Saturday, November 12, 2016


This semester we are able to take Stomatology as an optional course. The lectures were done a few weeks ago but due to the class size and timetable we had the practical on a Saturday.
Stomatology or dental medicine is the study of the mouth and it's diseases.
We started with Radiography, taking intra-oral x-rays with parallel views
and bisecting angles
and then processed the dental films in a dark room!
Next up we practiced scaling and polishing which I've seen done lots in practice but only had a chance to do a few times; it's surprisingly therapeutic once you get into it!
Scaling is really important as it affects around 90% of adult dogs and dental plaque or tartar is the main cause of gingivitis. Gingivitis can be treated but if left can lead to peridontal disease which is irreversible.

We practiced performing root canals and peridontal surgery to repair teeth and deal with chronic infections of the root apex as well as amalgam (containing mercury) and composite fillings which I've never seen, or even heard of, in the UK.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trip to the Shelter; Útulok UVP Košice

Today we went on an Ethology trip to the Utulok UVP dog shelter.

We were each given a dog to assess their behaviour and do temperament testing. The shelter houses around 200 dogs, many in large groups so they adopt a pack mentality which can be challenging when socialising and integrating them with other dogs.
I know Vicky from the shelter having been to some of their adoption days so she gave me a puppy, meet Pongo...
He was so sweet! He's being kept inside with a few other pups, away from the older dogs, until they have completed their vaccinations, particularly for Parvo virus.

The shelter took on a bitch on Saturday and on Sunday she produced these two puppies, bit of a surprise!
 The pups are also being kept inside in the warm away from all other dogs and they will be fostered out to homes wither with or as soon as they can be separated from their mother.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Two New Chickens

Over the last couple years I've gotten into taxidermy ...I guess as a vet student it comes with the territory! I prefer skulls and skeletons to full mounts as the anatomical differences are really interesting.

Anyway, a friend messaged me as Uni were throwing out four taxidermy chickens. I went down to have a look with a couple friends and brought two back to dorms!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

UVM Kosice descend on Budapest

This weekend around 30 vet students travelled from Kosice to Budapest as the girls were playing rugby on Saturday and the boys on Sunday.
We went along to support them and Kosice won all of our matches!
We all stayed in a hostel and it was great to get out of the city, especially for Halloween as there were loads of parties and events going on.
Budapest is a much bigger city so seemed really busy. We took full advantage of the food and drink we can't get in Kosice, highlights being Mexican restaurant as well as Starbucks and a drunken KFC.
We spent most of Sunday walking through the city, along the river and taking in the sights before getting the train back on the evening.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Small Ruminants Trip

We were at the university farm again this week, looking at small ruminants; sheep and goats.

That particular farm is managed by one lady, responsible for 350 small ruminants, a group of heifers and a pig unit. She has some staff but ultimately time and money are limited, I guess pretty typical for most farms in Slovakia (and the rest of the world).

We noticed one of the breeding rams was lame on his front right so we grabbed him for a look. He also had some nasal discharge so we did a clinical exam; TPR, auscultation, took nasal swabs and blood for testing.
The lecturer asked for one of the boys to tip him (restrained sitting on his bum) so I was given the task. We started hoof trimming and it was obvious there was some foot rot so pared them right back and sprayed them. 
Even though I've not done it for years we used to do loads of hoof trimming when I was lambing so the lecturer showed us how to do it and then I helped people if they needed it.

The farm has a foot bath but it was damaged and not a priority to replace at the moment. We moved the ram into a separate smaller pen to stop the spread of foot rot bacteria.

Hard work all this manual labour!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kraków and Auschwitz Trip

We usually go away at the end of Freshers week so this year we decided to go to Kraków in Poland. There were 14 of us so we hired a minibus and driver and off we went.
The AirBnB we booked was really nice and the lady told us the best sights to see so off we went and found the main square. It's a much bigger city that Košice and definitely geared more towards tourists so was easy to get around.

