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Veterinarians at the Lockwood Veterinary Service have opened their doors to 4-H'ers learning about animal care.

Nancy Belk and Jody Anderson, veterinarians and 4-H project leaders, meet twice a month with about 15 kids from local 4-H clubs.

Throughout the year, the veterinarians cover topics such as vaccinations, parasites, spaying and neutering, animal dentistry, nutrition and various diseases. But the carefully-planned agenda is tossed aside when an interesting case occurs at the clinic on meeting day.

"They never know when they walk in the door if we're going to be doing what we said we were going to do, or if we're going to be doing something completely different," Belk said.

"We just try to fit it in with whatever we're doing from day to day. If we have some cool X-rays, we'll put them up, or, if we have an autopsy or a particular case that we think would be interesting to them, we'll do that."

The kids not only listen to lectures and watch movies, they also get to do hands-on activities.

"We teach them how to do physical exams on their own animals, and they're supposed to go home and do it," Belk said.

She said the coolest part for most kids is helping with autopsies. Lockwood Veterinary Service is a mixed practice, meaning the veterinarians treat large animals, such as horses, as well as smaller companion pets. As a result, the kids learn a lot about many different animals.

The vet-science project is a good place to start for kids who are thinking about becoming veterinarians. But most 4-H'ers enroll in the project because they own pets and want to learn how to keep their animals healthy.

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