Nutrition and some Clinical Diagnostics (Day 379)

Sheep and Goat Clinical Diagnostics

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Hooligans

Well today is again long with my 8am lecture then practical finishing at 7pm however at least we get to be hands on with (grumpy and tired) animals during this practical. Last week we looked at basic restraint and this week we looked at taking vital signs. I’m ok on horses and small animals but trying to count the respiration(breathing) rate of a sheep and goat caused me a little difficulty. These animals are all ruminants so they have stomach movements which are easy to get confused and you have to be able to count this rate before touching the animal. This is because when you start to touch an animal the stress rate increases which in turn causes the respiratory rate to increase as well.

Sheep and Goat Clinical Diagnostics

In between the clinical diagnostics lecture and practical we have our animal nutrition practical. Like I spoke about last week this semester it is more applied and so focused on what and how much to feed different animals at different life stages. Next week we’ll be moving onto computer software that does the calculations part for us, however we’ve been warned its in Slovak and so it’s something that we’ll probably never use again in our lives once this module is over.

Anyways I am finding the tables pretty interesting as you break the calculations down into stages of what the animal needs, then what the animal can get from forages (grasses) and then how to make up the excess from concentrates. It’s definitely a very useful skill to have and one I believe will come in very handy in future once I reach practice (very scary that is is just 3 years away!).

Escaping my birthday… (Day 219)

Hlavna (main street) in the sun in Kosice, Slovakia

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Webinars

Well today was my birthday, if it wasn’t for facebook I would have got away with skipping it. Not only am I 26, however in Slovakia (and in fact a lot of Eastern Europe) you lose eligibility to student discounts when you turn 26. This means that the trams have just doubled in price for me from 25 cents up to 50 cents, along with losing discounted entry to various attractions. This evening I had a quite meal out in town which was pretty awesome (my favourite Italian restaurant) with quite a few people from my class! Especially when the weather is like this and all the restaurants here have tables in the street…

Hlavna (main street) in the sun in Kosice, SlovakiaBefore this however today felt long, it started at 8am this morning with a look at bumblebee’s and how the different types of bee’s are used. We then looked at the different treatment options for diseases in bee’s along with the application of treatment to bee’s. Surprisingly it (at least in theory) is easier to administer antibiotics to bee’s than it is to cats which is pretty cool. There are different options from setting a drug saturated strip on fire within the hive to placing strips where the bee’s will come into contact with them.

We then had fish where it was about parasitic infections which is one of the common problems with fish. We then had physiology with a rescheduled Animal Nutrition practical after it so after starting at 8am we finished around 6pm this evening…

Looking at crude fat (ether extract)… (Day 187)

Animal Nutrition Ether Extract Continuous Extraction of Crude Fat

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Spikes World Wildlife Food

Another Friday, this one marking the end of week 5, its amazing how fast time is going and how little it feels I have achieved. Every spare moment I get is going into finishing Emergency First Aid for Animals, when I sat down and started this I had no clue how big the task would actually be. I am a perfectionist however I also realise that sometimes it’s is a case of balancing perfection with getting things done – in this instance however I am taking the route of caution to make sure that I can back up everything in the book with solid medical fact to ensure the best outcome for cases that follow it.

Anyways onto today, we spent nutrition today looking at the crude fat portion of feed, this is commonly thought of as the fat portion of the sample. This however is a gross simplification as in fact this portion contains organic acids (Essential Fatty Acids), oils, alcohols and the important fat soluble vitamins. Fats are important within the body as they act as electron carriers, substrate carriers in enzymatic reactions, components of biological membranes and as stores of energy.

In fact in obese animals around 97% of adipose tissue is composed of fat storing energy, lipids also help give structure to muscle and have an impact on cholesterol.

Animal Nutrition Ether Extract Continuous Extraction of Crude FatNow the fat potion of the sample is solvent soluble, so the sample is continuously extracted using diethyl ether which dissolves the fat in the sample. Using the apparatus in the image above the ether is in the bottom beaker (which is weighed when it is empty) which is heated, it then evaporates as gas before the condenser (at the top) cools it and it collects as liquid in the middle sample chamber. It stays in the sample chamber (in the middle with the paper sample filter) until it reaches a critical level it then it is returned to the bottom beaker. This process is repeated for around 6 hours or overnight to ensure all the fat is dissolved in the solvent. Once this is done the sample chamber is removed and the ether collected to be reused and removed by distillation – when a miniscule amount remains the bottom beaker is then dried in a vacuum oven and cooled in a desiccator. The bottom beaker is then weighed and the difference in the new weight – the starting weight is the amount of crude fat in the sample.