Ross School - Senior Projects 2012


Student: Thomas Rückert

Mentor: Patty Lein

Domain(s): Science

Faculty Grader: Greg Drossel




Documentation of Product


Title: Rounds

Description: For my senior project I accompanied a large animal veterinarian on his rounds, documenting his case work.  Essentially, I captured the excitement and challenges of veterinarian fieldwork (check ups, follow ups and simple operations). My product is an annotated case study journal. This journal includes information about the patients:  animal breed, presenting symptoms,  first hand treatment (any work that can be simply done on site), possible second hand treatment (in the case of serious injury and or need of operation), photographs and recovery which outlines any further actions required for restoring the patient's help.  I also attended several operations, these experiences are documented through essays and video, which accompany my case study journal. This project was motivated by my love for animals as well as the time I have invested in learning about animal care as a pet owner (on our gentleman’s farm). Farm animals surround me at my home, and after observing and experiencing the basic maintenance and case specific actions taken during medical emergencies on our farm, I developed a keen interest in and fascination for the field of veterinarian medicine. 






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Exhibition & Presentation Summary


1- Thank you all so much for coming to my senior project presentation.

-       When I started thinking about my senior project at the end of 11th grade, I knew it had to involve animals being that I want to be a veterinarian, and in doing this project I would find out what it is like to be a vet and essentially know what the rest of my life would be like

-       My finished product, now a Blurb book, is actually not what my project was originally intended to be. It was originally decided that I would make a field journal, name it Rounds, and it would contain all the data I collected from what are called “Case studies”. 


2-  I got the idea for my project when our vet, Dr.John Andresen, was doing seasonal shots at my farm.


-Dr.Andresen had a college assistant with him doing rounds and I wanted to do the same thing, but I would record everything I saw in the form of notes a little book I would carry around with me. That book would be my field journal, and essentially my life for the next few months.

-The idea was actually first created while I was standing in front of my barn as my moms horse was being examined.


- I asked Dr. Andresen if I could do rounds with him, and he said yes, but he was not sure how long it would be before I could work with him because he was booked on a weekly schedule with college students.


- All excited, I went to email Patty that I practically had my project. 


3- When learning the science, art, and practice of veterinary sciences and animal husbandry, the only true way to fully understand the practice is to experience it first hand.

That saying is the main idea behind my book. Getting out in the field and learning myself, I would be able to make a journal in which others could learn how to complete simple cases, including symptoms, diagnosis, causes, and treatment.


4- From the first formal meeting with Patty, after we had a pretty good idea of what my project should be, we had to set my goals. I wanted to gather as much information as possible and make a note- version of the James Herriot book “All Creatures Great and Small”, but I had to be realistic.

-Dr.A already told me he was not sure how many times I could do rounds with him, so I set an easy to reach number of 30 cases that would be fully documented. In the back of my head I decided that 30  would be the boarder line number of cases I would actually collect, but I knew I had to present a number to my mentor that I could successfully meet.

-       As the summer went by, I only went on two rounds with Dr.Andresen. Needing to find a way to gather more information, I went to the Long Island Game Farm and did some animal observations thinking all would go well and I could tie it into my project. To be honest, it was one of the most miserable things I have ever done. After the first day, I gave up and moved on.

-       Happily though, school was starting, and that meant college was too, so the Students doing rounds with Dr.A went away, and I was able to take their place


-       5- When I first started doings rounds with Dr.A I seriously did not know what to expect. I didnt know when I could talk, when I could ask questions, when I could take photos, or if I would every be able to do those things in front of the clients.

-        I also didn’t want to get in Dr.Andresens way and be annoying so I could keep doing rounds with him, so I would only observe that is going on with the case, and I only asked questions and wrote stuff down when we were in the car going to the next case. I was usually pretty good about remembering everything that went on, but of course I had to ask Dr.A for some information such as medication used and what was going on.


-       It was only after when I went on about 3 rounds with Dr.A that I started to ask questions and take photos.

-       Even though he is very calm and reserved, Dr.Andresen is probly one of the chilliest people I have ever worked with and I seemed very interested in my project and kinda took me under his wing.

