Passing Pharmacology and my thoughts on memorising stuff… (Day 637)

Veterinary Pharmacology Revision Tips

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Online Pet Education

So today I sat my veterinary pharmacology final exam, this is one of those subjects where you can choose whether to memorize loads of stuff, or understand some. In my case I choose to learn from wise people, and I believe it was Einstein that said “Never memorize something that you can look up.”. So in my case I chose to understand, because when you understand something you can use it to your advantage.

Now when it comes to pharmacology it is a massive rapidly evolving field, there is always research into what dose of a drug is best, or even what drug to use. However there are some static variables – for example the drug receptor sites within the body, and the action that occurs from these sites. This was something that was only touched on briefly during the course with the types of receptors – it did not include where they were which is something additional that I chose to memorize. By doing this I know that if a drug binds to x receptor than it will cause y to happen to the digestive tract, but that it also affects the eyes, or the brain, or the heart or lungs. This is something I considered useful.

Also I know that sometimes it is not possible to look up drug dosages as you simply won’t have time such as in emergencies… These are drugs that I memorised the emergency dosages for in the patients that I work with. But even this is not always necessary for things like anaesthesia as most vets will also calculate the dosages for emergency drugs before they start the procedure.

So today I passed pharmacology with an E (around 57%) as I chose not to memorize every drug under the sun (after all I will learn the most common ones as I use them). I don’t think this makes me a bad vet student, I think by understanding I will be a better student, and so I am happy to take my E, and next time I need to know a drug I don’t know, to look up the latest information on it!

Meeting my first Tiger! (Day 633)

Tiger immobilisation and anaesthesia

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Spikes World Wild Things

Somedays are amazing and today was certainly right up there in the best days of my life! I got to do something that very few people do and survive, I got on the wrong side of the fence of a tiger enclosure at the zoo…

Inside the fence of the tigers enclosureOk ok, so it was planned but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Today I got invited to join a training workshop on wild animal immobilization for veterinary emergency response here in Slovakia. The aim of the training is to equip vets to deal with emergency situations with large and dangerous animals, and theres no better preparation than practice.

The local zoo supports this, and will try to schedule elective procedures so that the training vets can run the anaesthesia whilst the procedure is carried out. Today we were supposed to see 3 patients, however because of the high temperature the risks for complications were extremely high so it was decided that only the tiger would have his procedure today. This tiger was rescued from a private owner in the Czech Republic around 7-8 years ago, and so there has been discussion around whether or not it is a hybrid (a mix of two species) or what the lineage is so to determine whether it is genetically suitable for breeding samples were needed for DNA analysis.

When it comes to taking samples from animals it is always important to consider the safety of both the animal and the person collecting the sample. In this case as the tiger has not been trained, has big sharp claws and very strong mouth muscles with massive teeth the only way to do it is through anesthetizing the tiger. Now as it was in the zoo there is a back house that is not open to the public which allows the tiger to be contained and anesthetized with either a dart gun, or in this a case a blow pipe because the distance allowed this.

Preparing to dart the tigerI have written about distance immobilization in the past (read it here) and today like then we used special forms of the anaesthetic drugs which give a high concentration (action) for a small amount of the liquid. So to reduce the risk of accidents the total drug amount was spread out over two darts, one of these darts did not work initially so another dart was prepared and fired – something I learnt here is that tigers will hiss at vets just like small cats.

Darting the tiger insideOnce the tiger was very fast asleep it was moved outside where its head was covered both to protect the eyes and to reduce any stimulation. A pulse oximeter was attached to the tongue to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and the sample collection took place.

Anaesthetised tiger moved outside and monitoredAfter the samples were collected the tiger was moved back inside, leaving just enough time to grab a photo with my first ever tiger and today’s hero zoo vet Dr Sos! Hopefully someone I will be working with (and learning a lot from) again!!!

Tiger immobilisation and anaesthesiaCheck out the video from the entire day….

The start of semester 2 of year 2… (day 516)

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Spikes World

So today was the start of my second semester of my second year of vet school here in Slovakia. To be honest it was a pretty slow start with a lecture for pharmacology at 7:15 in the morning, a big massive gap until a pharmacology practical at 1pm and then Clinical diagnostics lecture at 3. Luckily I managed to find some stuff to occupy the gap as I am organising a student conference in March for Emergency and Critical Care.

Pharmacology is the study of drug action on the body which is also known as pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Today we started looking at antibiotics again, it seems that there is a lot of repetition between subjects which is giving me a lot more confident that by the time I graduate that I will remember stuff.

So this semester is my 4th semester here, and is looking to be the toughest so far. This semester I start several new subjects:

  • Pathological Anatomy – The physical effects of disease, injury, or malfunction of the body. Basically everything needed for post mortem, and for when it comes to surgery to be able to know whats wrong and whats right and why.
  • Epizootology – This is basically infectious diseases mixed in with some epidemiology.
  • Food Hygiene – Basically everything about food, from eggs through to cows this subject basically looks at a lot of meat stuff including slaughter methods and abattoir inspection.
  • General Surgery and Anaesthesia – This is the start of my official surgical training, basically going be covering a lot of theory from what I have heard.
  • Falconry and Wildlife Rehab – Exactly what it says in the name! An extra optional subject I am picking up as I believe it is a very important topic!

So with that the ones I am looking forward to most are Pathological Anatomy and General Surgery! I will report back when it comes to them later in the week!