vet exam

That’s a wrap on trimester 1! Adios cows, sheep, pigs and poultry! I’ll miss you when we start horses in a couple of weeks, but for now I’m certainly not sorry to see the back of those horrendous exams. Now I can indulge in a nice two day break before I begin work on my research project and start another week of placement. No rest for the wicked!

Q: Why do MGPs clean their jelly babies? A: So they can have a clean jelly baby! Duh. - A few months ago MGP got some serious wobbles until she could barely walk, but they cleared up with a round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, her illness came back and stopped responding to Baytril. We took MGP for a blood test yesterday. Our vet gave her an exam and thinks it might be an infection in her brain or cancer. We are hoping it’s an infection, and will clear up with the new antibiotics we’re putting her on.
PS. Check out our Fuzzberta Etsy shop!

I got to wander around on the bed today.

It wasn’t for too long, as the humans here keep their bedroom pretty cold, but it was still fun to explore.

I apologize for my dull colors, I’m going into shed again!

First, my glamor shot! I was sitting on my keeper’s legs. For a change, I was pretty calm and didn’t immediately try to bolt! I did eventually realize I was on a person and tried to run away. Once I was down onto the bed itself, I relaxed again.

I don’t look so big when pictures are taken from a distance, though.

I had some fun crawling around on the sheets, though; they’re still using winter fleece sheets, so it wasn’t slippery at all and was easy for me to climb around.

I noticed, after awhile, that my keeper was just sitting there taking pictures of me.

Ugh, really? You’re just gonna sit there and take pictures?

I only got to stay out for about five minutes, because their bedroom was only around 50F, and that’s far, far too cold for me, but it’s also the safest place to let me run where I can’t get under or fall off of anything high. When it’s warmer outside, I can spend more time there.

My keeper also says he plans to set up a safe area outside using chicken wire so I can go outside on the grass once it’s warmer.

I’m still not very good about wanting to be handled, I’m very wiggly and screamy despite daily handling, and my keeper is trying to see if maybe just letting me be out and wandering around people instead of being actually held or made to be crawling or climbing ON people will help me relax a little more.

I was not handled at all, really, for the first two years of my life, so this is all still very new and scary to me, even after 5 months.

Please keep in mind that my keeper is not looking for advice on how to tame me; he is taking my personality and my comfort level into consideration while working with me and does not subscribe to ‘flooding’ methods (i.e. holding me until I’m just so ‘flooded’ with fear or stress that I stop struggling and appear relaxed) for taming me.

We’re working with what my comfort levels are, and he is not interested in pushing me to behave how he wants or thinks I should behave, and is letting me go at my own pace.

If I decide I’m just not comfortable with regular handling, he does not plan to force it beyond making sure I’m handleable enough for vet exams.

Dealing With Stress Induced Illness During Vet School

When I was a youngin, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is a GI condition (constipation, diarrhea, bloating, painful abdomen, etc). that can be exacerbated by stress and trigger foods. Once I got through the initial (years and years) struggle of identifying my triggers, my IBS, like a latent virus, faded into the background. I rarely had any problems, and I was feeling like a normal, happy, healthy, peaceful human being. 

And then everything changed when vet school attacked. As exam upon exam rained down on me, I began to feel painful and bloated even when consuming my “safe” foods. And if anyone has experienced IBS, one painful bloating episode can leave you crying on the couch clutching your stomach all day. Or hurriedly running to the bathroom all day while fighting off excruciating cramps.. It’s a daily struggle, because there are stresses everywhere. Juggling 15 exams, bills, relationships, classes, sleep, and “me” time is hard.  And to be honest, clinical rotations hasn’t made it any better. There are new challenges, such as gulping down food at 4 am after my 18 hour shift, or trying to soothe my grumbling tummy as I face my insecurities about new procedures or retaining my knowledge base. Every day is just a new stress to add to my already sensitive GI system. 

And I wish I could sit here and say that I found the miracle cure and if you have a chronic illness, whether that be physical or mental, that you can heal it with ease while also juggling the constant pressure cooker that is school. But it’s not that simple. It’s hard. So hard I want to cry in frustration sometimes. 

However, with my IBS comes the persistence of working through this. I was never truly aware of my stresses (or stress relievers for that matter), until now. And now that I am equipped with that knowledge, It is slowly becoming manageable again, I am becoming a normal person again, no, a stronger person, and for that I am thankful. 

And with this comes help, from peers, from professors, and from professionals. I am not alone in this, and neither are you. An illness, whether it has physical or mental manifestations, is not going to make this journey easy for you. But you should know that regardless of what you are struggling with, you have resources to help you through, and that despite the lies that your illness is spewing to you, you are still capable of crossing that finish line. 

After taking a night off, The reality of the four other exams (theriogenology, surgery, health management, and anesthesia/pharmacology) I have to start studying for has officially hit me. Though after my marathon 3 day exam, they look a lot less intimidating. Only 8 days until I’m officially done my second year! Who’s counting though?