Friday, August 22, 2014

Last day seeing practice before Vet School!

Today was my last day at Pype Hayes and my last day in a vets before I head off to Uni.
It's been really beneficial to see practice before going to vet school and has given me more confidence about going and about the job.

I mentioned before that I loved spending a week at Willows Referral centre but the work they do is so specialist it's taken the vets years of experience to get where they are.

The vets and nurses have really involved me this week even little things like drawing up booster vaccinations for vets while they talk to clients.

We've had lots of rabbits in this week and had two rabbit speys in today as well as a rabbit dental.

This is the new Docsinmovent v-gel intubation tube they use for the rabbits which sits just over larynx and rests on the epiglottis.
The thinking is that is doesn't touch the trachea so doesn't reduce the airway and doesn't cause any trauma.
They come with a water based lubricant and enzymatic cleaner which they soak in for 15 minutes and then sit in a cradle for autoclave.

There were also a few feral cat speys and the vets got me to draw up and give intramuscular Antisedan to reverse the sedative and wake them up.

They have said I'm welcome to go back so hopefully I'll fit a week in over Christmas or Easter!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Puppies and Poultry!

Crazy busy day at Pype Hayes today!

Chris was operating today so I watched a couple of dog castrates and a dental then at 11am a French bulldog came in for a caesarean. Everyone was ready to help the puppies and it was Chris' first caesarean so Stacey one of the other vets was there to guide him through it, meaning there were 8 people in theatre.
It was getting a bit too busy so we came out for 2 minutes to wait for the vets to hand over puppies for us to rub and get then breathing.

They came our one by one and we vigorously rubbed them in towels to stimulate their breathing, a bit like we do with lambs - a couple had drops put under their tongues and had an oxygen mask ready to support them.

She had 7 puppies, 5 girls and 2 boys, of which 6 were healthy but one was born with it's eyes open and developmental problems who didn't get breathing.
6 healthy puppies is great though! 

Her uterus looked like it was about to rupture so the owner was rang and as it was her second caesarean the decision was made to spay her at the same time.

This afternoon I was in consults with Stacey one of the Locum vets - she was really nice and explained what she was doing as she went. 
Two Ayredale puppies came in with colitis so she checked them all over, weighed them to see if they'd grown since they were last in 2 weeks ago. They seemed ok so have been put on a low fat diet to see how they go and sent home with a faeces sample pot should they get any worse.

We had a cat in with suspected flea allergy or lice so I helped Stacey do a skin scrape and hair pluck to have a look at under the microscope.

Last thing we had someone bring in a limping duck with a bubbly eye. It didn't look like Mycoplasma and no other respiratory problems so not sure what the eye was about but the leg was warm and inflamed and because it had been a few days they took the decision to have her PTS.
It was quite nice talking to the owner about her other chickens and ducks, that they could live together happily and I told her how to sex her ducks. Apparently they get chickens in but rarely see ducks, especially domestics and not wild mallards so was nice to see that!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Puppy Party

It's been a busy week of operations as they have a £99 Dental Offer on at the moment so they've had lots of cats and dogs booked in.

There were two 4-month old rabbits in for castrate earlier which were really cute and well behaved.
The nurses used a local anaesthetic on their ears (the rabbits ears!) 10 minutes before sedating them intravenously so the boys didn't feel anything and they they have a special intubation tube which sits over the larynx for anaesthesia.

Charlotte operated on a cat with Entropion which is where the bottom eyelid was rolled in against the cornea of the eye.
I've seen it done in Sharpei and a British Bulldog before but apparently it can happen in older cats as they lose weight and the fat pad behind the eye reduces, causing the eye to sink in a little and the eyelid rolls inward. The cat had a ulcer forming on the cornea so Charlotte simply cut an elliptical piece of tissue under the eye and sutured it together pulling the eyelid down and away from the cornea.
The Vicryl suture material was soo tiny it was about as thin as a hair and only just visible, the needle must have only been about 4mm in length.

We used to get entropion quite a lot in the lambs so would often have to inject a couple mls of thick antibiotic (penicillin of engemycin) subcutaneously into the eyelids to pull them eyelashes away from the cornea.

Later on I popped outside to help a client bring her pets in - a group of Irish Setter puppies in for their first vaccinations at 8 weeks old! The bitch had 8 puppies, 4 boys and 4 girls.
They do actually do Puppy Parties at the practice to socialise young dogs with other dogs, owners and get them used to various situations so I'll have to see if I can go to the next one!

This week has been wildlife heavy with 4 wood pigeons and a squirrel being bought in with various ailments and broken bones.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


It's A Level results week so I've seen lots of anxious, upset and elated posts on Twitter and Facebook with people heading off to Uni in September or some who didn't get the results they expected, wanted or thought they deserved and it got me thinking about where I was 5 years ago.