After walking around the city, along the river and castle we found the Jewish Quarter and went for food. There were quite a few vegans and veggies in the group and it was really easy to find somewhere they could eat.

For Saturday we had booked a tour of the Auschwitz concentration camps. I stopped History at school after year 8 so the most modern history I studied was the Tudors and never really learnt about the Second World War so was interested to visit. 
We had a tour guide who was great at explaining the various buildings and exhibits. It's hard to believe over 1.1millions prisoners died at Auschwitz, around 90% of them Jewish. We know that Jews were put on the train in Košice bound for Auschwitz, 170miles away.

I didn't take many photos for obvious reasons;
Auschwitz Camp I
Auschwitz Birkenau II

Back in Kraków we went for food and met up with a few friends before heading out
On Saturday, our final day, we had planned to do the Salt Mines but half the group went earlier in the morning and queued for 2 hours to get in so we decided against it.
We booked an open top bus tour of the city and the heavens opened. We got soaked and didn't get off at any of the stops but it was good all the same!
Home time!
I definitely want to go back at some point to do the Salt Mines and a few other bits we missed out.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Františka & Falconry birds

I went down to campus today to see the birds at Falconry club, just to check everyone was alive and well as they're being looked after by the technicians (equivalent to our vet nurses) over the summer.

The birds are put up to moult while we're away which works well as they're not worked or flown, just fed while they lose all their feathers and grow back a new set ready for the hunting season.

All the outside birds were fine: Františka the Harris' Hawk and Lubo & Kubo the Harris' boys as well as the un-named European Eagle Owl.
I couldn't get in the clinic to see the owls and smaller birds which are inside as they're rebuilding part of it but I'm sure they're fine.

Františka is looking good and has nearly finished her moult, still a few tail feathers need to grow in properly.
Excuse the food boob; it happens to the best of us.

Her beak is overgrown so it will need coping (filing) in September when we start flying her again.
Once it has been coped she will keep it down by munching on meaty bones like hare heads and pigeon breast bones. It's great as it keeps her occupied working for her food and also files her beak.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Seeing Practice with PDSA

I've been Seeing Practice with PDSA Oldbury this week and loved every minute!
The PDSA are a national charity providing free veterinary care to pets of people in need since 1917, with 51 hospitals and 380 pet practices across the UK.

The Oldbury hospital opened in 2015 so the facilities and equipment are all great.
Within half an hour of walking in on Monday morning I had donned gloves and gown and assisting in surgery; a cystotomy to remove bladder stones. I was able to hold the bladder to stop it disappearing back into the abdomen and place catheters to flush saline and clear the calculi.
The vets were great at explaining things to me and nurses very patient explaining and restraining animals for procedures.
I did a few afternoons consulting, taking histories and doing clinical examinations - they have double consulting rooms split down the middle so I was able to grab a vet after they'd finished their consult to discuss my patients and what treatment was necessary.

The first few consults were general health checks either post-operative or new kittens, I had a diabetic dog come in which hadn't eaten breakfast but was still given insulin and went into a hypoglycemic state. The owner had given cake and glucose powder so I admitted the dog for blood glucose and monitoring. The nurses were great in letting me do the blood glucose throughout the day and on the discharge consult I was able to explain the importance of routine for diabetic patients; consistency of feeding and insulin routine and reasons why.

Throughout the week I scrubbed in and assisted on lots of other surgery including a caesarean section, dentals, pyometra and an ex-lap which unfortunately found a stomach tumor so I euthanised and closed up.

I have another week with the PDSA in September and will hopefully be back again next summer!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

BBC Countryfile Live

I've been at Blenheim Palace for BBC Countryfile Live this week, giving talks for #TeamPoultry in the Adam's Farm area.
The show was huge and nothing like I've been to before. Loads of things to see and do, activities for the children and loads of great trade stands.
The talks went down really well and we had thousands of people visit our stand.
As always we had day old chicks, pure and rare breed poultry, ex commercial hens and new for this year, Call Ducks and Sebastopol geese.
The chicks were very popular with the public, everyone wanted to hold them so we had to restrict handling times to give them a rest!

