Dr. Daugherty helps trim a cow's hoof.

Not Your Average House Call

Based on the article “Not Your Average House Call” from the September/October 2010 Our Ohio magazine.

Content Standard
(Career Field Technical: Agriculture & Environmental Systems 1.3:  High School): “Describe the fundamental care and management practices for animals; select, handle, mark and manage environmental conditions; and provide general care for a limited number of animals or animal species.”

(Note: Key terms used from the Ohio Career Field Technical Content Standards, September 2008.)

Discussion points

  1. What is the difference between a large animal veterinarian and a small animal veterinarian?
  2. Name the types of animals a large animal vet may have as clientele.
  3. Dr. Rick Dougherty compares his services to what other profession in terms of the weather?
  4. Where is Dr. Dougherty’s vet clinic? Why is location of the clinic important?
  5. According to the article, is there a need for large animal veterinarians?  Why?
  6. Explain why a vet may choose to open a “companion animal” vet clinic instead of a large animal vet clinic?  List the pros and cons to both.
  7. Dr. Dougherty’s vet practice has changed since he bought it in 1985.  Do you think he works more or less hours?  Give your reasons.
  8. Make a list of interview questions for a current large animal veterinarian from the perspective of a student interested in becoming a vet him/herself.
  9. Define: abiotic and biotic factors in an animal’s environment.
  10. Did Dr. Dougherty examine these factors at the Andreas Farm?  Explain.
  11. Matt Andreas states that, “If the clinic wasn’t here, we’d probably have to employ our own vet.”  Would this be a problem for the dairy farm? Why or why not?
  12. During Dr. Dougherty’s visit to the Andreas dairy farm, would he perform the following tasks?  Explain how each task is accomplished and who typically performs that task.
  13. Check animal identification procedures and requirements.
  14. Check health records for each animal.
  15. Band, brand, paint or electronically implant microchips for ID purposes.
  16. Check for predators or invasive animals in the environment.
  17. Vaccinate, check for pregnancy, deliver babies.
  18. Wean, milk, weigh, groom.
  19. Trim hooves, dental cleaning, nail trimming.
  20. Sanitation and disinfection procedures.
  21. Why was it important that Dr. Dougherty check the feed for the dairy herd? Would it have been a problem if the feed had been warm, wet and moldy and what would he have done about the situation?
  22. Large fans and sprinklers in the barn are for what purpose?
  23. What is Dr. Dougherty’s favorite part of his job?

Hands on at Home or School

  1. If a high school student wanted to become a veterinarian, what high school courses should be completed? Visit www.TalkToTheVet.com
  2. Visit The Ohio State University Veterinary Medicine website.
  3. What are vets required to do to earn their degree (s)?
  4. Visit your local veterinarian (or your pet’s vet). Using the questions you developed from above, interview your vet.
  5. Ask to shadow a vet for a day to see what he/ she does during a typical day.
  6. Visit a local animal production farm or dairy farm.  Spend a day with the farmer or herdsman to observe care and management of their animals.


  • Using a map of Ohio located at the Ohio Department of Transportation, or your own map.
  1. Find the Sugarcreek, Ohio.
  2. In what county is Sugarcreek located?

Web Research

  1. Research animal care for different animal species.  Fill in the following questions using the websites below:
  2. Pigs www.ohiopork.org
  3. Beef Cattle www.ohiobeef.org and www.explorebeef.org
  4. Dairy Cattle www.ohiodairyfarmers.com
  5. Chickens www.ohiopoultry.org

For each species of animal above answer:

  1. Where are the animals housed the majority of the time? Explain why.
  2. What do the producers feed each type of animal?   
  3. What process is typically used to identify the animals in a herd?
  4. What are some of the typical medical procedures used to keep animals healthy?
  5. What are the sanitation and disinfection procedures typically used for these animals?

Student activities are prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City . She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.