Thursday, October 11, 2018

Topolčianky Slovak National Stud

We had a trip at the end of our Equine block to Topolčianky, the Slovak National Stud.

They have 550 horses over five sites, mostly Lipizzaner, Arabs and some Slovak breeds. We were really there just to have a look at the horses, facilities and the work they do.

Indoor riding school...

We saw a pair of horses being trained to pull a carriage and then met their vet, who graduated from Kosice and has been there ever since, who spoke to us about his role in disease control with vaccinations, disinfection and parasite control.

They have a Lipizzaner stallion, a gift from when Queen Elizabeth II visited Slovakia in 2008.

Farriers room...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Equine Skills

Two things I learnt to do today, place a nasogastric tube and a urinary catheter in a mare

Luckily Nora was very patient with me and was rewarded with apples and scratches afterwards

It took me three attempts to place the urinary catheter as you have to palpate and go in blind so I was about to give up but persevered and finally got it.
Don’t ask me to do another one for a while though!

Saturday, September 29, 2018


Lviv is a few hours away from Kiev by train and often called the Prague of Ukraine. I know lots of people who have been and recommended it so we spent a few days there.

Our Airbnb in Lviv was a lot cheaper than Kiev but the decor was very, Slavic.
Toilet roll in Ukraine doesn’t have a hole!?
We were never up in time for the 10am walking tours so we found one on Google and did our own.

The city is really pretty with lots of nice architecture, fountains and displays. We didn’t go to any museums but the Folk Museum is meant to be good.
We walked up to the High Castle and viewing tower (which nearly killed me) but the view was nice so I guess it’s worth it...
The main thing we did in Lviv was eat and drink.
Champagne and katchipuri (Georgian break with cheese and egg yolk) breakfast was amazing

Dogs Like Ducks is a vegan hotdog shop (apparently 107% vegan but I don’t get the reference) which were really good. Being veggie I think the only other hotdogs I’ve had have been in Ikea so not much to compare to, they’d have been better with a bit of crunch.

Carrying on the vegan theme we went to Om Nom Nom for dinner, more hotdogs and burgers. The ‘cheese’ sauce was rank so I think get two hotdogs/burgers and skip the fries/wedges!

And finally because we were fed up of meaty Ukrainian food we went for a massive pizza
The Craft Beer and Vinyl Festival happened to be on the weekend we were visiting so we went along. You have to buy a 330ml glass and put tokens on a card but it meant that we got to try beers from loads of breweries. There were loads of food trucks but all very meaty and BBQ’y with hotdogs and ribs so I struggled to find something - the only thing was a caprese pitta bread thing which was decent.
I got a sleeper train from Lviv to Uzghorod which cost £4.47 and was old but fairly comfortable, I slept the whole way so that was fine.
From there I got a bus from Uzghorod to Košice which should have taken about an hour and a half. We got to the Ukraine-Slovakia border and there we sat for 8 hours... Slovaks are renowned for taking their time but this was a joke.

We were sat on the coach inside the border compound just waiting for Border Control to check our passports, I brought some Pringles for the journey but as it wasn’t meant to take long didn’t bring a drink. First world problem I know but annoying all the same.
I got off the coach in Košice and went straight to McDonalds for a drink (and 20 nuggets).

All in we had a great eight days in Ukraine and I’m sure I’ll be back again...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Chernobyl Tour

After years of talking about it we finally made it to Chernobyl!
There are a few companies offering day trips from
Kiev, we booked with Chornobyl Tours and had a great guide so I’d recommend going with them. The tour starts early to make sure you have a full day at the site.

It’s a couple hours drive from Kiev to the Exclusion Zone and once inside you have to stick to the strict guidelines.

We hired a Geiger counter for the day which measures radiation - average background radiation in Kiev is about 0.7mSv/hour and the highest we saw was close to 100mSv/hour.

One of th first things we saw was the Duga 2 Radar which is 150m high, built in secret by the Soviets.

As we drove up it was completely out of view of the road hidden in the forest and the end of the track had the bus stop painted with children’s to disguise it as a children’s summer camp.
I guess in those days you accepted it and didn’t ask questions for fear of being shot!

Driving up to the reactors you start to get a scale of the place

on the left, covered in the sarcophagus, is Reactor 4 where the 1986 accident happened, next to that is Reactor 3 and on the right either side of the chimney are 1 & 2.
The other side of the cooling water lake are Reactors 5 & 6 which we’re being built and never completed, with plans for 12 reactors on the site.

We ate lunch in the canteen just to the right of that photo, a Ukranian feast, most of which we couldn’t finish.

After lunch we visited Pripyat, the modern city built for the power plant workers which at the time was a really desirable place to live with nice apartments, shops, many schools and recreational facilities.
The entire city was evacuated within days of the nuclear accident and has to remain uninhabited for 20,000 years due to nuclear radiation.

The most interesting thing was to stand on a spot where photos were taken at the time and compare it to now. Nature had completely taken over with trees and plants everywhere which largely disorientate you.

Several of the buildings have collapsed which is why tourists aren’t allowed inside, though we did go inside a few and there are plans to make some save to visit in the future.

One of the most famous spots is the Chernobyl Fairground which had only just been finished before the accident happened.

Aside from nature taking over there are also lots of animals living in the exclusion zone.
We met lots of dogs who mainly hung around busy places like checkpoints and the canteen as people feed and look after them.

Interestingly most of the adult dogs were only 4 or 5 years old with no older dogs around, maybe because of human population control or due to radiation?
A friend visited over summer to help vaccinate and neuter the dogs so it would be awesome to come back and help with that.

