Visiting the hospital and calculating the mineral content of feed (Day 173)

Ash portion of feed in dessicator after incineration in muffle furnace

Today’s Diary Entry sponsored by CarPET Pet Hair Remover

Well this morning I went to my hospital appointment, half hoping that she would do the surgery today. I arrived at the hospital at 8am and was straight into radiography (x-ray) which was interesting as it involved broken Latin and gesturing to get me into the position she wanted. Anyways this was interesting as it was still manually developed so I got handed a film still dripping wet from the tank and told to take it back upstairs. After delivering this, I was sent to another floor to photocopy my European health insurance card and had fun trying to explain I needed 2 copies when she tried to give me one. I was then back up and sent to another floor to pay 1 euro for my anaesthetic drug (in this case sudracain). Anyways after all this I was called into the surgery where I was then told that there was not time to do my surgery today as they did not have a kit prepared. I was told to come back at 8am Monday morning with the intention of being back at uni at 9:45am for my histology practical.

Anyways today I got back to uni in time for my animal nutrition practical which was based around the mineral content of feed stuff. Basically within food you have the moisture portion which you can remove by drying leaving you the dry matter portion which is where all the goodness is (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins etc). Now looking at chemistry the only things in this group that are not carbon based are the vitamins and minerals. This basically means that we can “burn” the feed stuff and the remains that will be left behind as white ash are the vitamins and minerals. Burning is done in a special muffle furnace at a temperature of 400 degrees until just a white powder with no black dots is left! This is then weighed and the percentage of vitamins and minerals determined by calculating the weight loss of the sample.

Ash portion of feed in dessicator after incineration in muffle furnaceIn the microbiology practical today we were looking at Salmonella which is split into 2 species (S. enterica and S. bongori). Now S. enterica is further broken down into 6 subspecies which then contain thousands of serotypes. For example the species S. enterica subspc. enterica contains around 2400 different serotypes depending on their combinations of O and H antigens. Now salmonella is responsible for many different diseases including septicaemia and can cause abortions with the ability to also replicate within macrophages.

Vet School Microbiology Gram Stain of SalmonellaToday really has been a long day, and hopefully if I can get the pain from my tooth under control I will be able to get a lot of work done on my Emergency First Aid for Animals book this weekend.

Animal Nutrition, and the start of Special Bacteriology (Day 159)

Gram Negative Bacteria - Pseudomonas aeruginosa gram stain under the microscope

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Scampers Pet Shop

The end of week 1 of semester 2, this week has literally flown by and I am honestly not sure where my time has vanished too! Its been interesting as now instead of just looking at structures we are getting introduced into the things that cause diseases and how to treat them! Fundraising is starting to go well however I did struggle to fit everything I needed to do into this week.

Today I started a new topic in Animal Nutrition which will be spread over two semesters, and the next stage of microbiology – special bacteriology – which looks at specific disease causing bacteria each week. Now Animal Nutrition is basically looking at how food is used by an animal for energy to fuel the body processes and to promote health (physiologically it is split across structural, energetic and reserve functions). Within cats for example excessive vitamin A intake during pregnancy can cause the kittens to be born missing the palatine bone (cleft palate) which means they cannot form a vacuum and so cannot feed from their mom.

The introduction basically looked at the different components of food which looks something like this.

  • FOOD
    • Water
    • Dry Matter
      • Organic
        • Carbohydrates
        • Lipids
        • Proteins
        • Nucleic acids
        • Vitamins
      • Inorganic
        • Minerals

Obviously you can see from this that most of the nutritional value of food comes from the dry matter, this is why it is such a problem when supermarkets etc add extra water to their food products to increase the weight and charge more. Enough of that for today though.

Starting special bacteriology today there are a few words that I am always going remember that went something like this…

This semester you will be looking at different pathogenic bacteria in the laboratory, we only have a level 2 lab on the university campus so some of the bacteria you will read about only as it is too dangerous for our lab. about 30 minutes later Nesseria meningitidis is especially nasty as one day you go to work, the next day you are dead.

To be honest I am kinda glad that I am not in a lab working with N. meningitidis, I don’t mind working with dangerous stuff when I need to, but playing with something so deadly just to see what it looks like is not logical to me. Anyways back to today’s bacteria and we looked at the pseudomonadaceae, burkholderiaceae, neisseriaceae and legionellaceae families of bacteria in the theory lecture. In the lab however we only looked at pseudomonadaceae which can be classed as either pathogenic or non-pathogenic depending on the ability to destroy body tissues.

Gram Negative Bacteria - Pseudomonas aeruginosa gram stain under the microscope
Gram stain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa under the microscope with red staining rods

There are loads of different species of Pseudomonas not all of which cause disease and several that are opportunistic and only cause disease when they are given a chance by other things (aka cuts/weak immune system/stress etc).