Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Vets Update

I've just spoken to Phil and things are still not ready inside, but in about 3 weeks they'll start looking at getting the equipment in, and then they'll set an opening date :D

Friday, July 10, 2009

VetSim - Day 4

The rest of the Marine Mammal Medic Course was today - the practical part.

Me, Chris and Jen were all in different groups today, but it was fine because we got to know other people and students we might even be studying with in a few years time!

Our group started off with the Dolphin.
We talked a bit about the situation, what to check for and signs to look out for. There was a weighted replica dolphin in a simulation stranding. We put some KY jelly over its eyes to keep them moist, put a damp sheet over it to protect it from the sun and then started to lift it.
We rolled up the tarpaulin on one side, rolled the dolphin and slid the tarp underneath, next rolled the dolphin back and pulled the tarp out from underneath so the dolphin was in the middle of the tarp and all lifted together on the count of three.
I lay down on the tarp and people lifted me and walked a little bit to simulate walking to the sea ready to be refloated!

Next up after the dolphin was the seal.
Seals don't need KY Jelly on their eyes, or a cloth, but you walk up along the side of the seal with a towel and in one go you have to jump on its back, cover its head with the towel and hold its neck down so it can't bite you.
Then you have to check it for lesions on its flippers, checks its mouth and eyes and then finally lift it. It had a knack to it and the simulation seal was really really heavy - I can imagine it being difficult with a live seal as it would potentially be trying to wriggle out and bite you.

Finally was the whale.
The situation was that the whale had been stranded on the beach and we'd been given permission from the vet to refloat it.
We had to do similar to the dolphin and roll up the pontoon, roll the whale and put the pontoon under the whale and take it out from the other side. Next the pontoon sheet is clipped onto the floats of the pontoon and the pontoon is inflated with compressed gas. It needs to be done slowly as not to alarm the whale.
A female sitting next to the head of the whale to talk and sooth is meant to be calming for the whale aswell.
After it was all inflated, we lifted the whale. We took it all apart and did the same thing again without the instructors telling us what to do, to check that we all knew what we were doing...

We left Nottingham just after one o'clock and got back home at around half past two.

I had a really good week and was definitely glad I came. It was nice to see people we'd met and made friends with at Vet Medlink that we might be at vet school with in a few years time.
It's also nice to speak to people to see what work experience placements other people have been doing to see what I'm doing right, other placements I'd not thought about trying and what I need to work on.
The animal handling was really interested and I can see that exotics would be something I'd be interested in working with in the future, especially considering we've never had a cat or a dog at home - just hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, the tortoise, chickens, quail, ducks etc etc.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

VetSim - Day 3

Today at VetSim was all Animal Sessions.

Another 9am start but this time with Parrots and Macaws. They were all rescue parrots and the man did a talk about them, about how to care for them and followed by a quiz to see what information we'd retained. Some of the things were really interesting, like did you know there are over 300 breeds of parrot!

After Parrots we moved onto Skunks & Meerkats (from the same place as the parrots, again from Birmingham!).
There was a group of 4 Meerkats all in a run, plus a baby and a male with 3 legs in a different cage. They again were rescued animals and we were allowed to stroke the male but not hold him because he can be vicious with other people. Other people held the baby and she was ok with strangers, although she did nip one person.The skunks were passed around and didn't smell as bad as I was expecting, a bit like a wet rabbit. The adults had their scent glands removed, but a law was passed 2 years ago banning it, so the baby was still entire. After that we went over to Large Constrictors, there was a smaller one which was passed around and we tried to auscultate to hear to its heartbeat. Then the bigger one came out and we held it and put it over our shoulders for a photo. It was really muscly, much heavier and stronger than I expected. Next up were Eagles and Vultures which were awesome! They are all fed on cockerel chicks coming from the commercial hatching industry, but had their yolk sacs removed because they are high in calcium and I guess fat.

We went and had lunch then went to the Snapping Turtles. We were taught how to handle them, draw a triangle from the back legs to the middle of the back and that's the only place you can touch them as they have long necks and bite. You pick them up by the tail and support underneath.

Afterwards was Canine Blood Bank, which I didn't know existed; dogs donate blood which can be used afterwards by vets in patients needing blood transfusions.
I had to leave early and miss the next session (Elephant Conservation) because I had my Vet School Mock Interview. I think it went well and I could answer everything she asked me - she said it was good, I was confident and that I had well thought out answers.

