Sheep scanning, and a lump…

Sheep pregnancy ultrasound scan of fetus

One of the reasons I love this university is how practical it is, and how you are pushed to think for yourself. We were left with a bull calf with a large lump on its neck and told to come up with a diagnosis in diseases of ruminants this morning.

This was a very large lump almost the size of a basketball hanging below the jaw on the right side. Now when dealing with lumps it is important to consider the location in relation to the structures that anatomically occur in that area. Then it is how the lump feels, and what it is attached to. Considering what diseases can affect that area of the body. Sometimes it is worth looking at a ultrasound scan of the lump, or taking a biopsy from it to examine in pathology.

The lump on this bull however is most likely from trauma and a massive haematoma which is like a bruise. All this blood had collected inside a capsule under the skin.

The afternoon we headed out to the farm for a reproduction practical – it is always interesting on these trips as we rarely know where we are going or what we are going to be doing. When we got there we found that we were ultrasounding sheep and goats for the diagnosis of pregnancy.

We ended up on a farm with a large number of sheep and goats, we set up the ultrasound machine and got started. Apparently once we are qualified we don’t get the time to play with ultrasounding fetuses and have to decide within seconds whether the animal is pregnant or not. Today however we had the time to look properly, and attempt to find the different parts of the fetus. It was actually even possible to find the heartbeat of the fetus on the ultrasound along with the different organs.

Normally though when ultrasounding for pregnancy we take any sign of pregnancy as a positive pregnancy – this can be the cotyledons (attachment of placenta to uterus), the amniotic sac, or part of the fetus. Once we see this we mark the animal as pregnant and move onto the next, usually this occurs at the same time as milking to reduce any stress to the animal.

Sheep pregnancy ultrasound scan of fetus

The image above is of the fetus of a goat inside its mother who is very pregnant.

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!).