13 Weeks of Vet School… (Day 117)

Required Reading from first semester of vet school

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Something that has been my mantra of vet school so far is it is the quantity of information that I have needed to learn rather than the complexity (jinxed myself for next semester now!). Over the past semester my time has been very limited as its been stressful trying to balance fundraising for next semester with actually studying, revising and passing exams. So without further ado, lets put it all into context…

Required Reading from first semester of vet school
First semester of vet school required memorising!

Obviously this is a considerable amount over the 13 weeks, with a minimum of 30 hours a week in lectures and practicals I decided to try and break down my average week over the first semester. Depending on exams the amout of extra study per week did vary considerably.

There are 168 hours in a week
Minus 56 (8 hours a night) hours sleep = 112
Minus 30 hours scheduled practicals/lectures = 82
Minus 11 hours between lectures writting up notes = 71
Minus 3 hours a day for travelling, shopping, food + showering = 50
Minus 6 hours anatomy self study, 3 hours histology self study = 41
Minus avg 3 hours reading, revision & further study per subject (24 hours week) = 17
*** Minus whatever left doing diary, writting emails, and looking for funding = 0

*** – Depending on the urgency for grant applications or letter writting I did sacrifice study time to fundraising.

Anyways, onto what I am supposed to know now…

Anatomy
Was definately one of my most demanding subjects with a credit test every single week. During the 13 weeks the entire skeleton, all the muscles, joints and ligaments for the 7 major animals (Cow, Horse, Sheep, Goat, Pig, Dog, Cat) were covered. Whilst having similar bones and muscles there are differences in the shapes, size, attachment points and ligaments between species which all need to be known.

Histology
There were 3 credit tests this semester which involved being able to identify an organ by looking at its tissue and cell structure under the microscope in addition to knowing the function and normal structure. In the 13 weeks I covered epithelium, connective tissue, supporting tissue, blood, muscle tissue, nervous tissue, cardiovascular tissue, lympthatic system, endocrine system and the nervous system (whooo try reading that list out loud!).

Physiology
One of the most practical subjects with plenty of laboratory tests covered. This looked at the different body systems, their normal function and diagnostic tests associated with them. It included blood, nervous system, cardiovascular system,  respiratory system, urinary system, immune system, digestive system, physiology of birds, metabolism. The practical sessions looked at different laboratory tests for each body system with around 25 different tests just for looking at blood!

Microbiology
One of my favourite subjects of the week this was a refresher to and built upon Microbiology in my previous degree. It included bacteria classification, identification, morphology, structure, reproduction, growth, distribution, genetics, plasmids, mutations, and horizontal transfer of genetic information. The practical sessions included a ton of different culture mediums, special staining methods, testing metabolic activity, molecular techniques such as PCR, and bacterial resistance.

Immunology
The most intense subject nearly drowning me in infomation, its a single book of 122 pages, however the depth of the lectures was extensive and I used two textbooks to help me out here. The 6 year program has this subject over 13 weeks, where as we had everything crammed into the space of just 5 weeks so the practical time also went to lecture which I didn’t really like as I am an active learner. We covered antigens & antibodies, innate immunity, adaptive immunity, immune response, immune mediators, complement system, pathogenic mechanisms, serology, immunofluorescence, elisa, phagocytosis, lymphocytes, bacterial diagnosis, and hypersensitivity.

Genetics
Ok I have a love/hate relationship with genetics; the practicals are usually very interesting and highly practical (I got to take bone marrow from a cow!) yet the lectures are very indepth and intense. Topics covered included genetic material, cell divisions, genetic analysis, pedigree analysis, chromosomes, sex and abnormalities, blood groups, inheritance, karyotyping, chromosomal abnormalities, genetic protection in breeding, genotype frequencies, mutagens and cancerogenes, gene mapping and GMO. Genetics involves a lot of maths which is a good thing, however the amount of information is staggering with 3 textbooks being given as additional reading to the 130 pages in the course text.

Milk Hygiene
Another topic that I did enjoy was milk hygiene, basically if you think about everything you know about milk and then every product ever made from milk this is what it covered. The most memorable moment was when we accidently set butter on fire in the lab! Now this semester we covered milking procedure & equipment, legal requirements, butter, cheese (cow/sheep/goat), cream, yougurt, icecream, diseases of milk, microbiology of milk, components of milk, sheep milk, goat milk, pastuerisation, sterilisation. And in the practical sessions we covered all the different tests that were used in quality control of milk and milk products and the tests used to ensure milk is safe for human consumption.

Slovak Language & Latin
Both of these languages are very different to english (they use things like genders for words etc) and language has never been a particulary strong point for me. With Latin I now know enough to describe most medical problems, and with Slovak can have basic conversations, shop and order food. I do still prefer English though!!!