We met Adam Henson
and Ellie Harrison
I even did an interview for That's Oxfordshire which went out on TV and is on their YouTube channel

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Game Fair with Clydach Farm Group

I've been working at The Game Fair at Ragley Hall this weekend with Clydach Farm Group who produce and sell a range of poultry and dog feeds.

The company is owned by Callum, an old friend, and has gone from strength to strength over the last few years; mainly due to the results they've been getting. It's all made with ethically sourced British meat which is something lots of people were interested in over the weekend.
The feed is all hypoallergenic and they have a grain free dog feed diet which is 50% meat and 50% sweet potato which is easy to digest.

It was great to speak to the public about what they're feeding at the moment any any concerns they've been having.
We saw some interesting intolerances and allergies as well as lots of cute puppies!

I decided I need to order one of these even though I don't have a dog.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Week 2 of Mixed Practice at Straiton Veterinary Hospital

My second week at the EC Straitons Veterinary Hospital has been even better than the first.
Now that I've got to know all the staff and learnt where things are kept, how procedures are done, I've felt a lot more useful and learnt more from it.

On the other hand, now that they know me, I've been able to do more too.
Whilst I didn't get to do any surgery I learnt loads of practical skills, especially placing catheters to take blood and giving intra venous injections. While we are taught these skills in vet school and able to learn in practicals, you don't really get a feel for it until you have a go and regularly practice; even little things like which size catheters to use in different patients.

I saw several TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) and TCT (Tibial Crest Translocation) surgeries which are often done as referrals, I got to understand the procedure and equipment used so was sterile during the surgeries to pass the surgeon kit and suture material. I was also able to position for x-rays before and after the surgery so I could really see the difference.
As they do orthopedics on a regular basis there were several post-op check consults which meant I saw a whole range of cases, from pre-surgery to 6 weeks post-surgery.

Being a Mixed practice I had hoped to get out on some farm visits but due to the time of year and staff holidays the farm work has been quiet, apart from routine TB testing which is done all year.
I saw a few horses that came in to the hospital for lameness evaluation and radiographs.
They have a great wireless digital radiography system which they use for equine work which is portable and means x-rays can be taken and viewed immediately (1.9 seconds) on a HD tablet for diagnosis and taking of further views as required.

They provided me with a glowing reference and invited me to go back next year so I'd like to return in January or Easter time when there will be more going on with the farm animal side, especially lambing!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mixed Practice at E C Straiton

I've just finished a two week placement at EC Straiton & Partners Veterinary Hospital in Penkridge and had a great time. They are about 40 mins from home but my nearest mixed (small animal, farm and equine) practice and have a great reputation so I booked the placement 18 months ago.
The hospital has 13 vets so a very busy practice, from new grads to vets who have been with the practice 37 years!
Everyone was great and made me feel really welcome. The vets would ask my opinion on cases and medicine, so whilst I wouldn't always know the answer they tried to get me to think logically and then explain why they'd use certain treatment. Of course the next time a similar patient presented, I was able to explain possible treatments, using pattern recognition.

The hospital is built around what used to be an old farm yard so it took a few days to get my bearings but the layout is great and works really well for the team.

It's been sweltering this week, pushing 33oC on Tuesday so unfortunately we had a dog come in with heat stroke which died; just goes to show the importance of not leaving dogs in hot cars, even 'just for 5 minutes'.

Friday, July 8, 2016

So promise me one thing.

"Now I know it seems scary, but you have worked so hard to get here. What is the point in putting so much effort in to get to a place you are too stressed and worried about to enjoy?

So promise me one thing.

Once a week, on your way to work, just take 2 minutes and think how long you’ve wanted to be where you are right now.
No matter what is waiting for you at the surgery and no matter what happened last week… you’re a vet [student], and that is seriously cool."

This article from recruit4vets really struck a chord with me recently so thought I'd share the final paragraph.

