by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Dr. Cynthia Hoeft dresses a student in scrubs to show what veterinarians must wear in surgery.Eagle Fern Veterinary Hospital celebrates National Pet Week by giving tours of their facility to grade school students throughout May.

A group of second-grade Clackamas River Elementary students highly enjoyed their tour on Friday, May 24.

Dr. Cynthia Hoeft showed Kathy Priest’s class a typical preliminary exam on a gentle yellow lab named Abby.

She showed the students how veterinarians check the heart, lungs and skin.

Hoeft explained how vaccines help to build the immune system to prevent diseases.

She also told the students how microchips help lost pets become reunited with their owners. A scan of a pet’s microchip automatically identifies the owner.

Hoeft wowed the children with the fact that “The biggest organ in the body is the skin.”

It was time to discuss parasites.

Despite various students declaring a loss of appetite and that they were sure they would puke, the class crowded closer and closer to Hoeft as she displayed tic, roundworm and heartworm specimens.

“This is getting really gross,” one student said while pushing forward to get a closer look.

To avoid contracting parasites themselves, Hoeft warned the children to always wash their hands after touching a pet.

Hoeft told the students about the measures veterinarians must take to prepare for surgery.

For illustration, Hoeft outfitted a volunteer student in full scrubs and surgical mask.

The students got to explore the radiology room where they were treated to an X-ray of a pregnant dog.

They also were given a demonstration of how veterinary technician Sara Erlandsen performs dental cleanings on dogs.

The Eagle Fern staff recommends daily brushing of pets’ teeth.

National Pet Week is May 5- 11.

For the last 10 or so years, Eagle Fern veterinarians Hoeft and Dr. Kay Edwards have been offering tours of the facility to grade-school children throughout May.

Through the tours, the clinic hopes to promote good pet-care habits.

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