STEM Untapped

Extended Episode: Ines Cruz - Farm Vet

May 09, 2023 STEM Untapped Episode 24
Extended Episode: Ines Cruz - Farm Vet
STEM Untapped
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STEM Untapped
Extended Episode: Ines Cruz - Farm Vet
May 09, 2023 Episode 24
STEM Untapped

In this extended podcast episode, you'll hear more from Ines Cruz who is a Farm Vet. Ines, Lily and Jessica discuss what it’s like to study to be a vet, how vets deal with things like worms and bird flu, and how vets are trying to be more environmentally friendly. 

Some resources that Ines recommends are:
All Creatures Great and Small: The Classic Memoires of a Yorkshire Country Vet by James Herriot (ISBN: 9781447225997)
All Creatures Great and Small tv show - Watch on My5
Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) website
Sustainable Controls of Parasites (SCOPS) website
Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) website
PubMed website

If you know a group of students who would like to interview female or non-binary role models, please get in touch by emailing

Likewise, if you know anyone who would be a great role model, let us know by emailing

Follow us on Instagram @STEMUntapped
Check out our website

Send us a Text Message.

If you know a group of students who would like to interview one of our role models, please get in touch by emailing

Likewise, if you know anyone who would be a great role model, let us know by emailing

Follow us on Instagram @STEMUntapped
Connect with us on LinkedIn @STEMUntappedCIC
Check out our website

Show Notes Transcript

In this extended podcast episode, you'll hear more from Ines Cruz who is a Farm Vet. Ines, Lily and Jessica discuss what it’s like to study to be a vet, how vets deal with things like worms and bird flu, and how vets are trying to be more environmentally friendly. 

Some resources that Ines recommends are:
All Creatures Great and Small: The Classic Memoires of a Yorkshire Country Vet by James Herriot (ISBN: 9781447225997)
All Creatures Great and Small tv show - Watch on My5
Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) website
Sustainable Controls of Parasites (SCOPS) website
Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS) website
PubMed website

If you know a group of students who would like to interview female or non-binary role models, please get in touch by emailing

Likewise, if you know anyone who would be a great role model, let us know by emailing

Follow us on Instagram @STEMUntapped
Check out our website

Send us a Text Message.

If you know a group of students who would like to interview one of our role models, please get in touch by emailing

Likewise, if you know anyone who would be a great role model, let us know by emailing

Follow us on Instagram @STEMUntapped
Connect with us on LinkedIn @STEMUntappedCIC
Check out our website

Intro  00:00

Hi, I'm Izzy host of the STEM Untapped podcast. This week we're releasing an extended edition of our previous episode with Ines Cruz, a farm veterinary surgeon. In this episode you can find out more about what it’s like to study to be a vet, how vets deal with things like worms and bird flu, and how vets are trying to be more environmentally friendly. 

Lily  00:29

I'm Lily, we’re currently studying our GCSEs. We decided to choose you as our role model because we both have an interest in like maybe more like the animal than human side of biology. And this was like the closest one to our interest.


Jessica  00:46

So I also enjoyed biology. So I don't actually live on a farm, but I spend time with people that do work on farms and stuff. So I enjoy the animal side of science. And I just think that the possibility of being a vet would be really interesting. So we wanted to find out more.


Ines Cruz  01:02

So my name is Ines Cruz. I'm a Farm Veterinary Surgeon at Tyndall Vets in South Gloucestershire and I've been here now almost three years. Pretty much my day to day basis is to treat anything from a sheep to a cow to an alpaca sometimes to, you know, your backyard, pet chicken or your pet pig. So we have a good mixture of anything farm and even pets as well now related to our day to day work, really, it's quite broad.


Jessica  01:34

When did your love for animals first begin?