You're a vet student, and that is seriously cool.

Source: @RoryTheVet

Thursday, June 30, 2016

UVM Košice Class of 2016

Today the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice class of 2016 graduated as fully fledged Doctors of Veterinary Medicine.
I went along to graduation to congratulate the class and it was great to see how proud everyone's friends and families were.
Three students gave speeches which really hit home about how important it is that we stick together and support each other throughout our time here.
This year we have people graduating from the UK and Ireland, Norway, Iceland, France, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Malta and even Canada!

Speaking to people, it seems that everyone already has a job to go to or the few that don't are in the process of interviews; some are even going to work with Košice alumni.
That speaks for itself really that practices are eager, and in some cases actively seeking, to employ graduates from European vet schools; something I know applicants and new students are often worried about.

Good luck to everyone and can't wait to hear how they all get on in their new jobs!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Your Chickens Poultry People - Lewis Wescott

I was really pleased to be asked to appear in the Poultry People feature of Your Chickens magazine this month, June 2016.

I spoke with Jeremy Hobson who wrote the article and focused on my vet studies and aspirations of a career in avian medicine!
The photo with the article is an oldie that the magazine have used before. I did send some more recent photos taken in practicals at vet school but as they're all taken on iPhones the quality isn't high enough to print.

Mission for this summer is to get some new photos!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Puppy play time

The best thing about being at vet school is other vet students asking for favours... Yesterday Brigid asked me to look after the puppies for her and of course I obliged!

They're kept down at Anička with the university kennels and they have a dog field with agility course.
Darya is a Dachsbracke and Freya is a German Wirehaired Pointer.

Daria isn't sure about selfies
but Freya loves it

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

4th Year Finals

It's that time of year again, finals are upon us.
I can't believe I've finished second semester of my second year here which means I've reached the end of 4th year!
This year is notoriously bad for exams in that we have lots of exams and they're all really big subjects. I passed my Anatomy II final in January which was a year long subject and this summer I have Parasites and Pathological Physiology which are also really big subjects.
I find Parasites really difficult as it's a massive subject so many species we need to learn each with their own life cycles, morphology, clinical signs and treatment. I'm leaving three weeks to study for that which I hope will be long enough as in the past quite a few people have failed it and had to repeat the year over it.
In total I have 9 finals this exam period and that's not including the 8 credit and compensation tests I've done in the last 3 weeks!

So far I have passed General Surgery (A), Haematology (A), Clinical Diagnostics (B) and Radiology (D).

We studied hard for Radiology and I thought I'd learnt it well so I was a bit gutted I only got a D but a pass is a pass and it's another exam done!
The grades for a D are 61-70% so while it doesn't sound great, you just have to remember back in the UK that's a high 2:1 or a 1st.

This morning I have done Hygiene and Technology of Food; Poultry Fish and Game which is a written paper so we find out the results tomorrow - no waiting two or three months like we had to do in the UK.

Now I need to start studying for Nutrition which I have next Wednesday and after that I'll have to conquer Parasites, Pharmacology and PathoPhys!

Monday, May 16, 2016

General Surgery

I've just sat my General Surgery exam and really pleased with how it went.

I thought the subject was really interesting so took the time to study it properly, bought the BSAVA Surgical Principles textbook and read the whole thing then watched lots of videos about the practical parts of the exam; suturing, catheterisation, endotracheal tube placement, bandaging.
The first part of the exam was practical where we had to demonstrate different suture techniques and then talk through preparing an animal and ourselves for surgery; clipping, scrubbing, gowning, gloving etc.
Next we went into the theory part where we choose two questions from an envelope, write answers and then explain them to the professor. As they're oral it means we hear the students ahead of us speaking and the two people before me failed so I was nervous going in...

I picked Suture material selection and characteristics, knots and techniques and then Perioperative patient monitoring. Both questions I'd studied well and was able to talk about things I'd regularly seen in practice. Professor stopped me mid way through my second question and gave me an A!

