What is an vet school anatomy test like, the Kidneys, and riding (Day 185)

Model showing the anatomy of the kidney in vet school

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Best Pet Hair Remover

I’ve had a request on twitter for an anatomy past paper so someone could see what a vet school anatomy was like here at UVM Kosice. The weekly credit tests (and the final exam) both are mainly oral exams to test your knowledge and so I will talk through today’s exam to give you some idea of what is expected in the anatomy credit test. On entering the anatomy lab I was told to find the cecum in this:

Click to show Image
WARNING: This image is from a dissection and shows week old equine intestines

This image was taken after I had sorted the pile of intestines and the cecum is the part that is descending towards the bottom of the photo. The next question was to name the different parts of the cecum – it has basis ceci where it connects to the ileum and colon, corpus ceci forms the body of the cecum, and apex ceci is the end of the cecum. The cecum is divided in sacculations haustra ceci by teniae ceci with the ileum entering through ostium ileale and the entrance to the colon ostium cecocolicum.

The next question was then to describe the intestine, in the horse this is in three parts the ascending colon (colon crassum), the colon transversum and the colon tenue. The colon crassum is then again broken down as it forms two u-shaped loops… The colon ventrale dextrum leading to flexura sternalis then coming back by colon ventrale sinistrum before flexura pelvina leads to colon dorsale sinistrum to flexura diaphragmaticus and finally colon dorsale dextrum. It then enters the colon transversum before then entering the colon tenue and the rectum. After describing this I was then asked to identify which animal a liver came from, in this case it was a ruminant liver as the lobes were undivided. I then was asked what the differences were with a pig liver – a pig liver does not have processes pappilaris. From knowing this I got a B today.

Anyways onto the main lecture which was looking at the kidney and urinary system. The kidneys are a complex organ which differ greatly between species both in their structure and the way that they function. The kidneys are responsible for controlling how much water is excreted from the body in urine as well as elimination of waste from the blood so as you can see below there is a very large blood supply going to them. The orange tube is the ureter that then leads to the bladder where urine is then stored for release later.

Model showing the anatomy of the kidney in vet school

On the way to horse riding this we rescued a dog from playing chicken with cars on a main road, had a collar so definitely has an owner we just have to find them. Horse riding was at the university riding centre this week which is on the edge of town, it’s somewhere I’ve visited before (check my diary entry on it) so I ended up leading the group. This session ended up being another session working with tack and saddling up. To be honest it’s helped my confidence loads as being perfect at the basics means that I have the knowledge and practical experience to advise clients in the future.

Why the urine is so important (aka Urinalysis)… (Day 122)

Urine Sample for Urinalysis

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Webinars

One of the cheapest, quickest and most basic of tests used within veterinary practice is that of urinalysis, where the urine is examined and used to help diagnose disease. This test can be used as an indicator of disease in the kidneys, with digestion and within the urinary tract itself.

The first step in urinalysis is actually collecting the urine to examine, now unlike humans animals tend to have a problem with peeing in a cup. Now for certain parts of urinalysis such as culture in a microbiology laboratory a sterile sample is essential, and this is normally collected using cystocentesis which is where a needle is inserted directly into the bladder. For general tests however less invasive methods are used to collect the urine as it flows (takes practice) or with cats using a non-absorbing litter in their tray for example. If this fails when an animal is proving difficult to collect a sample from a catheter can be used instead and is passed along the urinary tract and into the bladder. It is important that urine is examined as soon as possible because it deteriorates with artifacts such as the pH changing and the formation of crystals.

Urine Sample for Urinalysis
Urine Sample

Now once a sample is collected the first thing to do is to examine the gross sample for the appearance and smell of the urine. Previously in history doctors actually even tasted the urine however luckily that is not done anymore (on purpose anyways!)! The colour of the urine should be slightly transparent and yellow or amber, it should not be cloudy and the odour should be faintly that of ammonia.

Next the urine’s specific gravity is tested, this can either be done with a refractometer or with a hydrometer (which is something new I learnt here). This tells us the concentration (the liquid:solid ratio) of the urine which is how many water soluble molecules (such as toxins, waste products, metabolic waste) there are in the urine. The reference (normal) values for the specific gravity depend on the species of the animal being tested. Though not a complete list some of the diseases that this points to include dehydration, renal failure, excessive drinking, diabetes insipidus, glycosuria, decreased kidney blood flow and many more.

A dipstick test is then carried out to check many different parameters at once, depending on the test stick used this can include pH, glucose, leukocytes, blood (hemoglobin) content, Nitrates, Ketones, Bilirubin and Protein. Some sticks contain specific gravity however its not as reliable as using one of the previous test methods. Something worth remembering here is that once urine is applied the stick should kept horizontal to prevent contamination between the tests. In fact some places actually pipette a drop of urine onto each test square instead of dipping the stick! All of these parameters point to different diseases and body systems.

Finally the urine is examined under the microscope for cells, crystals, parasite eggs, and fat all of which should not be present in urine. Cells can indicate problems physically with the tract and bladder, whilst crystals can indicate further problems with bladder stones. Parasite eggs obviously indicate parasites, whilst fat is an indicator for digestion and renal diseases.

This is just one piece of the diagnosis puzzle that a vet works with, and because of the relatively low cost of urinalysis and ability to perform the test instantly in house is one of the most valuable.

White blood cells, urine, and the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm… (Day 80)

Physiology practical for urine and urinalyses

Today started with most of last night spent revising, so am relying heavily on coffee today. I’ve got two exams today both in physiology and anatomy, however as anatomy is such a big area this week (muscles of the head, neck and spine) I am going reschedule my physiology (or resit) it next week.

Anyways onto physiology when I got in today the test was at the start (previously it has been at the end) so did not get the opportunity to reschedule so will be resitting it later next week. The good news however is that I passed my last physiology credit test with 90% (which is a A) which was on the cardiovascular system. Todays session was on the examination of urine (called urinalysis) and looking at some of the methods used in looking at white blood cells.

Physiology practical for urine and urinalyses

Urinalysis is a great tool for diagnosis as it is simple, (generally) minimally invasive, and is relatively inexpensive. The test gives good indication of the kidney and liver health whilst also covering other diseases such as diabetes (did you know diabetes is a greek word?) too. Basically it requires a urine sample, the easiest of which is collected “free-flow” in a cup when the animal needs to go. If this is not possible a catheter can be used to collect urine directly from the bladder. In some cases a sterile sample may be needed which is usually taken by a process called cystocentesis where a needle is inserted through the abdomen into the bladder under ultrasound guidance with the animal sedated.

Todays anatomy test was on a big area with the muscles of the face & head, back and neck being covered. Despite knowing every muscle I fell at the first question as I had not learnt it by the groups the muscles are in. Duh! Well they say you learn from experience and this is one I will never forget… What was the question? Name the muscles of mastication (chewing).

Well I know these are the masster (deep and superficial parts), temporalis, pterygoidei (medialis and lateralis) and the digastricus.

Better luck next week with the diaphragm, abdominal muscles and respiratory muscles! I already know the diaphragm off by heart (no pun intended) so hopefully it should go ok!