-       Dr.A and I developed a schedule where every Friday evening I would call him up and ask if I could do rounds with him, he would usually say yes, and then Saturday he would drive across the road on his way to the clinic and pick me up before he went to the clinic.


-       6- This was one of my more memorable cases, being that it is not only comedic in nature, but it deals with one of my favorite animals, cows… next to horses of course.

In this case the patient is a Cow, Female, and an Adult dairy cow at a farm in Bridgehampton

- The cow would not get up. There were no visible signs that she was in pain and she showed some attempts to get up and showed a will to get up but there was no upward movement.

The entire process of taking bodily samples (stool and urine samples in this case)  and applying straps around the cow was preformed before this photo was taken.

The cow was given three days to get up, and if no improvement was made by then, she would have to be put down.

Thankfully, the cow eventually got up before that three day time limit. The urine and fecal samples did not show any sign of illness, so a reasonable diagnosis was a temporary paralysis by breeding or a heat related issue.


-       7- During the late summer/ early fall time there was a broken leg operation at the clinic and Dr.A thought I should watch it, so I stayed behind that the clinic.


-       I was allowed to take as many photos and ask as many questions as I wanted and I was so excited it was watching a case where the animal is actually cut open

- There was an issue with the x-ray machine, so nothing went smoothly that day, but I kinda liked all the commotion and action going on at the clinic


- I started asking what was going on at the clinic every time I would do rounds, and Dr.A would check for me every morning when we first got to the clinic


-       Some times I would stay behind all day, other times I would do rounds for half a day and be at the clinic the second half


8- Finally I decided that I had enough fieldwork documented, and I decided to start working only at the clinic unless Dr. A had a really good case for me to see.


- It was  a sad moment in my project, for I would much rather be out in a field or in a cold barn trying to lift a cow with a forklift, but I wanted to be well rounded as a vet, and I wanted my project to be diverse in cases.


-       I became friends with Karen, one of the head vet-techs at the clinic, and she explained everything that was going on during all the operations to me, walked me around the clinic and showed me where everything was, and put me to work

-       I did not just want to sit around waiting for an operation to come up, so I would help hold the animals or clean poo out of a cage


- Working at the clinic, I started taking masses of photos and videos, and I knew my project just became loads more interesting.


- The people at the clinic started to like me, I hope, including Dr.Kleps, who evidently does not play teacher often


- After almost fully adjusting to being at the clinic, Dr.A had to go visit his family, so I started calling up and asking if I could work at the clinic on my own, and when they said yes, I knew they didn’t hate me


9- Before this video was shot, an incision was made at the front base of the scrotem (thats where the testicles are located) and  the left testicle was already removed.

The testicle is removed by forcing it back into the body by pressing down on it After it has been pushed down, it is then pushed back to where the incision is.

A thin layer of tissue is covering the testicle, so a scalpel is used to cut the tissue to expose the testicle.

When the tissue is cut and the testicle pops out, the doctor then grabs onto it with one and litterly just pulls it out

The scissors are poked into the connective tissue that holds the testicle into the body and are opened vertically so tear the tissue, and thus weakening it.

The spermatic chord is the reddish chord located at the pointed end of the testicle and that will not be cut… it needs to be pulled out of the body.


10- - All the while of collecting cases, I still didn’t really know what my final product was going to be.


-Alexis Martino kept telling me to make a book, but it seemed like to much work because I was lazy, and I was only planning on typing up and printing out the cases I gathered, and put them in a nice leather 3-ring binder (if they even make those… I still don’t know)


-Patty didn’t seem to mind the idea, but I knew I wanted my product to reflect the importants of my project show how much time and effort I put into it up to that point, so I allowed Alexis to show me blurb …I got hooked on the pretty colors on the screen.


- I had not started typing up any cases yet, but I made a little template that I could just plug my information into and that’s how it would appear in the book.