Ines Cruz  01:37

I get asked that question a lot of times. So we have a lot of students coming, which are in uni, and sometimes not in uni, sometimes for a work placement, then they come over and we take them out on farm and everything. And they all ask me that. And in my case, I can say that it was always there. I think ever since I remember being a person, I always said I wanted to be an animal doctor. So because I was so young, I couldn't pronounce the word, veterinary, or a veterinarian or whatever for that matter. And I always always wanted to be a vet. So I was born and raised in the town in the city. And even to my mother it’s still a mystery to this day. How did my obsession for cows and sheep come about when she would understand cats and dogs maybe because we, you know, a lot of my friends had cats and dogs. I never had a pet growing up. So there was another, there's another mystery for my mum, for example. But it was it was always been there. So I always knew I wanted to do something with animals. And I always wanted to, I knew something to do with treatment and being around them. And then yeah, I pretty much kind of focused my life to go over towards that goal, really. That might be it was probably there a time I wanted to be a palaeontologist but that might have been when Jurassic Park came about. And then marine biology was also a bit of a thought that I had for a while but then it all came back to veterinary so unfortunately, I don't have it's not like some people are not sure what they want to do in the future. In my case, I for some reason, in my mind, I always wanted to be a vet. So yeah, here I am.


Izzy  03:16

Do you feel that way girls? Do you feel like you know what you want to do?


Lily  03:20

We have an idea, but not like 100% sure.


Jessica  03:24

That Yeah. I want to be involved in probably animals or sport, but it's what sort of it when you specify what sort of route we go down.


Ines Cruz  03:33

Obviously, if you want to work with animals, you know, there's not just a veterinary. There's so it's so broad that this this time, I think, even if I wasn't a veterinary, I'd probably want to be a farmer myself. Since I was like that, so or, you know, just work at a park, anything like that, you know, you got some from conservation to, you know, helping out on farm to being effective being a vet nurse as well. It's so broad and even within the veterinary profession, you know, not all of us are clinicians. So we also do food inspection. We work also at with the government, so not all of are full time clinicians, obviously the vast majority of us are, but even within the profession, there's loads of things you can do with with animals. I was lucky I managed to go into uni to become a vet. But I think if I hadn't made it, I would certainly I think be working with animals, but just some other way maybe just helping out on the farm or some you know, conservation work anything like that. 


Lily  04:36

So when we read your report, it said that you moved from your home country of Portugal to England. So why did you move to Portugal? Is veterinary better paid in England


Ines Cruz  04:47

Because I wanted to be a vet and specifically a farm vet. Unfortunately, in Portugal, agriculture and especially farm animal production and livestock management is not as big as it is here. So I saw being a farm vet only, you know, there's a lot of, we're a small country with little agriculture at the moment. And there's a lot of vets. So it was quite also quite saturated for farm vets. And then when I looked out, it was I saw that England still had a lot of farm vets, you'll have you know, a lot of specialist countryside, a lot of family and countryside related culture that, and I love that. So that drawn me out to the UK, obviously, I did work in Ireland before as well, before I came to England. And that was another one of the reasons that made me go to be Portugal, unfortunately. So yeah, there's a lot of vets and the market is quite saturated, and in order to pursue that I had to emigrate.


Jessica  05:44

Did you meet your husband through veterinary? And does he, would you say that he earns more than you due to the gender pay gap? Or would you say it's pretty good.


Ines Cruz  05:52

So I met my husband, a uni, he's also a vet, he's a small animal vet. I know, he does make more money than me. But that's not to do so much with the fact that he's a man, and I'm a woman, it's mainly to do because there's more the pay and the hours and everything with small animal is more and is different than in farm animals. So I can even see, you know, when I compare a work life balance, I have much better work life balance than he has. And normally in veterinary, you see that a lot of the pay is more due to experience more than anything else. So for example, I know all of these colleagues at his level, they all earn the same, because they all pretty much do the same, even though it all just depends again, and in my workplace, for example, it just depends on how many years of experience you have. And that's pretty much it in farm vetting, you do have to acknowledge, we do need a bit more physical strength. Sometimes, you know, especially when you're dealing with cows, and you're catching cows, and you're doing certain procedures and surgeries, that you know, you do require a bit more muscle. But to be honest, in our practice, we all do the same. Even if something is a bit more physically challenged, I might take a bit longer than my male colleague, but we all get it done mainly in the end. So we don't really see in our profession that gender pay gap unbalance there.


Izzy  07:10

That's great to hear. Because that can be unusual in STEM fields.


Ines Cruz  07:13

It's more due to experience than anything else in how many years of train, of practising obviously, you have really.


Izzy  07:20

Lily and Jess, were you expecting to hear that?


