Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tangling with a bush hog

In decades past, many prospective vet students were from agricultural backgrounds. With the increase in companion animals, there has been a relative decrease in both students coming in from a farm animal background as well as a decrease in those graduating from vet school and going into large animal practice. As such, sometimes on a farm call, the client will say something assuming that everyone knows what he/she is talking about, but the students that have little farm experience are lost in the dark. This story comes from an American student that did her first 3 years of vet school in the Caribbean...which might or might not have contributed to her communication issues with a rural southern farmer.

Farmer: Well, Doc, old Bessie here tangled with a bush hog and lost.

The students proceed to do an exam on a horse with a large laceration.

During the discussion of how to treat, should a tetanus vaccine be given, our staunch suburbanite student asks: Are bush hogs indigenous to (southern farming community)?

"No, seriously, are they indigenous or not?"

For those that were not either raised on farms or have family members that like playing with large scale yard gear, you might not have ever heard of a bush hog. Basically, it is big piece of farming equipment with pokey sticky things that jut out to create a hazard for horses. And anyone that knows horses knows that if there is one bush hog a 100 acre field and there are 10 horses, at least 2 will get mauled by the bush hog, even though it is standing there minding its own business.

Any who, lucky for the vet student in question, she had a great sense of humor and withstood the 3 months of ribbing that followed.


  1. I guess I have spent too much time in the city. :( I thought you were going to say that a bush hog was some sort of feral pig and the joke would be that there are no feral pigs in that particular area and that anybody with half a brain would know that, LOL. Never entered my mind it was a piece of machinery.

    p.s. I think pigs are awesome creatures. I have a potbelly pig living with me (along with a few other critters). She's great.

  2. From one urbanite to another: I had no idea... I was thinking some kind of wild boar. Although, in all fairness, that's what the logo is for the bush hog company. Silly farm people and their fifty names for everything.

  3. Dude. First time I ever heard of a bush hog, I thought it was some bizarre species of frat boy!

  4. If it's any comfort... as a vet student coming from a rural area and now working in a small animal hospital.. I am continually teased for describing dogs as "small and white"... nevermind the day I called a king charle's cavalier or whatever it may be called a cocker spaniel (I thought small spaniel creatures were cocker spaniels and larger ones were springer spaniels...). I also tend to reflexively call border collies "sheep dogs" because in my past life of visiting sheep farms they were herded by... sheep dogs. My reflexive response that a chronically ill patient with no good outcome in sight should be eaten is not appreciated either..

    1. Don't feel bad! You've got experience that will serve you well in life. Border collies *are* sheep dogs:)

    2. When I first started vet school, we had a class in the "art of vet med." The class was great for illuminating little things that would help us in class. It was also great for a little intellectual break between all of the bruiser courses of anatomy, physiology, et al. We had a slide test on dog breeds. I did my undergrad at a school with a working farm, but my summer were spent in small animal medicine. I thought I knew dog breeds. But I kid you not, the only way I could tell the difference between the slide of a silky terrier and the yorkie was color of the blanket in the slide. I am really glad that the professor didn't put out new slides for the test.

      A little tip on telling the cocker from the CKC spaniel is that the cocker usually tries to bite you and the CKC usually tries to kiss you.

  5. "And anyone that knows horses knows that if there is one bush hog a 100 acre field and there are 10 horses, at least 2 will get mauled by the bush hog, even though it is standing there minding its own business."

    SO true!!