Behind the Scenes: UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine

Behind the Scenes

UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the best, but it’s also a teaching hospital that handles all sorts of animals and crazy situations.

During WATE 6 On Your Side’s visit, a cat was being prepared for surgery. It was having a pretty big self-inflicted wound stitched-up, but the whole thing is quite the process. It got an IV, a breathing tube, anesthesia and a heart monitor. Around the wound is shaved and cleaned, all before it gets to the operating table.

Dr. Cassie Lux is the surgical doctor.

“Animals were always in my life. I was always around them growing up, so the challenge of not having a patient that can tell you what’s wrong was enough for me to go into this profession,” said Lux.

Lux has been at UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine for almost five years and because the university is a teaching hospital, every doctor gets assigned a student. That is why there are so many people in the operating room. On top of that, many of the doctors also teach classes.

They live busy lives, but Lux said it’s worth it. 

“When that patient sees its owner for the first time and they wag their tail or give them a kiss, it warms my heart, it’s really the reason I’m in this profession,” said Lux.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Ryan O’Donnell got to scrub in during the surgery and they handed him a test tube of blood. They said it was a culture to make sure all the bacteria is out of the blood for the cat. As he watched them close up a wound, which is a pretty straight forward surgery, doctors reminded him it’s not always as simple as this.

“This is a sewing needle right here and what’s really cool about sharp objects is that the stomach and the intestines will try to pull away from the sharp points,” said Dr. Karen Tobias, who has been a vet for 32 years.

She said she has seen a lot of animals caught-up in some pretty unique situations.

“This was crazy, this dog got into the Crockpot that had pot roast in it. And the pot roast dumped over and it got the pot roast, but it also got the lid, so this is what safety glass looks like when it breaks-up into little tiny chunks,” said Tobias.

Tobias’ specialty is small animals, like dogs and cats, but UT as a whole handles all sorts of animals, big or small. They did a surgery on a tiger in 2012 and another one on a gorilla in 2014.

At the end of the day though, it’s all about helping these, for the most part, helpless animals.  

“It’s amazing to enjoy coming to work every day, I can’t imagine what it would be like not to love your job and I just love my job,” said Tobias.  

Last year, UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine treated 34,000 large and small animals and because there are only 30 veterinary colleges in the country, getting in to one can be pretty tough. 

The university said they’ll receive more than 900 applications for just 85 seats in the first year class.

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