Jessica  07:22

Yeah, I was thinking that the gender pay gap, especially if it takes longer to do certain call outs because of being a woman or whatever. I think that that's I think that's great. They'll pay the same.


Ines Cruz  07:35

It takes longer, but it might just take us you know, I when I say long report 10/15 minutes, and you know, absolutely fine. And farmers are okay with that. Really, there's no, you know, we've never at least up till now to my experience and even speaking to colleagues and all with the same profession. We fortunately enough, we don't we don't feel that.


Lily  07:56

Is your job specific hours, like, do you have to do night call outs or more hours during the lambing season? And does this affect your social life?


Ines Cruz  08:06

Yes, we do our own out of hours. I normally have a set day in the week that I'm on call on weekdays. And normally we have a rotation of weekends that, so we do a weekend on call, like we say on in every four. And that's all obviously included in the salary package, for example, so always comprehends that. A normal day, for example, I work four and a half days a week. So we normally have a half day today is normally my half day. I managed to get away so I can speak to you guys. So yeah, so a normal day that I'm not on call, I get to work half eight, and normally I can leave at half five, we normally stay behind help each other. We have a good team here. And you're very lucky with that. So even if we have to stay behind a bit longer to help someone else, it's absolutely fine. We don't mind it. But that's normally how it works. So I don't really take work home so to speak. I'm lucky in that thing. We don't have to do a lot of reports. Sometimes we do but the vast majority of times they're quite set, and we can do it during our work hours. So we don't have to take anything home. On Tuesdays I'm on call and that means so I start the day at half five and then just stay on call. That doesn't mean I'm out all the time, just means I get to go home at half six, half, five, six o'clock. And then if the phone rings I go out if it doesn't all the better. I can stay in, especially now in the winter. But like you mentioned in lambing season, that phone will most likely ring on a Tuesday night.


Izzy  09:38

Is most of your work done at the farms? Or do you have a surgery that animals are brought into?


Ines Cruz  09:42

Yeah, we have we have the surgery and sometimes what might happen is if people bring the animals to us, they don't pay the visit. So it's basically they bring us a chicken or baby lamb or piglet or anything small enough they can transport and they can leave the transport obviously but then they bring their pets to us. But yeah, 99% of the times we go out and our patients, we go to our patients, not the other way around.


Jessica  10:08

So on that as well, would you say that you spend quite a bit of time in the lab as well? Or is it literally either out of the farm or surgery?


Ines Cruz  10:19

We do have an in house lab where we do like some basic testing like faecal samples to see if they have worms. For example, we also handled some bloods for check for passive transfer, which sort of should have heard about that, if you've been on a farm to check if the baby calves have had enough colostrum from mother. So we'll take a blood sample, and then we'll check for protein content on that. And then we can do that in house. But normally anything major, more, more specific bloods, we normally send it to a proper lab that we work with, and to do all that. But again, yeah we'll do everything. So for example, if I'm out on farm, and I think something has worms, because we need to be responsible when we're worming something, so we don't create resistance, I might bring a faecal sample from the animal and I'll tested in the lab in here. And then I might bring the farmer back saying it has worms, or it doesn't have worms, this is what you need to use them to make sure to treat it.


Jessica  11:15

So would you say that being a vet is more of a lifestyle that a job? And would you say that you manage to keep it as a job?


