20161026_111007-reducedTaking advantage of the Pedagogical Activities for Student Success (PASS) Day on October 26, 2016, Vanier College Animal Health Technology students set out on field trips that provided them with some hands-on experience working with cows and horses.

Large animal care at MacDonald College Farm
First-year students went to MacDonald College Farm where they rotated through stations animated by the McGill University farm staff. At each station, students received an overview of the husbandry and management of a dairy farm. They also ran tests on cow’s milk, looked for symptoms in an unwell cow, administered medication, listened to the heart and lungs, and provided basic care to calves.

Katherine Cup, a Vanier Animal Health Technology graduate, animated one of the stations where she made helpful connections for the students between what she learned at Vanier and her work at Macdonald.

Inside look at manufacturing and avian research at St-Laurent’s Hagen Industries
Second-year students went on a trip focused on avian nutrition, research and care thanks to Mark Hagen of the Hagen Company.

The Hagen Company is a privately owned, Montreal pet supply business and also operates the Hagen Avicultural Research Center (HARI). Mark Hagen, Director of Research, introduced students to all aspects of the pet food industry including research and development, manufacturing, production, quality control, marketing, and final product-testing on live animals. The students visited three different Hagen locations:

1. Hagen Industries in St-Laurent
Members of the Hagen Team led students on a tour of the manufacturing and production process for the Tropican and Living World diets for birds and small mammals. Students also visited the laboratory area where they were given an overview of many aspects of research and development, as well as the quality control (chemical, physical, microbiological) involved in the food manufacturing process.

2. The Hagen head office in Baie-d’Urfé
At the head office, students partook in a complimentary “Lunch and Learn”. While students ate a delicious lunch cooked by Chef Kai, Mark Hagen gave a presentation on the history of the Hagen Company, the Pet Bird trade, and the various research studies and field trials presently in operation at HARI: Hagen Avicultural Research Institute.

3. The Hagen Avicultural Research Institute on Rigaud Mountain
Students received a guided tout of this center which houses over 350 pairs of more than 50 bird species, as well as a selection of small rodents and reptiles. All of the diets produced at Hagen Industries undergo field trial testing at HARI.

Learning about the care of horses
Another group of thirty students visited the Coralie Robin Equestrian Center in St-Anne-des-Plaines, which specializes in therapeutic riding for children with physical disabilities. It houses many horses with calm dispositions who are not upset by large numbers of students touching and handling them.

Over a period of six hours, the students were introduced to equestrian work safety, learned to approach a horse for the first time, to observe a horse’s in motion for problems with gait and mobility, and how to position x-ray film when x-raying various areas of equine limbs. Students were also given hands-on experience to help them develop the following skills:

  • Entering a stall and placing a halter and lead on the horse.
  • Listening to a horse’s heart, lungs and intestinal sounds
  • Palpating a horse’s facial and digital pulses
  • Applying routine wraps and bandages to legs

The Animal Health Technology Program would like to extend a special thanks to the staff at Macdonald College Farm, to Mark Hagen, Chef Kai and all the Hagen team who met with our students, and to Coralie Robin and her team at Equestrian Center. We are grateful to you all for your time, generosity, warm welcome, and your evident commitment to education.

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