Last exam and the end of the vet school year…

Vet school Parasitology

I’ve never worked so hard in my life, had so many sleepless nights, and felt so utterly lost and without hope in my life. Someone once said that it was the getting in that was the easy part of vet school. After spending the past week fighting the massive urge to curl up in the corner, sleep and forget about everything today I managed to pass parasitology.

This subject has been hell for me, with the Latin species names, the sizes and the pure quantity of information it has been a never ending cycle of learning one thing to forget it after studying the next thing going round completely in circles.

My brain is mushed, my legs don’t seem to be connected to it anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I had a proper meal…

Upside is the year is over, 5th year starts on the 21st September and I am so excited, just about another 700 days of this vet school lark to go!

With that I am going find food…

A little bit on foot and mouth disease… (Day 519)

Preserved parasitology specimen fasciola hepatica from 1756

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Vet School Statement Review

 So today we started epizootology which is the science of the spread of diseases between animals. Depending on the way it is taught it could be really interesting or really dull, today we started the lecture watching a rather old video on foot and mouth disease in cattle. This was interesting as it was produced after the 1967 epidemic, and basically predicted another outbreak which happened with the major foot and mouth outbreak in 2001. The rest of the lecture went to going over different terminology.

We have a practical session straight after with the group doubled up so all 23 of us are in a single class. Because of this there is no room in the normal labs so we got moved to the infectious diseases building. This is basically a mini fenced in compound within the university campus where the really dangerous diseases are treated or diagnosed. The practical session was another lecture on health and safety and ways to clean contaminated areas.

After this I then had my parasites practical, we’ve got a different teacher this semester and I found the style of teaching to be a lot better for me to follow along. We’ve now started looking at the worm families with today going to the trematodes which are the flat-worms and includes probably one of the most famous parasites fasciola hepatica which is otherwise known as liver fluke. What I especially find interesting are that many of the sample specimens we have to work with here are amazing preserved, this specimen was prepared in 1756 so is 258 years old!

EDIT: I have been informed that the label on the bottle is in fact referencing the person that first described this parasite. It was described in Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus a Swedish scientist responsible for much of the naming methods of living things today.

Preserved parasitology specimen fasciola hepatica from 1756

Starting Falconry and Wildlife Rehabilitation… (Day 518)

Examination of a wild pine martin in wildlife rehabilitation

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Hooligans

So today was another early start with pathophysiology at 7:15 which is one of my favourite subjects as it is so logical and actually answers my “why” questions when it comes to pathological processes within the body. At the moment it is the cardiac system that we are studying. Anyways today I want to talk about something slightly more exciting for me as it is a field I am very interested in entering after I graduate.

I started my Falconry and Wildlife Rehabilitation elective today, I am very lucky as the university has one of the best avian vets in the world as chief of the exotics clinical department and he is the one taking this course. The session today started with some theory around the start of falconry and the legislation and laws when it comes to wild animals here in Slovakia along with the difference between population and individual conservation.

Paraphrasing some of the class here quickly without any references or own research apparently falconry started out of need rather than sport. A long time ago in colder countries when food was very scarce in the winter someone noticed that the path of migratory birds was overhead. They then noticed that falcons killed and fed on the smaller birds so managed to trap a falcon. Keeping this bird hungry when the migratory birds flew overhead they released it and so it brought some of these migratory birds to ground allowing the man to eat. From this time falcons became a sought after bird as they allowed the household to eat through the winter, and so became of great value and the techniques for training were further developed.

After this time of need, it then became a hunting sport much later, with strict rules on training and entry into the “hunters guild” at least in Slovakia. We were then taught the post-mortem technique for these birds, and practiced this on several birds that had been found dead recently to look for a cause of death. We then had a wild pine martin in that had been rescued from a garden for a clinical exam to check the health.

Examination of a wild pine martin in wildlife rehabilitation

After this I had my parasitology lecture, followed by a general surgery practical which we spent watching videos of different ways to restrain animals.