Ines Cruz  11:23

To be honest, I think it's a job but it's also a lifestyle. And that I mean, this really no looking at myself and my colleagues and all the other vets I come across. I think we're all a bit, we're all a bit crazy, I suppose. And it's also I think it's a lifestyle. So I you know, I enjoy what I do. I like what I do a lot, and I kind of you know, and it's all like animals, animals, animals, like I can't get away from them. I mean, you go to my house, I have animals everywhere. And I've got two cats, and I’ve got décor, and we talk, what we talk as well we talk about what about animals with my husband. I had two lecturers at uni, who said never marry a vet, otherwise, you'll never have any topic of conversation. And another one said, do marry a vet because only another vet will understand the hours and the talk and everything. And I think they were both right. And I see that at home. So I understand why my husband works late, and he does what he does. And he understands why I have to go out at night at half two, because in the morning to calf a cow or to lamb a sheep. Because he too did it years ago at the beginning, he also did some large animal work. So we understand that. And I understand I also did some small animal work. And I also understand that, but funnily enough, we might get home and say How was your day? How was your day? We'll talk a bit about veterinary and then we'll talk about everything else. So I think it's a bit of both really. But yeah, it is it is a job that yes, it's a job. But it is a job because it's science. And science is constantly being challenged. And you know, and tried and proved wrong or proved right. There's always an updating, you have to do it yourself. So, as vets, we need to do what we call CPD, which is continual professional development, and have a set amount of CPDs that we have to do every year. And sometimes because of that, everything keeps evolving. And everything is being tested and new things come about, new treatments, new ways of doing stuff, upgrading things, you know, we don't do things that we probably did 20 years ago, I do have to say that when people decide to be a vet, there is still some learning you'll carry on doing. It's not the type of thing that you're going to study for five years and go to work everyday from nine to five and that’s it. Again, because it's science and it's constantly evolving, you will need to carry on, you know, upgrading yourself and learning and studying a point obviously not studying like in school or uni. But yeah, you still have your book that you read a bit of this, you still have the odd scientific journal you need to read, just to kind of keep things fresh up. Do a refresher.


Izzy  14:06

What are your thoughts on that Jess and Lily, would you be up for continuing to study when you're working?


Jessica  14:12

I think it'll keep it interesting. To be honest, I think I can imagine that it's changed quite a lot in the space of a short period of time and…


Ines Cruz  14:19

You can choose what you want obviously according to what you what you have more interested in… more interest in. So you know I at the moment I'm quite interested in small ruminants, which normally are sheep and goats, and also I was you know more interested in learning more about alpacas. So I did my CPD and my continual professional development training for alpacas and also sheep and the goats as well. So it's nothing like Oh god, I have to keep studying. You have the flexibility of, you know, choosing what you want then to learn more from or learn more about.


Lily  14:56

And like normally, your job is like what you love so by like learn more about all the time it must be quite nice.


Ines Cruz  15:02

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I can't say it's always it's always perfect, I think. But you have to you have to endure them and especially when they're required. But yeah, it's it's Yeah, but when you do it, it's not it's not. You're doing it out of interest. So it's not really something you don't feel like you're doing it like a task or something. It's okay.


Izzy  15:24

Can I ask a quick question? Your job title is veterinary surgeon. Is every vet a surgeon or do you do different things than other vets?


Ines Cruz  15:32

We are all veterinary surgeons, so basically, it's like a comprehensive term thing. You know, in America, they mainly see a veterinarian, which is kind of a mouthful, and in UK we mentioned we’re veterinary surgeons. You can say sometimes veterinary assistant, but we don’t use that anymore. But veterinary surgeons, so I do. Yeah. So for normal routines, we go on farm every so often to check the cows and check fertility and check feet and limbs and everything, to you know, the phone rings and there's a calfing but then turns into a caesarean, then we do it. Anything surgical required as well, like in the name, we do it. So yeah, we pretty much do everything.


Izzy  16:13

So the surgery part is always part of your training. 


Ines Cruz  16:16

Yeah so at uni, we do cover in the last two years, we go full on into internal medicine and surgery, or surgical surgical subjects as well. Yeah. And we practice.


Jessica  16:28

When you were training at university to become a vet, did that cover all of the animals? And then did you specialise in farm animals? Or was it you went into farm veterinary?


Ines Cruz  16:39

The way that the way that, you know the veterinary course was structured years ago. So we basically, our basic knowledge, and I say basic, but it's not that basic, is at least it's eight domesticated species. So we start with the domesticated species, because those are the ones that we normally provide care for. So and maybe we start learning. So when you first yearanatomy, or your domestic domesticated species are poultry, pigs, sheep, or sheep and goat, a horse, cow, cat and dog, so at least some I think I'm missing one, I think there’s about 8, missing one. But anyway, so these are the domesticated species that we learned. So we learn about all the anatomy of all these species, or the difference in the anatomy or the difference. You know, some you can use some types of treatment and drugs on one, you can't do it on the other. But if you want to then specialise, say, in reptiles, for example, because you love snakes, and you want to work with that, reptiles and lizards and everything like that, there might be some site subjects, you can pick those optional subjects you can have as an extra for the curriculum throughout the year. But you only cover the very basis, I'll take the example of alpacas, I think, alpacas, we never mentioned it in uni, either here or back home in Portugal. Here, now we start seeing a bit more because the number and the population alpacas and people with alpacas is rising. So basically, I think they're starting to find their way more into, into the programme, or so to speak. But yeah, I when I got out of uni, I didn't know anything about alpacas. So it was actually through further learning and CPDs and everything that I started learning more about them. And I think that's what's gonna happen, we call exotic species, so we can divide them as domesticated species, and exotic and wild species. And we basically focus on the domesticated ones, because it's the most common ones. And then if you want to learn more about anything more exotic, so we speak, it's normally after uni with some post graduations, and, you know, other courses that you can do to get that knowledge.


