Friday, March 17, 2017

Farm trips

This week we've had two trips to the university farm which is 45 mins away by coach and means getting up early as we leave at 7:15! The weather has been great, sunny and pushing 16oC so it's nice to get outside in the fresh air and practical stuff is always fun.

On Tuesday we were blood sampling and vaccinating cattle against trichophytosis which is an infectious skin disease commonly known as ringworm. The cows were vaccinated two and four weeks ago so the bloods we took will be titre tested to see how effective the vaccination course has been.
Today we were working with small ruminants (sheep and goats) doing much the same.
First we had to collect blood samples to test for Brucella, then we did the California Milk Test to look for mastitis and hoof trimming for those which needed it. Finally we did intradermal tuberculin tests for TB.

One of the ewes had a wound on her leg which looked like a blunt trauma, maybe from a gate or hayrack. We cleaned and flushed it with Betadine and saw that there was a yellow fibrinous mass deep inside so we debrided it to encourage wound healing and flushed again.
One of the Professors came over and said he was "very impressed" with my hoof trimming and asked if I have sheep at home; I was secretly chuffed that all those years of lambing paid off!
I kind of take it for granted having worked with sheep for quite a few years on work experience and during my undergrad but other people who are focussed on working with small animals have never really had the opportunity. Teachers here will often assume basic knowledge and won't re-cap procedures or handling techniques which we might have talked about in a lecture 2 years ago unless asked, so people can miss out.

One of the girls was criticising they way we tip the sheep (making them sit on their bums) but they're easily restrained in one movement and they don't struggle once sat so while there will be some degree of stress from any restraint, there is no pain and it gets the job done quickly and efficiently.
Goats aren't as easy to tip as they're more athletic and stressy than sheep but can still be done, you just tip them further onto their back like we've done above - being careful of horns! We were able to blood sample, examine udders, CMT and hoof trim in less than 5 minutes and the goat didn't struggle.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rectalling ruminants with retained placentas

We had a trip to the school farm today for rectalling of post-parturient cows with retained placenta or metritis. There are several reasons why animals can retain the foetal membranes after birth so they must be watched closely to ensure it is cleared.

The uterus is normally sterile but during or after calving, environmental microorganisms can enter and cause infection, especially as the cervix is still open for a few days during involution when it's all shrinking back down.
Metritis is an inflammation of the uterus which occurs directly after calving. Endometritis is a common condition which occurs 21 days or more after calving. The main problem with this is that it will reduce fertility and delay the next conception, increasing the calving interval, decreasing the milk yield and costing the farmer more money.
First we rectalled the cows to feel for the uterine horns, which when inflammed was very obvious in that it was full of pus. We were able to massage the uterus to remove the mucopurulent vaginal discharge.

Then we went per vaginam and treated (or prevented) the infection by placing a broad spectrum antibiotic bolus directly into the uterus or cervix.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Official Opening of the Small Animal Hospital

Today saw the official opening of the UVM / UVLF Kosice Small Animal Hospital.
The building work started back in 2015 and at a cost of nearly €7 million, it has largely been funded by the European Union which has meant it's been a long process to get everything signed off and opened.
It is hoped that animals will travel from Slovakia and neighbouring countries to use the facilities as well as offering a referral service for private vets for patients requiring surgery and hospitalisation.
It includes a 24 hour emergency surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, oncology, a dental clinic, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and a operating rooms. It also has the only incubators for small animals in Slovakia and an area for the preparation of medicines and chemotherapy for cancer patients.
They have several well equipped operating theatres which can be arranged for different procedures and classes as well as having cameras to record surgery or stream them to lecture theatres.
Incubators for small animals
I'm excited to start my small animals staze (rotations) and be able to use all the new equipment in the clinic! There is a compulsory rotation for 5th and 6th year students with final years also covering night shifts.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Storm Doris

Storm Doris hit the UK yesterday and left her mark on our garden.

We lost 6 fence panels, a whole tree came down and the corrugated plastic roof blew off our walk in chicken run. Lots of the glass panels on the greenhouse were smashed too.
Luckily noone was injured and all the animals are fine. I saw on the news a young woman was killed by fallin debris in Wolverhampton and others around the country were badly injured.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging

I passed my Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging earlier in the summer and knew it was important and relative in practice, but didn't really appreciate how important it was.

Whilst on placement at Straiton's Veterinary Hospital they had a fantastic referral level BCF GE Logiq abdominal and cardiology ultrasound scanner which was used several times daily for diagnostic imaging; ultrasound is something I've not seen used a lot in practice before.
At uni I've been able to perform ultrasound to locate and visualise the bladder, liver, kidneys and heart but not really got a feel for what I was looking at so seeing several ultrasounds done each day boosted my confidence greatly. It really helped that the scanner had amazing image quality so we could see exactly what I was looking at.
It's great because it's non-invasive, really quick to do, can be done in a conscious animal so with no risks and pretty inexpensive.

During my second week I did a few scans myself and was able to identify main structures and pathology; one case was confirming a pyometra (pus in the uterus) in a Staffordshire Bull Terrier before admitting her for surgery and in another patient, a cat, I found a mass on the apex of the bladder.
Initially I wasn't sure what it was, just that it wasn't physiological, so we measured it and found that it was 8cm long which when you compare that with the size of the cat is massive.

At my previous practice I'd only seen the ultrasound used twice in two years. By their own admittance their machine is 20 years old with only one probe so whilst basic imaging can be done, I struggled to take much away from it.
Having used a new modern machine I was amazed at what could be detected with ultrasound!

Again, with the rise and popular use of Digital Radiography, images can be taken and analysed in a matter of minutes, rather than waiting 10 minutes for films to process.
We had a horse come in for laminitis exaluation, x-rays were taken and in less than 2 seconds the images were available on a tablet to examine and take other views as necessary.

Another use I thought was interesting was at the PDSA.
Being a charity they do not have the funds and resources to send every possible tumor away for histology (I think in private practice it costs around £60 per mass) so before surgery they will often take a radiograph of the chest and abdomen to look for metastasis; the spread of cancer from one place to other parts or organs of the body.
If the cancer has spread throughout the body and metastatic cancer is identified, they have a better idea of what they are dealing with so a decision has to be made with the owner before putting the animal through surgery.

We have the chance to take an optional Ultrasonography module this semester so I've signed up for that and hopefully will get to practice scanning and be able to use it in practice.

Sunday, January 1, 2017