The veterinarians' large animal games: Round two


Unexpected obstacles can make farm visits feel like Olympic events for veterinarians.

Last month, to help you prepare for the 2016 Olympics, I told you about some of the proposed veterinary events. For those of you who are already training, I have some bad news: chain saw necropsy has been eliminated from the competition. Some weak-stomached members of the Veterinary Olympic Medal Imaginary Team (VOMIT) felt the event was too graphic.

Four new events have been proposed to replace the chain saw competition. In each event, contestants are given a set of circumstances and a challenge to overcome.


Event no. 1: The Electric Slide

Mr. Volt, a local dairy farmer, has asked you to treat a lame cow. He isn't home when you arrive, and your patient is running loose. You must cross through a rain-soaked corral and into a muddy paddock while carrying your hoof tools and a full bucket of water. All electric fences are live. (That's the challenge.) Speed is essential because, while crossing the corral, you must play a vigorous game of dodge bull. (Like dodge ball, only with horns.)

Event no. 2: Find the Farm

Mrs. Fuddle, a new client, has left the following message on your answering machine: "We have a serious emergency here and our regular vet isn't available. Please come as soon as you can. We aren't far from your office. Just go down the road and turn right where there used to be a red barn. Go over the hill, and after a while turn left, about a half-mile before you get to the next road. Our farm is up that way. You can't miss it. It has a gravel driveway."

Contestants who locate the farm find that the Fuddles' regular veterinarian is already there. The contestant who completes the task in the shortest time wins. Extra points are given to contestants who stay and chat with their colleague who got there first. Anyone who leaves after letting the air out of the other veterinarian's tires will be eliminated.

Event no. 3: Reverse Engineering

Mr. Gadget has asked that you come out to his place to treat a case of hardware disease. He will wait in the barn until you get there. Unfortunately, there's a gate at the end of the driveway and Mr. Gadget has fashioned a rather clever mechanism to hold the gate closed. It involves a horseshoe, a bent spoon, two feet of chain and some barbed wire to hold the pieces together.

Contestants must unfasten the latch, drive through the gate and refasten the mechanism from the other side. Point deductions will be made for punctured fingers. Any contestant who responds to Mr. Gadget's question, "What took you so long?" by taking a swing at him will be eliminated.

Event no. 4: Where's Waldo?

(Before this event each contestant is issued a cattle prod and a stun gun but not told why.)

Mr. and Mrs. Milker are not home when their daughter calls you to come over. Waldo has been injured and needs your attention. You arrive at the farm to find the entire family searching for the injured critter. Mr. Milker, who has returned home, describes Waldo as follows: "She's the one who's black and white." (Really? Among a herd of Holsteins?) Everyone begins to canvass the property. The search ends when Waldo is found hiding in the barn. It turns out that while you were looking for an injured cow, everyone else was looking for a black and white barn cat. (Somehow everyone thought you knew that.)

Any contestant who can laugh at this situation wins. Anyone who takes out the stun gun and shoots the farmer loses but earns my undying admiration.

Dr. Michael Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa. To read part one of this column, visit

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