Izzy  18:50

Jess, which animals are at the farm that you spend time at?


Jessica  18:53

It was cows mainly. So yeah milking, and beef as well.


Ines Cruz  18:57

How many were they milking?


Jessica  18:59

It’s quite a small farm I think. I think it's a couple of hundred but um, I don't know.


Izzy 19:05

That sounds huge to me!


Ines Cruz  19:05

Do they have a routine vet going around, or?


Jessica  19:09

I think they have, it's so it's in Malvern the farm. So my dad, he's not the actual farm and he works on the farm and just milking but I spend a bit of time there as well. So I don't know all the details. But yeah, he's quite interested in being around being around the obviously the technology as well in terms of the milking site.


Lily  19:35

So I was just gonna say so when you were at university, was it quite like in lessons learning about animals or was quite a lot of hands on contact with them learning about them that way?


Ines Cruz  19:46

The course is structured in Portugal and here are different, I think here it's much better. In Portugal, we had a lot of theory, and then we had the practicals pretty much so you have yeah you will be hands on only for a few hours a week and that was for all subjects. So pretty much we would have classes, be sitting in the room, be talking and looking at slides and this, and then you would apply it, you go to the lab and look at slide and look at microscopic slides with blood cells in it anything like that. So we would have the practical side of the theory that we were learning and what you were learning theory you could then see it what for what it was. And the same thing in anatomy, we had skeleton, so we would learn and then we would go to skeletons and then just see where everything and the bones are. See all the difference in the skeletons between the animals because that is important. So yeah, it is quite hands on. The good thing I like here in the UK is like in second year, they all do lambing placements, which I think is amazing. Which gives you loads of experience thing to do to learn us and everything. And then a lot of them keep doing that every year, which is great. And then you start your rotations. So third year, you start with your rotation. So you do small animal rotations in a small animal hospital. You come here, for example, with us you do a week or two here, you go around with one of us on the farms to see what we're doing. And we always, you know, get them to do anything as well with the students. So I like it is pretty hands on. But yeah, so they have about six months of just like classes in these classes. And then they have another six months of just rotations when they're out on small animal hospitals on farm, you know, farm practices, equine practices. And I think that is amazing, because you basically then starting to apply from the very beginning what you're learning. And I think that is a good way to cement because it is quite frustrating when you, after five years you come out of it, you're like, Oh, I know nothing, because it's just so much information to put in your head about each animal, then it's you think it's impossible. But as you start going along, you know, talking to people realise like, Oh, I remember that, oh, I know what that is. But it's there. It's all there. But I find that if you learn it and apply it, it does, it does help a lot to memorise everything and you think you can't, but you can, it's you know, I mean, if I did it, anyone can do it.


Izzy  22:09

So Ines you briefly mentioned needing to be responsible with things like worms, are there certain ways to be more environmentally friendly as a vet?


Ines Cruz  22:17

Well, we're always looking into that, at the moment, the main thing that kind of, I have to admit that breaks my heart is like some of the gloves that we use are plastic. And I think there are people or companies looking towards biodegradable gloves, which I think is amazing. They already made like biodegradable or the bottles, we use are recycle. Here in the practice, we implemented the recycling, we recycle everything we can, we have separate bins, which is good, because I haven't seen that in many other practices. We recycle everything, everything is on place, all the bottles that we use, bottles of lubricant and everything we tried to recycle everything. To be honest, it's just I think it's just that type of plastic, because it's what we use. And it's all like, because it's medical waste, it does have to be burned, obviously, because we're dealing with animals. And you know, we're dealing with faeces and blood and urine sometimes and all of that, you know, poses a risk to health. So any of the plastics that we use do end up having to be incinerated, but as long as they're disposed correctly, which we normally have that the way for this, there was proper bins, medical bins and medical waste bins. That's what we tried to do to the best of our abilities really. The practice has looking around to seeing if there's a chance of going into electric cars. But the thing is, because we cover such a vast area, just so many miles, we need a battery that will last a long time or for many miles. Because otherwise we'll be stuck in the middle of the road from where we know where to charge.


