Melbourne Veterinary Science Open Day – Part 2

29 September 2021

This story is a continuation of Melbourne Veterinary Science Open Day – Part 1

Poster for the Canine Blood Bank
Poster for the Canine Blood Bank

What’s it like to be a student at the University of Melbourne Veterinary School? Meet Ashley, a former OzTREKK student who volunteered to walk us through her experience at Melbourne Veterinary Science Open Day… take it away, Ashley!

The lawn had several booths set up with community organizations and school clubs that all involve animals.

My first stop was at the Canine Blood Bank booth. Here they had information about the greyhounds used at the hospital for donating blood for blood transfusions to sick patients. They also had a simulation of a dog giving blood and showed the public how a transfusion was done. They have stuffed dogs for practicing on at the university.

They also had staff of the blood bank there to answer any questions anyone had about the program. This program helps thousands of dogs every year by having a readily available supply of blood at the university hospital. The greyhounds have been rescued after they were claimed to be unsuitable for racing. They are re-homed after about a year at the university by the Victoria Greyhound Adoption program.

veterinary student with retired greyhound
Can’t help but cuddle this retired greyhound

This booth attracted a lot of attention because they had some of the greyhounds for the public to see. In Victoria, it is illegal to have greyhounds without a muzzle because of their racetrack backgrounds—not because they are aggressive. They had a sign to notify the public why they were wearing muzzles.

In my first week of class, we had a practical with the greyhounds and we learned how to properly handle dogs and give oral medications. They are very docile and lovely dogs and I really enjoyed my practical working with them.

Another great program they have at the university is called Gotcha Greyhounds. This is a student-run club which allows students to spend their lunch breaks with the greyhounds. After taking a mandatory induction course, the students are allowed to walk the greyhounds on lunch hours at Werribee campus. This is great because it helps the greyhounds become socialized, which gives them a better chance to be adopted in the future. It also gives them exercise and it allows DVM students to have some much-needed cuddle time with some dogs!

The Veterinary Students Society of Victoria (VSSV) is a not-for-profit student-run society that provides support, services, and social and educational activities for the student body. For a small payment each year, you become a VSSV member, which includes fun activities throughout the year, discounted prices for formal-themed dinners, and embroidered vet clothing (they organized our orientation week with fun-filled events). They also provided a lot of help and tips for our future four years of vet school. At open day they had a barbecue to raise money for the society.

veterinary student holding ferret
Fuzzy ferrets!

The next booth I went to was the Victorian Ferret Society, which is an association of members from the suburbs of Melbourne and country towns throughout Victoria that rescue ferrets. They also educate and teach the public about the welfare of ferrets and how to care for re-homed rescued ferrets. I had the pleasure of speaking with Graham, who informed me about the care for ferrets. I also got to hold some of the rescue ferrets they had at their booth.

Australian Rat Fanciers Society Inc. also had an information booth set up with rescued lab rats for the public to see. They promoted the adoption of unwanted lab rats that needed good homes. A young man, James, volunteers in the community and was informing me all about the rats for adoption.

Melbourne DVM student using stethoscope on cow
Listening to the rumen

Special appreciation groups of the university also had booths set up providing students and the public with information about what their groups do. When you become a student at the University of Melbourne, you are encouraged to become a part of groups that interest you. I joined the Small Animal Appreciation group, the Equine Appreciation group, and the Wildlife Appreciation group. The Bovine Appreciation group also had a booth set up, selling milk for a fundraiser.

They also had information on dentistry procedures for horses and a demonstration of some of the equipment used during the procedure, and got to go through the stalls where the horse patients are kept while in hospital. They also had previous equine patients there for open day, including “Ticket,” a pony who was previously treated for colic surgery.

Also, a very special race horse, named “Doriemus” was there for Open Day. He survived a lifesaving colic surgery at the university. He was a winner of the Melbourne Cup in 1995 and, thanks to the University of Melbourne, he was able to live happily after his surgery.

Ashley S
Melbourne DVM graduate

Don’t miss Part 3, coming soon!


Learn more about the Melbourne Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. Contact OzTREKK’s Veterinary Medicine Admissions Officer at or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

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