The flying snake…

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Supreme Petfoods

So most people have heard of flying pigs before, however today I actually got to meet a flying snake, and no it wasn’t through any accidents of any kind. The snake I was looking at was the ornate flying snake, Chrysopelia ornate that is found usually in southeast Asia. There are only 5 recognised species that belong to this group of the flying snakes.

Now the flying snake can travel up to 100m in the air, and land with pinpoint accuracy using special adaptions to its body to make an aerodynamic wing. These adaptations include sucking in the stomach, and spreading out its ribs to flatten its body. Now to clarify this is more a Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story anyone) kind of flying as this snake is arboreal and lives in the trees and not on the ground. So what happens is the snake moves to the end of the branch, pulls back into a J shape, picks a landing spot and then launches itself off. During its entire journey the body keeps making its side to side movement that it would make on the ground to stabilise itself in flight.

Once in the air the ribs move up flattening the body allowing the snake to glide. Sometimes nature is pretty cool as in addition to the ability to fly the flying snakes are also venomous. Now this venom is relatively weak and will only affect small prey (such as mice), however in addition to this the fangs are at the back of the mouth and are small. This means that it would have to be something pretty small being bitten for it to fit into the mouth for the fangs to reach so most humans are relatively safe with these snakes (though getting bitten is still not a good idea because of the bacteria).

Today the flying snake was in after what we suspected to be trauma, the intestines had herniated (broken through) the circular muscles that surround the body of the snake so had to be replaced. The surgery went well, and hopefully my first snake patient that flies will make a good recovery.

Just to note though, the unique adaptations of snakes between species is one of the reasons it’s so important to research to understand the needs of pet snake before getting one as they can be so different. This snake needs to live in a tree, and needs space to exhibit natural behaviour.

The drunk and honest truth of being a vet student…

Please ignore any spelling mistakes, I am still slightly tipsy, however I feel like typing so will with the blunt and honest truth. There is no sponsor on this post because of this.

So today I passed my general epizootology exam with a B grade, this means that I achieved over 80%… To get a first class degreee in the UK you only need to achieve 70%. I am a overachiever, I push myself to my limits. I work part time in addition to studying, so generally I manage to study and work, but lack the social life. Tonight I decided to attend the matriculation ball which welcomes new students to the university, partly to celebrate passing general epizootology, but mainly because after my workload over the past month I needed to unwind.

However I do not drink to unwind, my relaxation comes from conversation, some of them extremely random but put some of the smartest people in the same room, add some alcohol and you have some very interesting conversations. So for the past 8 hours I have been talking, not just veterinary but about different cultures, different languages and different opinions. Whether that is with a professor, a doctor, or another student. It is fascinating how each day I live and learn.

The truth is that I live, eat and breath veterinary medicine, I fall asleep reading, I wake up wondering about patients from the day before, I fall asleep wondering if patients will still be alive when I wake. Its not a job, its a way of life. Its what you eat drink and breath. Sure you can be ordinary, but that is boring. When you believe you can achieve anything, sometimes it is better to do something than nothing… Sometimes you just have to.

It is hard, sometimes I feel like giving up… Then I remember just how much difference I can make. Sometimes it’s about the one person standing for something that drives that crucial change. Changing bandages every 3 hours, or sitting 4 hours bagging a patient to give them that chance to recover. Sometimes its even smaller, just checking a temperature, or spending 10 minutes reading can make a difference.

I am a vet student, I am very lucky to be here, and one day I will be great. However I came from nothing, everyday I appreciate every single thing I have, every single thing I’ve achieved, and every single life that I’ve impacted in some positive way.

My goal is to be extroadinary, to push boundaries, and to improve the lives of animals. With that I can go to sleep soundly, even if I am to be woken shortly with a call to help.

I am a vet student, I don’t have a social life, I am proud, and I chose this way of life because I can make a difference.

A bull in the room…

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Best Pet Hair Remover

One of the things here that is a little strange is that a lot of the lecturers also have private clinics in the local area. Whilst this lowers the number of patients being seen at the university it does mean that it is possible to see several different styles of medicine being practiced.

This week has been pretty hectic for me and I managed to go all week(well since Monday) without seeing a single surgery. For me it’s almost like withdrawal, i start to get cravings as it just feels like real medicine and a reminder of why i am here. During andrology our doctor mentioned that he had a mammary gland tumor resection and i was like a fish on a hook.

Before we go there lets talk about todays andrology class, as I’ve said andrology is all about the male reproductive organs. So today was all about the collection and examination of semen from a bull. This is pretty interesting as when a bull mounts a cow they ejaculate pretty quickly. Our lesson actually started with us watching this happen; sometimes i am still amazed when walking into classrooms with massive animals in. For this class there are metal pillars set into the floor for us to stand behind, in the UK at least not many places keep bulls because they are so dangerous, and apparently as a young inexperienced bull even more so i really was glad of this little bit of protection.

After the collection of the sample (apparently enough to inseminate 100+ cows) we moved to the lab where we performed the examination which included staining to distinguish between the live and dead.

After class i then met with the doctor to go to his private clinic for his surgery. I was impressed as it looked pretty recently constructed, and though being a relatively small space still had a lot fitted in. Within the university a lot of relatively simple stuff takes a long time with so many students so it was a breath of fresh air to see so many patients so quickly and effectively. This continued with the surgery using a basic triple combo anesthetic, good monitoring, and the patient recovering uneventfully.

Today i finished my day by having food with some friends. Though it was not such a crazy day this was the first food I managed to have today so was very well recieved!