Now with 13 weeks gone, I have passed some exams however still have the big 3 (Genetics, Anatomy, and Milk Hygiene) to go. In addition I am also working furiously to try and raise the additional £1700 for tuition I need to continue studying next semester!

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The end of Slovak Language… (Day 93)

It really is cold when fast flowing water freezes

You really can tell winter is here, there’s been snow on the ground for the past week or so now and the temperature is generally in the minus figures. Its beautiful, yet just shows me how I need to get some proper winter boots instead of my trainers and maybe a winter coat. We think its cold, however we’ve been warned that this is just the start and that it is expected to get so much colder before it gets warmer again. The fast flowing water on the way to uni (I think its a storm drain or something) has been frozen for the past few days…

It really is cold when fast flowing water freezesToday is my last day of Slovak Language, and the day of the exam, I am a little bit nervous as I have never been good at written exams due to my dyslexia and especially when I am getting marked on my spelling. Todays exam however went ok with filling in the missing pronouns into sentances in Slovak, the most difficult part was the possesive pronouns.

Similarily to Latin the Slovak language also uses gender with its words, with different words and endings depending on if you are talking about a male, female or in general. This part of the test meant reading the sentance to work out which it should be and then putting the correct word.

The test then finished with the translation of some english words into Slovak which was kind of interesting. Ever since my previous failure of a language experience in the clinic I have been making as much effort as possible to learn as many words as I can especially related to animals. I am getting there slowly and surely and this module has been a great introduction for me.

Todays test score was around 95% meaning that I achience an A in this test! Whoooop! Now back to revision for Anatomy tommorow…

Some surgery and the results of Latin… (Day 65)

Cat dental examination anaesthetised veterinary surgical unit

This morning one of my classmates had a exploratory dental scheduled for her cat (you might have seen him on my Twitter feed when I was catsitting). Over the past 10 days I’ve spent a lot of time with this cat at the vet clinic on campus after he suffered massive rapid weightloss trying to find the cause. This cat is FIV/FeLV positive, with a haematocrit of just 18% (read about this more in Day 21 blood composition). Narrowing it down to a problem eating because of tonsilitis and inflammation of the mouth in addition to a lower urinary tract infection has taken Urinanlysis (looking at Urine), Blood Test, Ultrasound, Cystocentesis (taking urine from the bladder with a needle through the abdomen) for a microbiology culture. Now after a course of antibiotics to treat the infection, he was scheduled to have dental radiographs (x-rays) and examination of the teeth and jaw under anaesthesia.

Now this was my first visit to the surgical center on campus so I was kinda excited to get stuck in, yet nervous with the cat’s age for the anaesthetic as it would have devastated my friend to whom he is family. Now we have a dental specialist here who examined the jaw, did the xray and took a tissue section from the back of the jaw for histological examination. Being students we get in to watch, however on this occasion we also got to monitor breathing and recovery which was pretty cool. Here is a picture I snapped whilst the radiographs were being developed.

Cat dental examination anaesthetised veterinary surgical unitOne of the most important things during anaesthesia is the regulation of body temperature is compromised, on the table a soft warm fleece blanket was used to keep him warm, and during recovery a heat lamp was also used. He came round very well when the antidote was administered and has improved futher since, all that remains now is to wait 5 days for the results of the histological examination of the tissue sample taken from his mouth.

Anyways back to the regular day, its Wednesday and the day of language.  Whilst I appreciate how important language is after last Thursday, learning how to have a converstaion with waiter in a resturant is not going to help me when it comes to animals over here. And with Latin, whilst Slovak Law still says its a requirement for prescriptions to be written in Latin, there are very few other times where I am actually going use it.

Today in Latin we got our results from last weeks credit test, quite a few failed with me being one of them. I got 18.5 when I needed 21 to pass so not far off however some of the intricacies of the Declension system (which affects the ending of the word) still escape me. Now this would be fine, however we are now studying Greek words which are part of medical latin terminology yet the declensions do not apply to these words. Now instead of just identifying the declension the word uses it is also necessary to recognise it as either Latin or Greek.

I’m not sure if I have meantioned this before but this combination has come about because whilst Rome was stronger with military, Greece had greater culture and was stronger intellectually. So when the Romans invaded they started using Greek schools and universities to learn, and the Greeks also started opening academies to teach in Rome as well.

Anyways, I now have to learn my muscles for tommorow, so I will leave it there for today! Remember even if you cannot help sponsor me financially, just sharing my diary with the share buttons below really does help as you may be the person that connects with someone that can!