Horse Whisperer

A summer shadowing opportunity is introducing Valentina Poggi to the world of equine veterinary care.

Valentina Poggi is studying at Elmhurst College to become a veterinarian.

Valentina Poggi ’20 is on the fast track to her dream of becoming a veterinarian. Just two years into college, the biology major has been pre-admitted to vet school, and she has already shadowed at two animal clinics.

Now, she’s shadowing a traveling equine vet—and getting a whole new perspective on the field.

“Vet schools want you to have as much hands-on animal care experience as possible,” Poggi says. “I already had experience with small animals, so I wanted to try something new.”

Poggi reached out to Trish Lewis, an equine vet with Lewis Veterinary Services, and now she’s accompanying Lewis as she travels throughout the Elburn, Illinois, area to treat horses.

“It’s a totally different side of being a vet that I hadn’t seen before,” Poggi says. “Instead of people bringing their animals to you, we’re driving all over the place to treat patients. I’ve seen everything from multimillion-dollar stables to a guy who keeps a horse in his backyard.”

Poggi didn’t know much about horses at the start of the summer, but she’s catching on fast—learning everything from how to reduce swelling to how to give an injection. She’s watched Lewis treat injuries, perform ultrasounds and drain fluid from a lame leg, and she’s helped clean wounds and prepare ultrasound equipment.

“It’s been such an eye-opening experience,” Poggi says. “I’m still not sure whether I want to pursue horse care or work with smaller animals, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Poggi plans to complete her undergraduate degree in just three years and then enter vet school, thanks to the University’s affiliation with the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. The program allows students to apply to the university’s doctor of veterinary medicine program at the end of their first year in college. Accepted students can complete both degrees in just seven years instead of the usual eight.

“Not many people know about this program, and only a few colleges in Illinois offer it,” Poggi notes. “But for me, it’s a great way to save money and get on the fast track to a meaningful career.”

See what others are studying this summer

Posted July 26, 2019

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