Izzy  23:45

I've read about antibiotic resistance. As a farm that do you have to think about that sort of thing.


Ines Cruz  23:51

Yeah, we have think about that, we have many organisations that are, have contributed and still contribute to the minimise the use of antibiotics in veterinary. And that is especially on the farm side of things, what we do mainly farming, cows and sheep, it is quite good. Antibiotics are normally categorised in four categories. So we basically from A to D, D being the first line ones, the ones that most commonly used. So the ones in is the ones that we actually mostly rely on still, and we don't see that many resistance. In our case, at least on our sides of the medicine, so to speak. I've recently been to a talk with an epidemiologist, and he said like you know looking at that veterinary comparing to human medicine, we are working harder, but the thing is because then you're dealing with human life obviously so you know you don't want to lose human lives in this because it is the association of emotion and everything he said. The way he said it is like if a chicken knows no one cries but a human of the family dies. That's a different story. It's still that gap between species really. And that's why in humans, they also use it responsibly, obviously. But when they tried to choose something, they probably couldn't go to the first line to the very top of the list the ones that know what's going to save someone. But so far in our in our, we do a lot of cultural accessibility testing, that being we take a sample of whatever we’re treating, say milk for example. So cows’ mastitis, we can test it on the milk, we can find out what bacteria it is. And then they tested in a lab to see to what that bacteria is sensitive to. And then we choose the antibiotic accordingly, that helps a lot and just to blind inject everything or to blind treat everything we are so we do a lot of preventative dedicine. It's the main thing, we prevent a lot of things, also by the use of vaccinations with vaccines, trying to prevent things from going down the line getting sick and having to be injected with antibiotics as well. So we do a lot of prevention medicines, I think that's a big, big thing. So even on our dairy farms, we have routine vets that we call it, so there are farms that we are there every month, there are farms that we are there every week and farms that we have the rough average of every two weeks so that we are on top of what's happening because again, in so many animals, you want to stay on top of what's happening. Is there an outbreak of anything? Is it not? Is everything fine? So we keep a close eye on our farms for that.


Izzy  26:22

Girls I realised I kind of jumped into that question about antibiotic resistance without seeing what your knowledge was about it. Do you know why I'm asking the question? Do you know what antibiotic resistance is and what the dangers are?


Jessica  26:33

I'm not totally sure. But I imagine it's to do with animals becoming resistant to any vaccinations. I could be wrong?


Izzy  26:41

Ines are you able to explain it for us, please?


Ines Cruz  26:44

So it's more like an animal becoming sick with a bacteria that's resistant to antibiotics. So that's something that you can't treat. And then obviously that creates a problem because what happens is that bacteria lives on and you can't treat and then you choose something else, it doesn't work, you treat it with something else, it doesn’t work. And that might be because you're using the wrong antibiotic, it might be because you're not using the right dose of it. And you're not using it, you know, and you need to test it, you need to see, which applies to what. Because if that happened that if another animal ends up catching that same bacteria, then it won’t respond to the treatment. So you need to know what it is. And the same thing. Obviously, with humans, if we catch a bacteria that's resistant to all the treatments or all the antibiotics that there are, there is you have complications and you might end up you might end up dying. So that is the risk of antibiotic resistance. And it's the bacteria that become resistant, not the animal.


Izzy  27:46

So it could eventually kind of affect the food chain, or like with foot and mouth was that bacterial?


Ines Cruz  27:52

Yeah, there was not, that was a virus. So that was a virus with a very, very pathogenic and highly transmissible. Yeah.


Izzy  28:00

It was probably before you were born girls, but there were millions of animals that had to be killed because there was a virus that got round and couldn't be treated.


