Dr. Samantha Miles is a 2015 graduate of the college of veterinary medicine at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Upon completing her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Miles began with Palm Beach Equine Clinic in September of 2015. Dr. Miles recently concluded the intensive internship program at PBEC, and has officially been hired as a full-time associate to join the team of exceptional doctors this year in Wellington, FL. Read on to learn more about Dr. Samantha Miles.
What is your background with horses?
I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and raised in Kansas. My dad grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and would take me to a little racetrack up there on vacations. This is where I fell in love with horses. I did not ride or show when I was younger, but I used to try to convince my parents to get me a pony. I rode a little bit when I was in school. I did some trail riding and worked for lessons and learned to jump a bit, but I never competed.
When and why did you decide to become a vet?
I always wanted to become a veterinarian. I always loved animals, specifically horses, even though I had limited exposure when I was a kid. When I was sixteen, my mom told me that if I was serious about becoming a vet, I needed to know if I could handle the job. I got a job at a small animal clinic as a kennel worker and worked my way up to vet assistant. I continued working there in the summers through college as well. I did my undergraduate at Kansas State University studying Animal Sciences. At that point I was involved in summer internships and working on horse farms. I applied to vet school and was accepted to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
What was it like going to school in Scotland? Did you get different experience there?
It was pretty amazing. It was a lot different from anything in the U.S. in the sense that we had different requirements and the exams are set up very differently. We had to do a lambing season, for example, where we actually had to go out to a farm in the dead of winter and spend three weeks assisting lambs to be born. Going to school there also gave me the opportunity to travel and see what veterinary medicine is like in different parts of the world. I was able to complete externships in several interesting places all over Europe. My school was very supportive in providing us the opportunity to have those experiences.
How did you end up interning at Palm Beach Equine?
I graduated in July of 2015 and I started a position in Texas. I was transferred to PBEC to learn high-end sports medicine during the busy winter season in Florida, and I just ended up staying to complete an entire internship. I first came to Palm Beach in late September in 2015, and I just officially completed my internship and moved to Florida permanently to start as an associate full-time.
What was the experience like as an intern at PBEC?
It has been amazing! I was an ambulatory practitioner in Texas immediately after graduation, but when I was transferred to PBEC it was amazing because the varied case load is so great, both ambulatory and hospital cases. I was able to learn a great deal and be hands on. The level of care at PBEC is just extraordinary. The number of cases they care for and the dedication they show to every animal is unmatched. I feel very lucky to have learned so much in a very short period of time.
I really like how the interns rotated throughout the program between hospital shifts and ambulatory shifts. The hospital shifts can be really taxing with long days and longer nights, but that is when you get to learn the best case management from start to finish. We would rotate through ambulatory, where I improved my interpretation of radiographs, and was able to schedule my own appointments. We were able to rotate spending time with different clinicians and learn from each of them. It is uncommon in many internships, especially in the U.S., where you get not only the hospital experience, but also ambulatory experience. In January, the program allows us on primary on-call after hours responsibility and we had a ton of direct support from all veterinarians. The doctors were always available to oversee the case with us or take our calls in the middle of the night to discuss a case. Having that primary case responsibility in tandem with another senior veterinarian was excellent experience.
Was there any particular case that was really interesting or educational for you?
One that sticks out in my mind was a nine or ten-year-old horse that had an intussusception, where part of its cecum telescoped into itself, which telescoped into its large colon. It was a really cool case and it was one of the first cases where the clinician really gave me free rein. It was a challenging case that ended up being really unique because it is typically found in very young horses, usually foals. It is rare to be diagnosed in horses older than six months.
I will always remember that case because it was the first time I felt really trusted by this particular clinician to work on her case. I was able to problem solve and utilize my skills. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was managing a case for a three-day old foal admitted into the hospital with the same condition. Because of that first case, I was able to manage it effectively.
Do you have any plans for a specialty?
Not at the moment, but I am very excited to be working closely with one of the partners, Dr. Richard Wheeler, and his focus is mainly lameness. I have a large interest in diagnostic imaging; lameness and imaging typically go hand in hand. It is my absolute favorite thing about veterinary medicine. Dr. Wheeler manages many diagnostic imaging cases, so I am excited to learn from him.
PBEC also has a board-certified radiologist onsite during our busy season, Dr. Sarah Puchalski, who I was able to work with during my internship. During the intern program, we have radiology rounds each week where we review interesting imaging cases anonymously to learn. Dr. Puchalski has taught me a lot this past year and I am definitely looking forward to working and learning from her more in the upcoming years.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I really love to travel. That is my number one favorite thing to do outside of work whenever time allows for it. I love to explore new places. I really like hiking, although I usually only have time while traveling. I also love reading.
If you were not a vet, what would you be doing?
I would probably be a travel writer.
What are you looking forward to most about officially joining the team at PBEC?
I am really looking forward to using and always improving my skills. An intern with PBEC is exposed to many cases and learns a lot during the year-long program, but there are many skills that time and experience will improve. I look forward to really enhancing my skills and knowledge base as an associate, especially out in the field. I am also very excited to work with the vast support network available with Palm Beach Equine Clinic. As a new graduate out of school, it is comforting to know that assistance and advice from a mentor is readily available in all fields. I plan to learn everything I can from all the specialists over the coming years.