The start of semester 2 of year 2… (day 516)

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Spikes World

So today was the start of my second semester of my second year of vet school here in Slovakia. To be honest it was a pretty slow start with a lecture for pharmacology at 7:15 in the morning, a big massive gap until a pharmacology practical at 1pm and then Clinical diagnostics lecture at 3. Luckily I managed to find some stuff to occupy the gap as I am organising a student conference in March for Emergency and Critical Care.

Pharmacology is the study of drug action on the body which is also known as pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Today we started looking at antibiotics again, it seems that there is a lot of repetition between subjects which is giving me a lot more confident that by the time I graduate that I will remember stuff.

So this semester is my 4th semester here, and is looking to be the toughest so far. This semester I start several new subjects:

  • Pathological Anatomy – The physical effects of disease, injury, or malfunction of the body. Basically everything needed for post mortem, and for when it comes to surgery to be able to know whats wrong and whats right and why.
  • Epizootology – This is basically infectious diseases mixed in with some epidemiology.
  • Food Hygiene – Basically everything about food, from eggs through to cows this subject basically looks at a lot of meat stuff including slaughter methods and abattoir inspection.
  • General Surgery and Anaesthesia – This is the start of my official surgical training, basically going be covering a lot of theory from what I have heard.
  • Falconry and Wildlife Rehab – Exactly what it says in the name! An extra optional subject I am picking up as I believe it is a very important topic!

So with that the ones I am looking forward to most are Pathological Anatomy and General Surgery! I will report back when it comes to them later in the week!

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!).

Starting Clinical Diagnostics, and a little nutrition… (Day 372)

Vet School Clinical Diagnostics

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pets Bureau

Well second day of my second year, yesterday though long absolutely flew by, I’m also spending some time with one of the doctors this week doing some reproductive practice. Basically with animals it is now more common to use artificial insemination to breed selectively for optimal results, part of this looking for ovulation when the ovary releases the follicle(egg)  into the uterus (womb). This means that at the moment I am basically with the doctor every 7 hours to check the status of the ovary – this is a pretty big (and interesting) topic so I will write more about it separately soon!

Anyways back to my official programme… Today I started the Clinical Diagnostics module which is kind of interesting as these are the essential skills of being a vet, and one of the topics where I’ve not found a single textbook covering it all. I’ve done a little bit in the past, and have gained a lot more skills here during my study and practice in the summer as well so today kind of was a recap of stuff I already knew, however I was looking forward to the practice session which was later this evening.

Between this though I had a large gap before my Pharmacy and Therapeutics which I used to check the horse ovaries again. Making it into Pharmacy 7 Therapeutics now I realise that though it is essential to understand some stuff, a lot of it is specific to Slovakia, and hence once I graduate will not be of use to me. However the interesting part of it is that available drugs are controlled on a country basis with each country having an official pharmacopoeia which is a big manual of drugs. Basically drugs are even further restricted within the UK with something known as the cascade which is managed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. This means that every option has to be exhausted before a drug that is not approved for the species can be used (including for the use of drugs developed for humans). It really is something I will be having to read up myself before coming back to the UK to practice.

Now following this we started Nutrition, as I said yesterday we are looking at applied nutrition so how to calculate what and how much to feed to specific animals. We’ve started with dairy cows (which I luckily happen to know a little bit about) where the goal with nutrition is to get the best milk production possible. If you remember last year I studied Milk Hygiene where milk quality is based on the amount of milk fat and protein content within the milk. In addition to the owner the quantity of milk is also important. Now nothing appears from nowhere so these are both affected by what the cow eats so we need to ensure that the protein in the milk is replaced in the cow through the protein in the feed (otherwise we will get a very malnourished cow pretty quickly).

To start this process we need to determine how much protein, energy and nutrients (milk has a lot of calcium and phosphate) that the cow actually needs to produce the milk whilst maintaining its body condition. This is easier than it sounds as we have very good guidelines produced by the National Research Council which are compiled from large research surveys. So once we have this we then have to look at the types of feed, balancing this however is a different matter and definitely something I will also cover separately later as well.

This evening my last practice starting at 5:25 and finishing at 7pm was clinical diagnostics, this was interesting as walking into the room we were greeted by two cows, a sheep, a goat, and two dogs. The practical today was working with the animals, how to restrain them for exam and then percussion and auscultation. These are something that I will try and cover later as well as I am pretty much over my word count today with my rambling!

Vet School Clinical Diagnostics