Catz vets with all creatures great and small

Monday 22 April 2024

St Catharine’s is home to a thriving community of Veterinary Medicine students, with five new students admitted each year. These students encounter a wide range of animals during their degree and accompanying extramural placements. 

All Veterinary Medicine students are required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to complete 38 weeks of extramural studies: 12 weeks accumulated across the first three years of studies, and a further 26 weeks across the second block of three years. At Cambridge, this time tends to fall during the vacations and must be split across different species of animals.

Read on to enjoy our students’ photos and the stories behind them. 

Mary Woodfear, a second-year undergraduate

Mary Woodfear with calf and cow
Mary after a calving
Mary Woodfear with 10kg lamb
Mary with a 10kg lamb

“The first photo is me with the first mother and calf duo that I calved myself in September 2023. The second one is a whopping 10kg lamb that I helped into the world in April 2023, which was an extraordinary experience because newborn lambs are normally closer to 4kg!”

Lauren Stewart, a second-year undergraduate

Lauren Stewart with rabbit

“I am showcasing a “rabbit burrito” from November 2022 – much like swaddling a baby, it keeps the animal immobilised with all the limbs tucked in while we quickly administer vaccines. As a result, the whole process causes as little stress as possible for the rabbit.”

Brandon Childs, a first-year undergraduate

Brandon Childs with a lamb

“This photo was taken is on Tuncombe Farm in West Crewkerne, Somerset. The lamb was brought back to the pens as it was a triplet, and I had to give it colostrum and then monitor it as we transitioned it from a bottle to a ewe!”

Lois Logan, a third-year undergraduate 

Lois Logan with Mangalitza pigs
Lamb in Lois Logan's lap

“In August 2023, I spent a fortnight working with Mangalitza pigs, a rare ancient breed that inspired the nursery rhyme phrase 'not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!'. While caring for these affectionately dubbed “pigs with a perm”, I also gained insights into their conservation, a field of veterinary medicine that I am now seriously considering.

“On an earlier placement in April 2022, the foul weather and distance from home were beginning to dampen my spirits. The sheep weren’t having a better time of it either – that night, there were a few prolapsed ewes and stillborn lambs. While bottle feeding orphaned lambs, this one took it upon herself to curl up on my lap and take a nap. I'd like to think it was an act of assurance, but it was more likely the fact that, to her, I perfectly emulated a radiator!”

Meg Brougham, a fourth-year undergraduate

Meg Brougham with model horse

“This photo from November 2023 shows me after placing an intravenous catheter in a model horse during my small group practical class, while a real horse observes my work. The vet school’s clinical skills team provides lots of models on which we can practise our skills before we apply them to real patients. These models include soft toy dogs for bandaging, haptic cows to simulate pregnancy diagnosis procedures, and kiwi fruits to practise fine needle aspiration techniques.”

Find out more about studying veterinary medicine at St Catharine's.