Happy Birthday to me from Eickemeyer… (Day 581)

So today is my birthday, the second one I have spent here in Slovakia yet today has been made special with a surprise birthday present from Eickemeyer

Birthday parcel from EickemeyerSo this morning I had an early start so got to university to find the classroom door locked and the lights off… Seems my class was cancelled and somehow this escaped my attention. It wasn’t all bad though as I ended up spending the morning and early afternoon with the plastic surgeon which was pretty cool as I am starting to learn stuff which is way above what vet students normally get taught. After this I then had my general surgery practical which was on suture techniques for hollow organs and tendons which was pretty cool.

Now after all this was over I finally got back to my birthday parcel, opening it up I found I had a box of Eickcoll which is a head collar/cone to stop animals removing sutures along with bandage material, pens and a new t-shirt!

Present from EickemeyerUnderneath this however was a second smaller box, now for some reason I always that the really cool stuff is always in the smaller box…

The small box in the big boxIn this case it really proved true with this being inside this smaller box…

Eickemeyer Surtron electrosurgery unitOk so looks very pretty doesn’t it?!? But what does it do???

This is a electrosurgery machine, if you have ever watched a medical show such as ER, or Grays you will have seen one used as this is nicknamed the “bovie” (as it was invented by physicist William Bovie and neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing). It’s a machine that uses electricity both to coagulate vessels to stop bleeding, and can also be used to cut through tissues as well! Originally they were giant (unreliable) machines, now however its a small computer controlled box that allows an exact charge to be applied making them perfect for delicate work.

Now during BSAVA Congress in the Avian Medicine and Surgery lectures this was listed as an essential piece of equipment for anyone doing avian (bird) surgery because when you deal with a small 50g bird the maximum “safe” blood loss is a total of around 0.35ml. With electrosurgery (or radiotherapy as its properly called) equipment like this you can control and minimize the bleeding during surgery and so improve the outcome for the patient.

Hopefully I will be able to put this to good use over the next few years as I am hoping to do my thesis into minimally invasive surgery in exotic patients!

End of the week, time for sleep (Day 576)

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Webinars

I really am exhausted now, today I just have a general surgery lecture and tons of catching up on reading that I missed last week whilst I was away! I also need to go in twice today to do my wound cleaning on my rabbit patient. The wound is looking great and there is loads of eating, drinking and pooping as well so for the moment I am very happy. I think I will be removing the drain on Monday as well!

Buffy the Rabbit

When I am exhausted and get a moment I like to just sit down and relax, and one of my favourite places to do this is with the horses. So I was sitting here when I was asked if I could monitor a short anaesthetic for the removal of a growth from a dogs lip. Now the pulse-ox had flat batteries so I basically became the all in one monitoring machine so the doctor could concentrate on the surgery. This surgery went perfect and the patient was awake and walking out just a short  30 minutes later.

Now I intend to get some sleep!

Going back to rabbit surgery… When it gets bloody (Day 574)

Today’s Diary entry is sponsored by Pet Hooligans

Well today I am exhausted, the travel is catching up with me as I’ve not a chance to sleep properly yet with early classes both days. Today has been a rectors day which is when classes are cancelled because of the student conference where students present their research. Most of this is in Slovak so is simply not accessible to me so I decided to make it a clinic day instead.

My day started with restraining rabbits for blood samples which left me with massive scratches up my arm. After this we had a kestrel brought in by a member of the public that had found it, because it was shown symptoms we decided to do a blood test to look for West Nile Virus which is becoming a growing problem in birds here.

Rescue Kestrel with suspected West Nile Virus

I then did the autopsy of a rat that had died after a femoral artery anastomosis, I was looking at the surgical site and possible signs of thrombus (a clot moving to other parts of the body).

I then went to take the sutures out of the rabbit that became my surgical patient last week, and found that there had been wound breakdown which hadn’t been noted whilst I was away. For some reason here every single electronic device I have got a flat battery however I took the rabbit back into surgery to do a further skin resection.

Now although theoretically a simpler surgery it got a lot more interesting when I cut and the rabbit started to bleed. I know the theory around haemostasis (control of bleeding) yet this was the first time I needed to do so. My mouth went dry, my heart started racing and I was worried for a moment even though I knew there were no major vessels in the area I was cutting. I got the bleeding under control and then continued, another lesson learned and instantly more cautious about what I was cutting.

Finishing the up the resection I removed a lemon shaped section of tissue nearly 3cm wide, so with such a large hole considered my options for closing the skin. In this case I decided to place subcutaneous sutures between the skin and muscle layer to relieve tension before I then closed the incision with simple interrupted sutures. I have to say that my suturing is getting a lot better and faster, the suture line was evenly spaced, skin had good opposition and my tails were short.

I also decided to place a drain fashioned from a latex glove exiting through a opening below my suture line because of the amount of dead space. I’ve now got the next 10 days of post-op care twice daily to ensure that this wound heals correctly…