We started Wednesday off bright and early, leaving at 5:00am to make our way to a dairy farm! We were able to see the milking process, and they showed us a quick test they use to check for mastitis, which is an infection of the udder. It was cool to see the cows milked using the machines, because I’m used to milking the goats on Rutgers Farm by hand (it takes forever). It was also interesting to see how much smaller the dairy cattle are in Belize compared to those in the U.S., because the smaller size helps them cope with the higher temperatures.
Later that afternoon we went back to a beef cattle farm, and learned how to palpate cows! As gross as it sounds, we literally stuck our hands into the cows’ rectums in order to determine if the cow was pregnant or “open”. This is also the method used for artificial insemination, which we also learned about. And yes, it was as disgusting as you would think, yet cool at the same time.
In the afternoon we made a trip to the Belize Zoo where we saw many animals, including tapirs, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, jaguars, and toucans! (:
Thursday was our last field work day. We went out to a farm to re-test a herd of horses for equine infectious anemia. This requires a blood test, so each of us got to draw blood from our horse, which was really cool to do. It was relatively easy compared to other animals because their jugular veins are so large. While we were waiting for the blood to coagulate before getting in the van again, we were treated with fresh coconuts from the farm.
On our very last day we took our exams and gave our presentations. My roommate and I gave a presentation about heart worm, a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through mosquito bites. Later that evening we had our last dinner as a group, and made sure we were all packed up for traveling back home the next day. Belize was an unforgettable experience for me, and I was able to learn so much in two weeks, both culturally and academically. I miss it already. <3