I was back in time for Anatomy which was impressive. The lecturers described the differences in different animals as well as different breeds within them and problems we as humans have created for animals, for examples the breathing of Pugs and Boxer dogs and birth of Bulldogs.
It was awesome to see the Anatomy Labs at Nottingham Vet School. There are rails and pulley systems on the roof for hoisting large animals onto dissection tables, all the walls and floors were waterproof so they can be hosed down after dissections and it all drained away quickly.

Some people left at 5pm but the rest of us who were staying had dinner at the university then went and started the optional extra Marine Mammal Medic Course.
It was all lectures today with Biology Of Cetaceans and Seals, Cetacean Strandings and Seal Rescue - they were all given by staff and volunteers from the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

VetSim - Day 2

We stayed in student dormitories last night so after finishing lectures at 11pm we had a late night and were up at 8am for breakfast in The Atrium, a student dining room.

Clinical Sessions started at 9 o'clock. I was in group A4 with Chris and Jen from school and Lucy who I know from Lambing and we started off with suturing - the first one I did wasn't perpendicular to the wound but the instructor was pleased and I thought the rest were good.

Then we moved onto CPR which was pretty cool - they said it was rare in a vets and only 5% of patients in a vets will be successful, half of which will die in the next 48 hours!
They mentioned resuscitation in a lambing situation which I suppose I have done successfully :)
Next up was Radiography and X-Rays, we had to study them as a group and identify organs and any problems we could see, but there were no standard or healthy X-Rays to compare them against, which I think would have helped.

After a break we had an Ultra-sound session and they had a look at Chris' heart!
Ultra-sound is becoming more popular and is a good diagnostic tool but not used on its own - usually used to identify something but you can't use it to identify the lack of something in case you missed it.

Another break and then onto Laparoscopy or Keyhole Surgery which was a lot harder than it looked . We had an 'Appendix' which was a grape in a glove full of water in which we had to put two surgical loops on, to stop the blood supply and then cut between them - we did it successfully and were the first group to do it all day!! :D
Next we had a lunch break for an hour and went to Husbandry Sessions.
We started off with Alpacas, the man bought 3 males with him and just spoke through everything relating to their husbandry, diet and care - I didn't realise they needed so many vitamin supplements and regular injections.Horses were next and the Nottingham Mounted Police were there. They spoke through a bit of equine husbandry then we all auscultated to listen to their heart beats and their stomaches - one of the horses had an irregular heartbeat so they pointed that out to us.Reptiles were next - and it was a man from Proteus in Birmingham who I've been thinking about asking for work experience as I'm interested in exotics. We got to handle a few snakes and a Bearded Dragon.

After Reptiles we went onto Arachnids - it was a slideshow which was interesting and had loads of info in it and he had some shedded spider skins at the front that we could touch ...we couldn't touch any live spiders which I would have probably made it better.

Then we went outside to Small Animals, there was a dog and we talked through how to health check a dog working all the way from nose to tail. There were 2 chickens which was good and a rabbit as well but we weren't allowed to handle those.

We had a free session followed by a Birds of Prey session - also a man from Birmingham.
He spoke through a bit about the birds, their care and let us all fly a little kestrel. There was a 4 week old Snowy Owl chick there that was really cute and let us all stroke it.
He followed that with a Birds of Prey Display, where they did tricks, flew up onto the roof and back down between the man's legs and things like that.

In the evening we went to a Charity Lecture: "Liking & Sexual Attraction" which was quite interested and he made us laugh to keep us all entertained.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I've been at VetSim at Nottingham Uni this week. Jen drove us up on Tuesday and we came back on Friday (I'm writing this at home after the week).It was a really good course, completely different to Vet-Medlink because it was a practical course, not lecture based.
When we got there they gave us scrubs and a stethoscope, I bought the upgraded one with 2 tubes and more interchangeable heads.
We had an introduction to VetSim then a keyhole surgery lecture with the same man that did The Edge at Vet-Medlink. Laparoscopic surgery is better because its has shorter recovery time and minimally invasive, but there is more risk of a problem as you can only see such a small space meaning its often a longer operation.
In the evening we had an Ethics lecture which was really interesting and the lecturer really made you think quite about your actions and decision in different situations.

After that we had a lecture about the Use of the Stethoscope until 11pm with a lot of information about different heart beats in different animals - rate, rhythm and amplitude; the one thing I thought was strange, was that we didn't touch our stethoscopes during the whole lecture!