Officially failing the year…

I am pretty gutted writting this, yet it also feels like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. As I feared at Christmas with my workload parasitology proved too much and I failed to pass it in time (the deadline was today). This means that I have failed the year and will have to resit the year to repeat parasitology before I am allowed to progress onto the next year. I AM INTENDING TO REPEAT THIS SUBJECT, I AM STILL A VET STUDENT, AND IT MAY NOT BE THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD

So I am disappointed in myself, and pretty embarrassed. Not being the only one to have failed what is labelled “hell year” does make me feel a bit better. I’ve passed so many subjects this past year that I feel I have learnt nothing at all, gained a lot of weight, and had so little sleep its untrue.

On the upside so next year I will still be a 4th year vet student here doing just 1 class a week. There are special arrangements available with the fee’s for doing it so it won’t break the bank. In addition to being able to use the time to complete my thesis and research project and to get extra clinical practice this also means that I will have time to study the things that I skimmed over in depth, I passed pharmacology for example, yet know so little about drug interactions it is untrue! Or physiology and whilst I understand the basics my neurophysiology is seriously lacking! I honestly believe that by spending an extra year studying I will be a better vet at the end of it (especially as I can study stuff not normally on the curriculum like exotics!)!

In addition it will also give me the time to get back to my diary, finish writing my first aid book, and catch up on a lot of other things! Not to mention I will be able to get some exercise!!!

I am gutted, I was so close to being able to do it and with another week I would have, but rules are rules and this way I hope by seeing the positive I really will finish a better doctor!

Thank you to everyone that has supported me, it really has meant everything to me, I really am sorry to have let you down so badly. It was not through lack of trying but lack of time!

A quick look at the science behind vaccinations

Today’s Diary Entry is Sponsored by Pet Webinars

I wrote this earlier this even in response to a question asked on social media, it is a pretty good quick summary so thought I’d also share it here!

The science of vaccination is that it teaches the immune system to recognise the “markers” of a disease in a “controlled” manner. It takes time for the immune system to recognise and respond to a new disease. By teaching it to recognise a disease it means that the response in future is faster. From memory (I don’t have time to check exact timing atm) the first exposure to a disease takes around a week to produce an immune response to the disease, the second “booster” reduces this to a couple of days.

This is important because there are several stages in the course of a disease, and being able to recognise and start the “fight” against the disease earlier can mean a better outcome.

The problem is that in addition to the physical damage from the disease the disease also increases the stress on the body. This takes its toll and whilst the disease may not itself be fatal, the body can be simply overwhelmed from trying to deal with it. Being able to recognise the disease early before it takes hold means that a serious thing may be just a “bump” in the road.

How is rabbit food made?

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Webinars

A while back I happened to be at BSAVA at the same time as the Technical Manager for Supreme Petfoods, knowing very little about pet food manufacturing at this point in time I decided to ask as many questions as I could. Now I am going to try and explain the process (at least at Supreme Petfoods) to you!

Starting at the beginning of the process we have to consider the type of formulation process used. There are generally two types here:

  • Fixed formulation – Now fixed formulation is simply that, it means that every single time the food is made with the same ingredients. Take for example cranberry’s, if the formula says that 1kg of cranberrys should be used then 1kg of cranberrys is used. It doesn’t matter about the market price of the ingredient, if the cranberrys cost £1 or £10 they are still used in the same amount.
  • Dynamic (nutrient based) formulation – Now dynamic formulation is all about the end nutritional value of the food. This means that it just so long as the end nutritional values are correct whatever ingredients it takes to get there are used. Generally this could mean the cheapest possible ingredients are used, there is actually computer software that will calculate the recipe based on the cheapest prices at that point in time.

Now Supreme Petfoods use fixed formulation, this means that every time you buy a new packet of food it is exactly the same as the last time you brought that food. The upside to this is your rabbits not looking at you crazy for giving them a different food.

All these ingredients are then processed (whether it be by grinding or cutting) before they are all mixed together. This is then passed into something called an extruder, its basically a big machine that will squeeze the food out through a die for the correct shape and cut it into the correct sizes… Kinda like one of the old play dough machines but on an industrial scale.

This will then pass into a drying tower which will remove the moisture from the food using heat and time, before it then passes into a cooling tower to allow it to return to room temperature before then heading to a packing line where it is sealed in bags ready for distribution.