Monday, September 24, 2018


My friends and I have been talking about making another trip to Ukraine for a few years so now I’m in Final year we finally booked it.

I got a train from Košice to Budapest for €9 and then flew from there to Kiev for less than €20 with Wizz Air. My friends flew in from London and met me at the Airbnb which was really close to the city centre.

I’ve been busy with exams and vet stuff this summer so hadn’t really researched it but Kiev way surpassed my expectations and was a really nice city.
It was clean, loads of stuff going on, cheap and the people were really nice.

I’d definitely recommend doing a walking tour ‘cos we got to see things we’d missed after spending a good few days in the city.
I’ve seen the Winter On Fire documentary about the 2013 revolution a couple times and it was really interesting to see everywhere where that took place.

There were so many good bars and restaurants that we ate and drank ourselves silly.
One of the best was OB (Last Barricade) which is under Maidan Square in the middle of a shopping centre. You go in to the small reception area, say a password and then a door opens up to a big restaurant.

We all ordered Chicken Kiev ...when in Rome and all that.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Day one of Equine Block

Day one of our Equine block starts with Equine Anaesthesia sponsored by caffeine

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Final Freshers Week

We've just finished my final (hopefully!) Freshers Week and had an awesome time with the best people.
I usually organise the week for the new students, booking bars and events then we finished with a house party at ours on Friday night. There were a few hundred bottles to clean up the next morning so I think everyone had a good time!

This pair came to visit and I didn't take many photos but these sum up the week pretty well...

Reeya and Mairi, bae's from the beginning, moved into our house last week. We lived together for three years in dorms so it's been really nice to have them back!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Mission Rabies Vaccination Drive

Up bright and early on Saturday morning, we left the ITC at 6am headed for Kotagiri for a Rabies vaccination drive.

We split into three teams, each with vets, vaccines, educational leaflets (in English and Tamil) and most importantly a team of expert dog catchers and their nets.

We went through villages on foot vaccinating dogs, most of which are free roaming but some are owned so their owners showed us their dogs and were given vaccination cards.

It was quiet an operation as we had to find and catch the dogs, load vaccines and get them to wherever the dogs were caught, then those vaccinated had to be marked with a paint spot so they weren’t re-vaccinated and all vaccines were recorded in the Mission Rabies app which adds them to a map with the age, sex and neutered status of the dog.

Between us we vaccinated over 400 dogs throughout the day and our team vaccinated the most - not that it was a competition of course

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Last ever Final exam!

Yesterday I had my last ever final exam which I guess means I'm now officially in Final year!

We 'only' have State exams left which are ~30min oral exams with a panel of 5 or 6 examiners.
I have one next Friday on Food Hygiene and Technology (which is as exciting as it sounds) and then from September we start rotation blocks. We'll have two solid weeks of lectures and then spendin 6 weeks in each clinic (Horses, Ruminants, Pigs, Smalls) with a State exam at the end of each block.

Unluckily for me (W surname ) I have the biggest and hardest exam (Small Animals) last so while everyone else will be enjoying summer I'll be stuck inside studying!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Contagious Diseases State

We’ve just had our State in Contagious Diseases and our group smashed it, we all passed and nearly everyone got an A.

I tried to study really hard for two weeks but the 30oC sunshine was a killer so most of the effective studying was done over the last four days.
I was a mess before the exam and being last in the alphabet meant I went in last but I picked a good question and the panel were really nice.
State exams for those that don’t know are the six final exams we have to do to pass vet school. We have two this summer and four next year which are split into species; Horses, Ruminants, Pigs and Small Animals.

One down, five States to go until we’re vets 🐶

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Veterinary Endoscopy Weekend

This weekend we were lucky enough to be visited by this years BSAVA President Philip Lhermette come out to Kosice to speak about minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery and endoscopy.
Philip has practiced endoscopy since 1995 so perfected lots of techniques for diagnostics and surgery and lectures at Nottingham Vet School as well as all over the world!

Burtons Veterinary Equipment drove over from the UK with the latest fixed and rigid endoscopes for us to try out with some awesome gastrointestinal models which have pathology we had to find and foreign bodies to remove.

There was also a station with rigid endoscopes for laparoscopy training with different tasks to complete like stacking sugar cubes, peeling oranges, removing stones from a kidney (red pepper) and balloons filled with water to simulate hydropericardium.

Céline the wonder pup came along for the practical sessions and loved laparoscopy...

The lectures were great and loads of us are now itching to find practices who do laparoscopic surgeries to do EMS at and learn more about the procedures. I'm sure that during my career we'll see more and more laparoscopic surgery with the medical advantages (less hemorrhage and pain, faster recovery) and clients requesting it.
I've said it time and time again but the technology available to vets for surgery is amazing - I loved the EndoGrab for fixing ovaries to the abdominal wall before zapping off the ovarian ligament, artery and vein with a LigaSure tissue and vessel sealer.

Many thanks to Philip Lhermette and Burton's for giving up your weekends and coming out to speak to us - a great time was had by all!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dobšiná Horse Breeding

We went on a trip to Dobšiná to a horse breeding farm where they produce Noriker draught horses which are used for working in the forests.
They’re big chunky horses with lots of muscle and a good temperament so ideal for their work.

The foals are kept with mares for three years before being broken at four years old for basic training.

They had wooden stocks set up into which they brought the mares for transrectal ultrasound for early pregnancy diagnosis.

We were able to determine the gestational age by measuring the fetus length and how the heart was beating.