My friend George asked earlier in the week if doing these work experience placements before I head off have helped confirm I still want to be a vet and I guess they have. Obviously its something I've always wanted to do and I wouldn't have come this far if I wasn't sure, but I could have decided after seeing practice to become a Vet Nurse, Practice Manager, RSPCA Inspector etc.
I know I can do the physical job, its just the exams which might hold me back!

I've always loved the practical side of working with animals and started this blog 7 years ago, when I was 15, but have never been a high achiever academically so think I'm going to have to put some work in once I get to Kosice to make it work for the 4 years...

At school I cruised along putting the minimal amount of work in and got decent GCSE's with not much work but then A Levels came along and not putting the work in really showed!
Looking back at it I chose completely the wrong subjects - Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and General Studies - because I wanted to get into Vet School, or uni, and not the subjects I liked or wanted to do.
Consequently I ended up failing most of my AS Levels and finished Lower Sixth/Year 12 with BEDUU.

At the time it felt like everyone was against me telling me to drop down a year, drop out of school completely and go to college but I'm a stubborn character and made my own choices; I got myself into the mess so had to sort myself out!

I didn't get on with my Business Studies teacher for GCSE but I liked the subject and was actually good at it, thought it would be useful afterwards and so picked it up for AS alongside my other A2 subjects.
I ended up really liking it and got an A without doing too much work - it has actually been really useful since and has helped with getting a job too.

I started working hard over Christmas of Year 12 because I really wanted to go to Uni and but then I got a Merit Award for Aberystwyth, which basically meant I had two Unconditional offers to study Animal Science or Zoology - I didn't have to finish my A Levels and they'd give me £1,000 for going to Uni; so I did just that!

I finished Year 13 with CCA, so I like to say that over my two years I finished with EDUCA - half an education ;)

Looking back it was a stupid thing to do and I wish I hadn't have found out until after I'd sat my exams but at the time I thought it was great.
The only reason I got those offers was on the back of my work experience placements because I wrote two essays in my entrance exam about the changing face of agriculture in the UK and another on Orf, a disease in sheep - all what I'd picked up on placement, not from textbooks, and it got me into Uni.

Again, when I was in Aberystwyth doing my Animal Science degree I didn't put enough work in and got an average grade. In third year when I should have been doing my Dissertation, I was stupidly busy working 24/7 lambing a research flock on the Uni farm.

All the vets, nurses and clients have asked which uni I'm going to and even though Slovakia is far from the answer they expected to come out of my mouth, everyone has been really positive about it.
Nowadays more and more students are going abroad to study so I don't think I'll have a problem finding a job in a few years time.

I guess the point of my random waffling is even though I haven't got in to Vet School the most conventional way straight after A Levels I'm still going but now I have a degree behind me that I can always fall back on, I guess I have some life experience and I've had a pretty good journey getting this far!
There are always other options or routes to take it might just take a bit longer than you first expected!

Friday, August 8, 2014

First week at Pype Hayes

I've had a great week seeing practice at Pype Hayes.

After a week at Willows the referral centre I was amazed at all the work they did, the fantastic modern facilities they had and the costs involved with all the work but it was also really daunting to think that it would be me doing some of that work in 4 years time.
This week has been really good to see a some more 'normal' small animal surgery rather than specialist Osteo and Neuro operations. The vets and nurses have all explained what they've been doing and answered loads of questions.

Someone bought a Seagull in with a broken wing and as the nurses knew I'm into birds they pulled me out of a consult to have a look and hold it whole Stephen had a look. It had to be PTS as he's broken a wing and lost lots of blood but was interesting to see either way.

I think because I'm 22 and not a 16 year old school student on work experience people take me more seriously but also assume I know more, which sometimes isn't the case... I've never had a dog or a cat so while I'm fine with them, one of the nurses showed me how properly restrain a cat while the vet placed a cannula.
I've started learning where things are kept in the practice so could be a bit more useful towards the end of the week, grabbing things as and when needed rather than just standing around feeling like I'm getting in the way. They've had brand new IDEXX blood machines this week so they've all been learning how to run samples through them - I'll never need to know how but they still took the time to show me how to run the tests, explain what the machine does and what results we can get from them.
They usually do pre-general anaesthetic bloods, especially on older animals, so they can keep a closer eye on them and put them on fluids during surgery if necessary.

Chris the newly qualified vet started this week so its also good to see how well he did in his first week and how Uni does prepare you, not just throw you in the deep end!

I made brownies to say thanks and Stephen the Practice Partner came in to theatre to say were the nicest brownies he'd ever had and that I'd be welcome back! haha
I have a month before I head off to vet school so I've booked another week with them mid-August and really looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dozens of Dentals

Lots of cats and dentals in today.
They have a dental offer on for £99 throughout the month of August so lots of people have been taking advantage of that, meaning lots of dentals for me to see!

We had this cat in for castrate - not sure what he was but he had major attitude and really did not like the nurses!

