Holy cow folks. I am a week into my last classroom block! How in the world can I be in clinical rotations taking care of real patients… in ONLY 7 MORE WEEKS? EEEEK! So this (final!!) block I have:
AKA the bane of my existence. Granted, I like therio, but 1) 6-8 lectures a week is way too many and 2) the material takes decades for me to wrap my head around and 3) the exams are supposed to be KILLER. Like, 40% exam average killer….
Problem Based Learning
My only elective in this block, and I’m SO excited for it. As groups with a clinician, we are presented a case and get to work through every single part of it (Problem lists, differential diagnosis, diagnostics, treatment plan, history taking skills, communication with clients, etc). This is something we will do every. single. day. beginning in October, so I’m ecstatic to be able to practice these crucial skills before clinics start.
Besides therio, eyes are the only system that gets its own class, since everything else clinical was filtered in equine med, farm animal med, or small animal med.There are a few things in ophthalmology that is certain. 1) No one can spell it and 2) You either think eyes are gross or you like the grossness that eyes can transform into. I’m the latter :p
Equine Med & Surgery Part 2
This class left a bad taste in my mouth last block. Guess you can say equine and I don’t really get along.
Farm Animal Med & Surgery Part 2
Even though I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be a mixed animal vet anymore, I still love learning about ruminants. It just somehow tickles my small animal soul <3
Emergency Medicine and Critical Care
What’s not to love about emergency? That’s right, nothing. I’m super excited for the emergency procedures labs to brush up on my technical skills and to learn all about managing critical patients!
Please don’t let your dog’s teeth become this nightmare! This patient was euthanized for many problems, but one of them was the end-stage dental disease. Brushings and professional cleaning (with extractions or endodontics as needed) can help prevent this!
This tooth has THREE roots; if it’s this loose, consider how much bone loss must have occurred around each root.
Friendly PSA- DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR THIS SUMMER
Like they do just about every year, the news recently showed cookies successfully baking in a hot car. I bet they would be super yummy regardless of cooking apparatus too.
However, If it is hot enough to cook cookies, It is TOO HOT TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR. Please think about your fluffy friends this summer and do not leave them in a vehicle, regardless of how long you are gone or even if the windows are cracked. Regardless of panting, dogs can NOT regulate their temperature like we can, and can succumb to heat stress in a stuffy car even if the outside temperature is 70 degrees. I’ve seen just how quickly heatstroke can lead to death, and that’s something I would never like to see a dog to go through.
So please stick to cooking cookies in your car this summer, and not your furry best-friend.
Nerves supplying the body can be divided in to cranial and spinal. Cranial nerves emerge from the brain or brain stem and spinal from the spinal chord. There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. They are components
of the peripheral nervous system, with the exception of the optic nerve, as
their axons extend beyond the brain to supply other parts of the body. They are
named numerically from region of the nose (rostral) to back of the head
(caudal). Here’s a brief overview of all twelve nerves and their basic functions.
I – The Olfactory Nerve. The cells of this nerve arise from
the olfactory membrane of the nasal mucosa. The dendrites of the nerve cells
project in to the olfactory mucosa. The axons of these cells combine to form
the olfactory nerve. They join the brain at the olfactory bulb, located at the
end nearest the nose. The fibres are short and lie deep and protected from
casual injury. It is often found that loss or interference of sense of smell is
due to blockage of the air passage leading to the olfactory mucosa, not due to
II – The Optic Nerve. This nerve connects the retina to the
diencephalon of the brain. It is the only cranial nerve considered to be part
of the central nervous system. This means the fibres are incapable of
regeneration, hence why damage to the optic nerve produces irreversible blindness.
Interestingly the eye's blind spot is a
result of the absence of photoreceptor
cells in the area of the retina where the optic nerve leaves
the eye. I find the optic nerves easy to spot when looking at the brain from
below as they form the optic chiasm. This is the point at which they cross and
forms a clear ‘x’.
III- The Oculomotor Nerve. This
nerve controls most of the eye’s movements including the constriction of the
pupil and levitation of the eyelid. Damage to the nerve can cause double vision
and inability to open the eye. A symptom of damage to this nerve is tilting of
IV – The Trochlear Nerve.
This nerve is a small somatic motor nerve and innervates the dorsal oblique
muscle of the eye, responsible for allowing the eye to look down and up as well
as internal rotations. Damage to the nerve can cause one eye to drift upwards
in relation to the undamaged eye, meaning patients tilt their heads down to
V – The Trigeminal Nerve.
This is the largest cranial nerve and is so called as it has three major
divisions. It is sensory to the skin and deeper tissue of the face and motor to
certain facial muscles, playing a large role in mastication.
