Murdoch-filmed Vet School starts Friday on ABC

July 25, 2013

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Vet student Chris McComiskie with the Prospero film crew.

A new six-part documentary series chronicling the highs and lows of eight Murdoch University Veterinary Science students will run on ABC1 starting Friday, July 26 at 8pm.

Vet School follows the year-four and year-five students as they go through one of the most gruelling, difficult and intensive university courses there is in order to pursue their dreams of becoming vets.

The show was filmed over six months and involved crews following students as they worked at the University’s veterinary hospital, sat exams and took part in daunting practical sessions.

“The final two years of Veterinary Science are especially hard because this is when students are studying intensely, sitting make-or-break exams and building their experience with real animals and owners,” said Dr Michael Laurence from Murdoch’s School of Veterinary and Life Sciences.

“Fourth year students have to squeeze in more than 70 hours of class work, assignments and study every week because they are, after all, studying medicine which relates to not one but several different species.

“For fifth years, they are working on the busy wards of the University’s state-of-the-art teaching hospital, dealing with critical operations, distraught owners and emergency situations where split second decisions can mean the difference between life and death.

“Becoming a vet takes a lot of hard work and commitment but while it is incredibly intense, there is a tremendous sense of community among the students and I’m sure all this will shine through in the series.”

The students who will feature in the series are Jade Ridsdale, Peter Ricci, Stephanie Austin, Megan Allsopp, Erin Kelly, Susie Clohessy, Chris McComiskie and Berit Owen.

As well as the stress caused by their university studies, being filmed on a regular basis by Fremantle-based company Prospero Productions was daunting at first for the students featured. Nevertheless, they all said they got used to the cameras being around and even became firm friends with film makers.

Fourth year student Peter Ricci described the experience as ‘interesting and humbling’ and said he was pleased the cameras were there to document his journey.

“It has been good to realise the accomplishments I have made, and heartening to know that in some way the friends and family I hold dear will be able to see and understand some of the things we have gone through.”

To watch a trailer and find more information about the show and the students, go here.

Comments (6 responses)

zoe murray June 26, 2013

Congratulations! You must all be very proud & excited.

Melissa Carabott August 3, 2013

To Tell the public that Cat Flu can't be treated is extremely untrue! I help in a Shelter, a non kill shelter! I have seen cats get cat flu and make a full recovery! It is disgusting and extremely misleading for you as a University, Vet school to miss lead the public into thinking that the cats could not be helped! This is shown in episode two within the Cat Haven. After seeing this I will never support or donate to the Cat Haven ever again.

Murdoch University August 5, 2013

Dear Melissa,

The decision to euthanise the cats was made by the veterinarians at Cat Haven. Cat Haven has the heavy responsibility of caring for large numbers of animals, and had they taken these infected cats into their main premises this would have presented a significant risk of transmission to other cats and kittens, and affected their chances of being re-homed. Cat Haven is forced to make difficult decisions like this on a daily basis.

Whilst it is true that cat flu is treatable, sadly cats coming from hoarding environments are more likely to be chronic carriers, which then infect other cats. Furthermore there are many complications with kittens and cat flu, including severe eye problems and blindness. In addition, cats and kittens from hoarding environments have significant behavioural problems which impact on the sustainability of their rehoming.

Please be assured that Cat Haven and the Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital are staffed by dedicated professions who care deeply about the health and welfare of our animal friends and are committed to providing the most appropriate and humane treatment in every case.

Kirsty Hughes August 11, 2013

Just watched episode 3 online. Having graduated not all that long ago, this show depicts the reality of vet school life very well.
What is your reasoning behind using soda washing crystals to induce a dog to vomit as opposed to something like apomorphine tablets in the conjunctival sac?

Murdoch University August 12, 2013

Hi Kirsty,

Washing soda crystals are often readily available in the home or at least can be purchased freely (compared to apomorphine which is a restricted vet-only drug). It is a useful and usually consistently reliable emetic which is listed in a number of major texts as a means to induce vomiting.

Caren August 23, 2013


I have just seen episode 5 and there was a Great Dane euthanized because the owners wouldn't pay for an emergency operation. The dog had a good prognosis for recovery and was in good health otherwise. I was more than a little stunned this was done. Wouldn't a vet have some sense of duty of care to save the animal and look for a new home afterwards. Surely there are many people that would be willing to pay for an operation for a young healthy animal rather than put it to sleep. The owners of course should never be allowed to have an animal again! Maybe you should start a public register for caring people that would be willing to put their names down for emergencies like this to save a life.


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