11- This is the official layout of my books pages. I tried to have at least two photo for each case, yet some cases have more than two photos, and others do not have any

-It was now October, and I had to start the part of my project that I thought was going to be quick and painless, which was typing up my cases… I was really wrong when I said quick and painless


- Slowly plunging out cases and emailing them to Patty to look them over, it took around three months to finish typing the cases up.


-       Thinking about my book, I wanted the best that blurb could offer. It was going to be 12x 12, with dark grey end pages, with an oatmeal colored hard cover.

-        it felt like I was designing my baby and I became protective of it when people would suggest changes, but I always listened and many of the changes only made the book better.


- All I had to do was put them in the blurb format on my computer using Booksmart, and the book was almost done.


- Patty and I had two very very very long meetings correcting, looking over, and changing the book around. The largest issue, other than finding spelling mistakes and tense changes, was the font. Blurb, for some reason, was having an affair with Georgia font, while I wanted use Cambria. Blurb would change the font on its own, even after I corrected it.


- After my last meeting with Patty, I sent in my book to burb to be published and felt SO much less stressed about life, so I looked over my book to remember all that I have done…and then I found them.


-       after all the checking Patty and I did, there were still mistakes, so I frantically started contacting blurb telling them to stop printing my book, and of course they don’t have a phone number so I had to do it all through email, but after about 4 hours they told me that it as ok and they stopped printing it so I would not be charged.

-       They did try to send me on a  guild trip, but I ignored them


- It was honestly scarier than applying to college, and that says something.


12-  Finally I sent my corrected book into blurb for processing over christmas vacation

- After that I thought I only really just had to ready for my project display, until blurb emailed me telling me that the address I gave them was incorrect and the book was shipped back to them


-       After 4 days of sending tens of emails to them, and various chats with them via online messenger with Rose and I crying on the floor of Alexis’s office, they emailed me back telling me to stop emailing them and that my book was shipped, and emailing them would not make it go any faster.

-       This photo is the email they sent me when my book was shipped again


13- After this project I pretty much have the operation pre-work steps memorized, and Im confident that my mentor Patty does too after reading them over and over.

I also learned about the second most important aspect of being a vet, which are the clients. Some people just show up with their cat who needs to be checked over, not really concerned about much of anything other than a large weight gain over the past few months.

Other people are hysterically crying because their house is dying from a collic.

From watching Dr. Andreseons and the other veterinarians I worked with reactions to their clients, I now know that the quieter calmer you are, the better both the animals and their owners behave.

When doing rounds I learned that not all animals live in 5 star horse farms in the hamptons, but as long as the animals are well taken care of and they are happy and healthy, it really does not matter what their homes are like visually.


14- Doing this project was most likely one of the best, and most useful, things I have ever done. I knew I wanted to be a vet before hand, but now I am really excited to be going to College for veterinary sciences, and I hoping to specialize in equine medicine and rehabilitation


15- I would like to take the remaining moments of my presentation to thank Dr. Andresen Soo much for allowing me to do rounds with him and explaining so much to me during our rounds.

I would also like to thank all the doctors at the Mattituck Laural Veterinary hospital for letting me work at the clinic and have the very rare opportunity to watch live operations.

To my mom, Thanks for exposing me to the wonderful world of animals and for taking me as your equine hostage

Angela Correnté, my grandma, Thank you for being so patient and helping me make corrections in my book and for listening to my vents and idea involving this project

My Aunt Judith and my Uncle Wim for sending me to Ross for the past 4 years

Patty Lein, my mentor, for having such a strong gut and for helping me with almost every aspect of this project… I could not have done it with out you

Ms.Scott for keeping all of us, especially me, on track with guidelines and due dates

Ms. Alexis Martino and Rose Kouzoujian for being my creative mind through this whole process, as well as all my friends for being my little cheer team

And lastly, I would like to thank the Ross School









Bibliography or Works Consulted


Andresen, John (Dr), personal interview June 2011- November 2011


Dunbar, Dr. personal interview August 2011- November 2011


Kelps, Dr. personal interview August 2011- November 2011


Lein, Patty, personal interview June 2011- January 2012


Martino, Alexis, personal interview June 2011- January 2012


Timpone, Dr. personal interview August 2011- November 2011