A: Only 5. As long as there is an equine medicine resident around to supervise.
Yes, at long last, I had my first adventure in the equine barn this morning!
Thanks to the fact that horses have eyes and I am on ophthalmology, I headed out with the platoon of other wary small animal trackers, led by one semi-confident mixed animal senior, to meet a beautiful black and white paint horse being dropped off for surgical removal of his ocular squamous cell carcinoma tomorrow.
I felt better once I found out that 2 of the 3 seniors in the group had never been to the barn, either -- and they're graduating in 2 weeks!
True, all we needed to do was pick a stall, put an ID card on the front, fill up the tub with water, and spread a bunch of straw on the ground. And yes, that's probably just as easy as it sounds. But I'm proud to say that the 5 of us banded together to git 'er done (as some of the equine medicine juniors and seniors looked on in amusement, and the expression on the equine resident's face plainly said "And how did you guys get into vet school?"). In our defense, breaking up a big bale of straw seems to be a lot more fun when you're not doing it alone.
In other ophtho news, I watched an enucleation (cutting out the eyeball) on an Airedale with chronic uveitis and a recently detached retina. I also saw an entropion correction (cutting out part of the eyelid that is causing the eyelid to roll in and the eyelashes to scrape on the eye) and watched a senior student tack a cherry eye.
Although all these surgeries have been cool to see (and I'm glad I got a chance to venture into the equine facilities), I do wish that they had appointments in the morning sometimes instead of surgery -- I thought I was signing up to help work up eye problems during this week of independent study, not just stand around in surgery on my tip toes trying to see a miniscule surgical field with 3 surgeons' heads blocking my view. Oh well!