VI – The Abducent Nerve.
This nerve controls the movement of the lateral rectus muscle of the eye. It
also plays a role in eye retraction for protection. Injury produces the
inability to deviate the eyeball away from the midline of the body.
VII – The Facial Nerve. This
nerve innervates the muscles of facial expression. It also functions in the
conveyance of taste sensations from the front two thirds of the tongue. As well
as this it can increase saliva flow through certain salivary glands.
VIII – The Vestibulocochlear
Nerve. This nerve is named after the vestibular and cochlear components of the
inner ear. It transmits information on sound and balance. Damage can lead to
deafness, impaired balance and dizziness.
IX – The Glossopharyngeal
Nerve. This nerve has any roles including the innervation of certain muscles of
the palate of the mouth, certain salivary glands and the sensory mucosa of the
root of the tongue, palate and pharynx. Damage can lead to difficulty
swallowing as well as the loss of ability to taste bitter and sour things in
X – The Vagus Nerve. This is
a very important nerve and one frequently discussed when considering many important
systems within the body. It is the longest of all cranial nerves and extends to
supply the pancreas, spleen, kidneys, adrenals,
and intestine. It has parasympathetic
control of the heart and digestive tract as well as certain glands and
XI – The Accessory Nerve.
This plays a role in neck turning and elevation of the scapula (shoulder). Muscle atrophy of the shoulder region indicates damage to this nerve.
XII – The Hypoglossal Nerve.
This nerve’s name relates to the fact that is runs under the tongue,
innervating the tongue’s internal and external musculature. It has important
roles in speech, food manipulation and swallowing.
Horses have thinner skin and may feel pain more than humans.
For those who think horses don’t feel pain as we do - you could be right. They may feel far more. Australian TV programme ‘Catalyst’ asked vet pathologist Dr. Lydia Tong to look at the differences between horse and human skin, something that has surprisingly never been studied before. She found the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) is thinner in horses and they have a higher density of 'pain sensing’ nerve endings than we do. So what happens to the great whip debate now I wonder?
This information was revealed as part of an interesting film looking at the use of the whip in racing and is well worth a watch. Professor Paul McGreevy is also interviewed here, one of the authors of the article I shared a couple of days ago analysing whip use in UK racing. The information about the horse’s skin starts around 12.30.
The image below is of horse skin on the left with the thinner epidermis. On the right, human skin.
Veterinary medicine, seemingly more than any other profession, often has people asking why things cost what they do or even at all and why things are done the way they are. The most basic answer is because vets and their staff need and deserve to be paid and the hospital has bills of its own that must be paid in order to stay open and provide services. Another answer is because other people have screwed it up for the rest of you.
This crap is hard. Don’t forget your goal and if you ever do forget it, forget it in the presence of wine and friends and snacks. Then the next morning, think about how all this knowledge isn’t only going to be helping you ace your exams, think about how it will enable you to make the best decisions for your future patients.
It’s impossible to know everything although you will feel like you should. Whether or not you try, at least know when to stop jamming in more knowledge and learn to prioritise. Somethings aren’t worth losing other things over. Don’t feel bad when you don’t know the answer to an obscure question. This profession will never stop teaching you things.
This is not glamorous and things will get messy and hard. That’s okay. Throw your scrubs in the wash after those anal glands expression and a good long shower to get all the mud out of your hair when you were wrestling cows. Then get into the sofa and get your book and study on.
Cry in the bathroom if you must. Don’t do it in front of clients or teachers. You can do it.
Stay humble and don’t get overly confident - mistakes will happen. Know what you know and what you don’t know. Be eager to learn.
Enjoy this. That feeling you get when you see people cuddle their pets when they get them back after surgery, or that relief that they’ll have their animal a little while longer and it was just a scare. Be grateful for people coming to you with their pets because they care.
It’s okay to not know why you would ever want to be a vet while you’re trying to jam in over 1000 pages on anatomy or pharmacology. It’s okay to hate vet school. It’s okay to have days where you hate being a vet. But that thing right there? Inside you, somewhere halfway your spine that is pushing you forward? Keep that and nurture it. It’s you caring. Caring about the profession, about the animals, about the clients. It’s caring about being a good person and of feeling that the best way for you to do that here, on this clump of dirt, is to be a vet.
All my notes on forelimb anatomy for anyone who is interested. Again is anything is wrong, please let me know, but this is the level of detail I need to know for this year. For the muscles, it’s name, innervation, origin, insertion, function. The last one was a bit messy and horrible to draw, so enjoy!