This evening as I am studying in Slovakia I was invited to attend the BSAVA International Delegates reception at the Birmingham National Aquarium. Now I’ve been meaning to visit this aquarium for the past two years however have never managed to get around to it so was really looking forward to this evenings event (and hoping it included a chance to look around). On entering I noticed it was not what I expected as instead of being a set of rooms, there is a walkway through what are themed zones based on areas of the world. In addition something else that was really interesting was instead of just having an underwater tunnel with viewing above the tunnel enclosed a walkway allowing the watching of fish underneath so you are completely surrounded by them.
I liked the way that this was set out, and with diseases of fish this semester I am coming to understand a lot more about the different species, and their adaptations which I find has made previously beautiful creatures also very interesting. Obviously pretty things relax the mind, however I now know for example that flatfish swim on either their left or right side (yes they actually have a preference). It is slightly worrying as when looking at the fish pushing its head out the water I did wonder if its something to do with that species, if its something it has learned to do, or if it is related to the environment?
One of the aims of Birmingham National Aquarium is the conservation of the sea turtles, and this is the first time I’ve come across this and actually seen an alive leatherback sea turtle. In addition to this they have a 4D cinema showing a Turtle conservation film with special effects including wind, water and special moving seats. They recently had success in breeding and hatching 12 new baby sea turtles who are now around a year old…
To talk now about something else that I find fascinating I want to mention jellyfish, these are amazing animals with the ability to live even without a brain, heart or bones. There were a lot of different jellyfish here so I will follow-up later a diary entry just on jellyfish, for now I will just leave you with this picture…
For the next few days I am at BSAVA Congress, one of the biggest veterinary events held in the UK at the International Convention Centre and National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Sitting down this morning to my first lecture I was hit by deja vu as my first lecture was in the same room as the closing ceremony was held last year so it was almost as if no time had passed at all. This year as well as attending as many lectures as I can I do have meetings scheduled with some of my sponsors, in addition to looking to secure some new sponsors over the 4 days. Also something I am looking forward to is putting faces to some of the twitter accounts that I have been tweeting with over the past few months.
This morning I started with a lecture on problems with wound healing which was very interesting. I did tweet about wounds healing faster in dogs than in cats – quite a few people asked why this is and I will find out for you all I’ve just not managed to grab the speaker yet to ask! It was a really interesting lecture for me as though I’ve seen some stuff in practice being in a real world lecture where the owner influence of the case comes into play. With wounds they never look pretty and as the speaker said the owner when bringing the animal in expects them to be closed. When we talk about wounds there are different techniques for healing, and sometimes depending on the wound and where it is the best treatment is to keep it clean and let it heal naturally. Either completely or until it reaches a stage where surgical intervention is beneficial to the healing process – this however does not look nice and especially as an owner may seem cruel and that it is not getting any better. Personally I would recommend that as an owner you keep a weekly photo diary of this so that you can see the chance as healing progresses as when you see it each day the change is so subtle you may not notice it.
After this lecture I attended some feline dentistry lectures which I found really interesting, basically the way the curriculum is structured next year veterinary dentistry is actually a selective module for me and I have to choose between it or ophthalmology. Basically at the moment I think I will be doing the ophthalmology as there is a veterinary dentistry course with an expert teacher that I am looking at doing when I qualify.
This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Professor Richard Dawkins on whether Darwinism had a place within veterinary medicine (sorry for the snap, was so excited that I just had to grab a photo here!)… This was a very interesting lecture which left me with much food for thought, including as Professor Dawkins put it stuff “that is politically incorrect and we are not allowed to say”. Sometimes remembering the basis of life, the Darwin theories and how with medicine we can intervene is a really scary thing…
Well today’s diary entry is only going be short, I am actually writing this one from the ICC in Birmingham where the BSAVA Congress 2013 is being held! Today I travelled from Cambridge (will publish yesterdays diary entry with my visit to the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology later) up to Birmingham via Peterborough.
To be honest usually I don’t really complain much however I feel that Cross Country trains deserve a mention here. My negative experience with them started when I tried to book tickets with them and they tried charging me a fee to collect them at the train station (most other train operators do this free). I booked with another company to avoid this, however arriving at Peterborough at 9:30 this morning the boards were showing my train had been cancelled. Heading up to information I found this was due to staffing issues so had an hour stuck in Peterborough.
Anyways the worst part of this finally came when boarding the train a wheelchair user was trying to get off, however Cross country staff were too busy loading a refreshment trolley onto the train to assist them or get them a ramp. It is my opinion from my experience that Cross country cares more about making a profit than actually serving its customers. Sometimes things cannot be helped however forcing a wheelchair user to risk tipping over leaving a train because of a lack of common decency is not one of them. I will be doing everything I can to avoid using cross country trains again!
Other than that, once I arrived into Birmingham I had a rather long walk around the city center as I’ve never had time here to explore before! Tomorrow morning is the start of BSAVA Congress 2013 and I am excited as!!!