This vet student’s wild dream….

Whilst TV can numb the mind, sometimes it inspires dreams, and for me it planted the seed that I did not want to work with just cats and dogs. I want the great variety that being a vet offers me, from the very small frogs to the very big elephants. What a dream that is ay?

Well something I truly believe is that if you really want something you can make it happen, so now with 2 years study left I am looking to kick start my dream. I am heading to Barcelona (I’ve never been to Spain before), to attend the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians conference. Hopefully I will leave this conference with the lessons of the people that have done it already to help me avoid making the same mistakes. There is a strict social media ban on the content of the conference, however it includes the latest techniques and knowledge in this unique area of veterinary medicine. I am especially looking forward to the surgery sessions as this is where my great passion really is.

So is it worth going? I believe so as it is a small community, and getting to meet people will help me. However I am doing it for the least cost possible… Tonight I will be spending the night in Budapest airport to save on costs as my flight is early in the morning with the only train connection the one I am on as I write this. This saves me maybe 50 euros so yay… Then on the way back I am making the same connection by train which gives me a 6 hour wait in Budapest for the train connection…. Then public transport in Barcelona to the apartments (even though I have no clue where I am going) will help me keep costs lower… Still it is an expensive conference (the most expensive I have ever been) however I hope that it is an investment in my future and a few long journeys are a very small in relation….

Now I still have another couple of hours to spend on this train, and there are no power sockets so I am going leave today’s diary entry here. I will update you all as I get time!

Should you share your bed with your doggy?

We’re a nation of animal lovers. Around 53% of pet owners consider their four-legged friends to be a member of the family so it’s not surprising that so many of us choose to share the duvet with our pets. Even Queen Victoria is reputed to have shared her death bed with her Pomeranian! They’re our best friends, and a little terrier or collie can make a great hot water bottle in the winter nights, so why wouldn’t we want to cuddle up with them at night time?

Whilst it’s tempting to think that the best option for our pets is to cosy up with us our beds are getting higher whilst our doggies, well, they’re still the same height. The frames are taller as they are increasingly being manufactured to include storage drawers, and cosy mattresses are getting larger to accommodate our human needs, but the longer jump off of them can potentially hurt your pet’s paws. What’s best for humans unfortunately isn’t always what is best for man’s best friend.

From a dog training perspective, a lot of trainers advise that owners choose to offer a separate bed for their pet. This is because as the owner, it is important to maintain your position as pack leader, but dogs can perceive sharing a sleeping area to indicate that you are their subordinate. Whilst this may not be problematic if you’ve established yourself as the “alpha” of the family pack, if your dog is feeling anxious or aggressive these behaviours may be exacerbated by your sleeping arrangement and could mean that you’re at risk of a nip or bite.

Thankfully it isn’t all doom and gloom as adjusting to sleeping separately from your pet doesn’t need to be difficult or disruptive for you or your pet. There are a wide variety of affordable cushions and blankets that can be a comfortable alternative for your pet. The key to making the transition is that your pet understands they’re not being punished and that this new arrangement is just as comfortable as the old. Thankfully there is a wealth of advice available at the click of a button to help owners with implementing this change in their sleeping arrangements.

Having a special sleeping area for your doggy means that your sheets and fabrics are less likely to become full of rogue hairs and germs your pet will have brought in from the garden or their walk. That King Size you splashed out on from BedStar won’t be monopolised by Lassie (and her hairs!) so there will be more space for you to stretch out. You can treat yourself to some new bed linen and throw cushions knowing that little Bruno won’t be chewing on them during the night or leaving them full of fur. Sleeping independently from your pet won’t mean that you love them any less; hopefully it will mean a good night’s sleep for both of you, and less wear and tear on your bedding.

The hunt for a bullet…

Some days when I wake up with a feeling that I am going see something new and should get to surgery as quick as I can. Today was one of them, and within 20 minutes of waking I was in scrubs in the surgery building ready to help. Being Easter Sunday here it was quite with just a doctor, another student sent from a different department and myself.

The doctor has a patient in radiography after being shot… And we have a waiting room full so after we complete the survey images and confirm the bullet is still inside I start prepping the anaesthesia whilst the doctor continues with consults. We are hoping it is going be a really quick procedure to find and remove the bullet, radiographs make it look really easy and we hope that the bullet is in the tissue layer…

Taking the dog into surgery we gown and glove ready for the surgery, and start searching for the pellet in the area that the radiograph told us it would be. Looking through all the layers covering the ribs and between we cannot find the bullet. With this we move the surgery to xray so that we can get more images during the surgery and hopefully find it easier…

Unfortunately radiographs are a 2D imaging technique, and even trying to get bullet pinpointed against landmarks we cannot determine exactly where it is. And worse is that it seems to move with each image. Unable to locate the bullet, and without being able to get an accurate position with radiography after 2 hours of trying we decided to abandon the surgery as the anaesthesia risk increases with each hour.

Sometimes this can happen, it is not a good feeling, however it is in the patients best interest and the case will be discussed later and decisions made whether to make another attempt to find the bullet.

In the meantime I am left wondering how humans can be so evil as to shoot a poor defenceless animal that is also a family pet. Sometimes the world makes no sense…