Ines Cruz  28:07

That thing because it was virus, virus didn't respond to antibiotics bacteria do. But the problem is virus compromises the immunity of the animal or the person like we all seen, especially with COVID, now we all come back from, we’re specialists in viruses now. And what happens is by learning the immunity that the bacteria normally live happily in your body at a normal rate, so to speak, then just start multiplying and we then need to treat with antibiotics. So that’s what we call a secondary bacterial infection, because the primary reason was the viral infection that created the problem. And also there are ways to prevent those. So it doesn't really go in the food chain. There are things called withdrawal times. Have you heard of that, when you're treating animals? So there's a withdrawal period, which is a withdrawal time for meat and milk. So when you treat something, you need to put it on record. So every farm would have like a medicine book where they have to record what animal they're treating, you have to put the identification of the animal, what roughly what the problem was, what antibiotic they used, when did they use it? How much did they use it, and then the withdrawal times. So the withdrawal times is the time that we know that it takes to a certain drug or certain molecule to leave the body so it doesn't have traces of it anymore. So say for example, some antibiotics might say 15 days withhold. So that means that after you injected that animal with an antibiotic, it needs to wait at least 15 days before it goes into the food chain so that no residue of any antibiotic is in this meat. And the same might apply, might apply for example 24 hours in the milk so for 24 hours, the milk of that animal will be set aside, it will not go into the tank. It will not be collected for processing for human consumption. So that is an that is constantly being revised on farm. They have audits, inspections, you name it, they will normally look at those medicine books to make sure that everything is been set in place, there was no residue. All the milk in the tank is daily tested. So when they pick up, when the pick lorries go to pick up the milk tank, they always test the milk as well to see if there's antibiotics. So it's there is a lot of testing before it gets up to the shelves at Tescos.


Jessica  30:30

Would you say as well, did you work, because obviously there's the bird flu as well, is that something that you had to work with as well?


Ines Cruz  30:38

Some of us normally go out this time of year. Again, this year has been pretty bad. Because normally after my migratory birds go away in spring, it kind of settles. It has not settled this year at all. And now because a lot of birds are coming back again, it's getting even worse. So in this area, you know, touch wood, we haven't been badly affected yet. But we normally go out to other parts of the country as well. And we go out and we check pretty much when we did it here because we don't have many big poultry farms here. We mainly did a lot of backyard chickens and turkeys and geese and everything. So basically a lot of pets so to speak. And people have actually been really good and they had everything netted out, they had all the dishes with the food and the water, you know, hidden so that you wouldn't get something even pooed on sometimes if you have something flying, that's can be enough with this virus to contaminate the feed and the birds to get infected. So they've been pretty good. We do have the wetlands, Slimbridge, here nearby. I'd say they're probably on high alert at the moment, because they have a lot of the big swans coming from the north. And they normally nest here. So I think they're probably all watching them like hawks, no pun intended there. But they're having a lot of control there now, because you know, all the birds are my migratory birds are coming in now. So we'll see what happens on this part of the country now.


Lily  32:06

So what's your favourite thing about your job?


Ines Cruz  32:08

So my favourite thing, I don't know, I think is seeing something that's ill, and then ringing the next day and seeing they’re feeling better already. And by the end of the week, and seeing Oh, she's doing better. It's like, it's it's fixing them really making them feel better. Because you know, if you do that, have a happy cow and have a happy farmer, then everybody’s happy. So that's what I like most about that I get more satisfaction from that than anything else. And to help the animals really it's kind of think they don't they don't talk. So I think there's a thing people and people think like, oh, but you’re a vet, you know, like, yes, to a certain degree. We've got the basics there. But sometimes we need a bit more. Sometimes not all the symptoms are exactly what the textbook says. And that is, can be the most challenging one I think I'm already answering your second question there. I think it's the challenge is when you see something that you look at it yourself, and you know that it's not 100%, right. But you can't just pinpoint what it is. And that is a challenge really. And again, like I say they don't talk so they can't say Oh, it's my tummy or it's this or it's that. And then what happens is you started treatment, there might be like a broad spectrum treatment. And then two days later, a colleague goes out. And actually now it's textbook something. How did you miss that? Like I didn't, maybe I just saw at the very beginning and it wasn't just presenting like the book says like, I think at the beginning is quite frustrating that bit. It's when you think everything's gonna be, you know, perfect and textbook like, and then it's not. But the, my main thing is yes, going out speaking to the farmer working with them and fixing something that's ill or in pain and making you better. Doesn't matter what animal.