To make up for it we had this cat brought in with 3 kittens, all who had been abandoned so they're staying in for a while to check they're all doing well and until someone can take them on.
Not the best photo but was trying not to disturb her.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pype Hayes Veterinary Centre

I've been seeing practice at Pype Hayes Veterinary Centre this week and having a really good time.
I emailed the practice manager and dropped a letter in, back in June and arranged to go this week after I'd finished work.

Chris who was in the year above me at school graduated from RVC a few weeks ago and started work at the practice today which is pretty cool.
It's mad to think if I'd gone in straight from A-Levels I could be going in to my final year but as it stands I'm only just starting out!

I've mainly been watching surgery and sitting in consults. I've washed a few surgery kits ready for the autoclave, got a few prescriptions ready (counting tablets out and finding stuff on the shelves) and cleaned a few kennels out.

We had a Spur Thighed Tortoise come in today for X-Rays to see if she was egg bound as she was behaving oddly. The x-rays didn't show anything so we think it was just a hormonal thing as she'd been with a male.

A lady dropped off two kittens which had been abandoned and were only a day old. They were covered in maggots so we cleaned them all up and they've been bottle fed and snuggled into a heat pad.

I also expressed my first anal glands of a dog too ...sure there will be plenty more over the next few years!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Pet Show 2014

I've been working at The Pet Show in Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire this weekend, with PoultryTalk.

We took along our ChickenWall with photos and information of 60 Pure Breeds of Chicken in the UK, as beautifully modelled here by Flower the Chamois Thuringian hen.

We were at the show to promote keeping chickens as pets and rare breed poultry at the show and took along a selection of day old chicks as well as adult birds to show children (and adults) the massive variety of breeds available.
It's amazing how many people have never seen a chicken up close and personal, let alone get them mealworms:

We had of interest in the chicks with all the children wanting to hold them so while they were doing that it gave us a chance to talk to their parents about keeping chickens and the work involved should they wish to keep poultry in the future.

The show was fantastic and much improved on last year's show.
It was held in the massive indoor hall (where we were) as well as outdoor areas leading to more buildings housing the dogs and horses and the courtyard with food stands and picnic benches. They also had a doggy day care for people who didn't want to leave their dogs at home, so they could be kept safely while owners walked around the show which was a really nice touch.
A few family friends were there with their kids and they all said they'd had a great time.

I fell in love with this guy, Sunny the Senegal parrot on the Problem Parrots stand...

I've always loved birds and would be really keen to rehome a Senegal from them but need to do a lot of research first!
Parrots are really intelligent so it's like having a toddler around the house, meaning they need a lot of space and environmental enrichment with about 4 hours flying out of his cage each day.
I was reading that they should get new toys every week, so rotate through various toys, so they never get bored of the same things. Even moving perches around, adding new toys which make sounds and new feeds to their diet make a big difference to the bird.

He'd be awesome if he was in Slovakia but I'd have to get him a passport to come home at the end of my degree!

I spent about an hour each day talking to the Tamworth and Leicester Tortoise Society who had these 8 week old hatchlings on their stand...

Not sure which are cuter, our day old chicks or these hatchlings!

I spoke to Paul from the society and they meet not far from me so I'll see if I can go along to some of their meetings.

Anyway, its been a mad weekend rushing around sorting things out but we had a great time and can't wait to be back next year.

For more information visit or check out #ThePetShow on Twitter and Instagram!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Unemployed again!

When I graduated last summer I had no idea what job I wanted to do so spent most of the summer travelling around Europe and working with the chickens and horses at the yard.

I applied for a job with Premier Nutrition which would have been awesome, got to the final two candidates at second interview but missed out on that.

I then got a call from Fujitsu who I worked for during the summer after my GCSE's as they needed staff at short notice and knew I was looking for a job.
We started on a 12 week temporary contract as they'd just started a new project and everything had gone wrong so they needed people to help sort out some of the issues. My team started with 20 people, went up to 150 in just a few weeks. They extended our contracts one month at a time and then since Christmas they've stopped extending contracts so more recently we're down to 11 people, so I was really lucky to be kept on for so long - 12 weeks turned in to 12 months!

At the end of last year when the problems were at their worst a few of us were working 8am-8pm, 5 days a week with some weekends just to get the volumes down. I needed the money to save for vet school and they needed the overtime hours so I was happy to put the work in and they gave me a promotion so I've been a mini Team Leader and deputize for our TL when she's out the office.

Anyway, I handed my notice in when I got my offer and finished work on Thursday; they got me a Sheep cake and we ordered £75 worth of Dominos - best day ever!
I even got a card from the client we've been working with in Leeds signed by all the people in the office, which really surprised me as 140 people other people have left over the last few months and no-one else has had anything. Definitely going to miss working with them!

Although an office job was something I never wanted to do I've had a really good year and worked with some really nice people. They're arranging a night out over Christmas with Birmingham and Leeds offices which should be good fun.
They've even said if I ever need work when I'm back for Christmas, Easter and next Summer that they'd be happy to have me which is really nice and if I can, I'll be back!