis, by the way, is doing fine. Northwoods Animal Humane Society now has her available for adoption.
The next generation...
Over the next few months Lakes Veterinary (just north of Holiday Station) in Lindstrom, is collecting donations for the small animal sciences department at the high school.
There's a concern the textbooks, which cost $81.40 each, won't be getting replaced as regularly as they should. Dr. Lukasik is planning to match donations to ensure the science books are kept up-to-date and in good condition. The veterinary practice is matching up to $1,500 for a total of $3,000, or enough to purchase books for 35 students.
Office manager Olsen said you are welcome to leave any amount of donation with staff at the front waiting area at the clinic, or mail donations to the center at: 12980 First Avenue North, Lindstrom, MN 55045. Make checks out to Chisago Lakes High School -- but make a note it's for science books in the memo line.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.