Jessica  33:57

Did you have any role models when you were growing up?


Ines Cruz  34:00

I can't say that I do. And only I've been asked, Well, firstly, maybe I'd say obviously my mum. I say my mother simply because it's just a single parent. And she pretty much raised me and you know, we all know like going through uni it's not a cheap thing. And she managed to get me to uni and finished the course. And I do look up to her, she’s quite a strong woman. Professionally not really. I just think all my colleagues maybe because we all we all, probably each other's role model really because some of us can do one thing better than other things. And we all kind of complement each other quite well. And sometimes I wish I could do that. I could do that. But it's so many things we have to do. But we Yeah, I think mainly personally I'd say my mum, definitely. But as professionally I think… I did ask this question to my colleagues once and they didn't have money either. A professional one.


Izzy  34:56

Lots of role models say their mums.


Ines Cruz  34:59

It's yeah I think the mums and the dads come up a lot. And one of my friends did say that I looked, I looked to be more like my dad, because he's a legend. So that's good.


Izzy  35:10

I love it when people say their parents, that's lovely.


Ines Cruz  35:12

Yeah, I think so. Yeah, my mum, my mum. Let’s go with that. she'll like that when she listens, when she hears it.


Izzy  35:20

And Ines can you recommend any resources like TV shows or social media accounts, or books or magazines that students who are interested in getting into what you do could have a look at to find out more information?


Ines Cruz  35:32

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you, it might be some type of technical words there. But the easily enough to, to understand, you know, Google these days, but AHDB is a platform that's directly linked to agriculture. And any type any kind of agricultural really, you can find loads of stuff there about beef, dairy, sheep, anything from like disease, to prevention, to feed, nutrition. That is, they are a good platform for that, and it's something that I normally recommend to some of the farmers to have a bit of a read through, in any particular, any particular thing they might want to learn a bit more about. They do a lot of research, and we work alongside with them as well, regarding data and anything really. It's a really good site, there are things more technical things for like worms, which are SCOPS and COWS. So that’s the short version of this. So C-O-W-S COWS, that's how to use a wormers responsibly because it's another thing, not just antibiotic usage, but wormer usage can create a lot of resistance, we can create worms that are resistant to treatment. And then you know next thing we'll have animals dying of worms and then you got all things all things medicine related. You can go you know, journals like PubMed has loads of journals about veterinary and reviews about diseases and everything. Like I say some things might be a bit more technical, but things some things are just kind of reviews of some things throughout the years. So there's a more good read.


Lily  37:11

Do you have any amusing stories to tell us about working as a farm vet?


Ines Cruz  37:15

Oh, yes, there's a reason why a man, James, James Herriot made books about veterinary. I don't know if you haven't heard of that? There's a few books by James Herriot that I fully recommend that you read if you want to get just, to read one. They're pretty funny. And it's featured on All Creatures Great and Small, which is a TV series that they made now. It's actually one of the names of one of the books. We do have a lot of funny stories, maybe some of them bit gruesome, but there's a lot of funny stories because we all, we would sometimes joke about like we should start putting diary entries of things that happened to us so you know, from things escaping and us running out of them in the middle of the field to catch them, to be knocked out, to running away. I mean, they're funny but they're funny now because everything went alright, no one got hurt humans or animals but um, you know, getting pooped on the head by a calf because I was looking at its hocks. You get splashed with a lot of different things in your face and everywhere. So it's I mean, being a farm vet, a vet I will not say just a farm vet but a vet, you get a lot of splashes and things but it normally involves a lot of poop. I don't know why it's always poo involved in it in any species.


Izzy  38:30

Thank you, Ines, this has been so interesting. And thank you Lily and Jessica for your brilliant questions. 


Outro 38:34

Thank you for joining another STEM Untapped podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then subscribe for free on your podcast app. You can follow us on Instagram at @STEMuntapped. If you know of a school or group of students who would like to interview female or non-binary role models do get in touch. Likewise, if you know of anyone who would be a great role model then let us know. Our details are all documented in the show notes.