I came home after the exam and wrote my Haematology final report, handed it in this afternoon and got an A in that too.

If you've read other posts you'll know I'm not a Straight-A student so I'm delighted with that!
All the weeks spent seeing practice back home paid off. It's given me a boost to study hard for the next few exams and get home for summer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RIP Stella

The decision was made to euthanise Stella today as she was showing no improvements.
Professor Mudron, head of the Ruminants clinic, looked at her blood results from last year which showed high white blood cells which indicated a chronic systemic infection and said that if she was not able to stand that the prognosis would be poor.
Pathological Anatomy are going to perform a necropsy and several tests to ascertain a diagnosis.

RIP Stella...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stella Update

Stella the cow is still down in sternal recumbancy with paralysis of her right hind limb. She is being kept comfortable on deep straw, turned regularly and milked twice a day.
Her IV catheter has been taken out but she is still being given Menbutone and Novasul as well as Dexamethasone, an antiinflammatory steroid.
When she is lifted for milking she is able to stand supported in the sling and has sensation in the leg but is unable to bear weight on it so when the lift tension is loosened she soon drops back down.
They've hobbled her hind legs together with a thick belt about 2 feet apart so that if she tries to stand she doesn't do the splits and cause even more damage.
Some students in my class commented that it was cruel keeping her legs hobbled together and wanted to take it off but it is more to stop her injuring herself and she didn't seem to notice it was on.

Good news is that she was ruminating today when we went down to see her so I guess the rumen fluid transplant helped!
There were no vets down there to speak to so we're not really sure what was going on and what her prognosis is...

Bernie the calf

This week in Clinical Diagnostics we were each given a patient to look after for the week.
I was given Bernie, a calf from the university farm, who we did a full examination of checking his TPR (temperature, pulse, respiration), auscultating his heart, lungs, digestive tract and a neurological examination.
So he was given antibiotics, vitamins and expectorants which promote the secretion of sputum to treat his cough as we suspected a bacterial respiratory infection.

On the second day he was pretty much the same but on Wednesday he was looking much better. Temperature had come down and he wasn't coughing so hopefully the antibiotics are doing their job.
On Monday we also noticed he has swellings around the joint of his hindlimbs which had gone down by Thursday which indicates that was also a bacterial infection.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stella the Cow

Stella, one of the cows we use in Clinical Diagnostics, slipped over in the department earlier today and couldn't get back up. They thought she had slipped so took her some food and water but her appetite was low and still wasn't able to stand. She had a calf just over a month ago.
One of the vets gave her 40% glucose and Ca intravenously but it was pretty obvious that she wouldn't be able to stand so they put her on a trolley and moved her back to her stable. She was in sternal recumbency with her right hind leg out stretched unable to move it.
Rumen fluid samples were taken which showed she had 0 ruminal protozoa; these help digest food in the rumen. Students in my class collected rumen fluid from a healthy cow using PVC piping and gave Stella a rumen fluid transplant - something I'd never seen or heard of before.
She was given lots of fresh grass, hay and concentrates as well as access to fresh water.

Prof. Mudron the head of Ruminants clinic came and did a neurological exam and she couldn't feel anything in the leg with no response to superficial (pin prick test) or deep (with forceps) pain sensation tests. He was really worried it was damage to the femoral nerve with complete paralysis and a poor prognosis. Videos were taken so he could check progress over the next few days.
An IV catheter was placed into her left ear for 10 litres of isotonic solution NaCl+ with glucose as well as Novasul (containing metamizole, a spasmolytic and analgesic/pain relief) and Menbutone (to aid digestion) injections. 
The way the vet showed us the IV catheter was so clever. They attach a retractable dog lead to the bottle of saline and clip the end to the cows halter, the IV line is taped to the lead so that when the cow moves the line moves with her and she cannot pull it out.
An hour later and after the hoist was removed, she remained standing so Mudron repeated the reflex tests and sensation had returned to the leg as she was responding to the pin prick test which showed the femoral nerve pathways to the brain were still intact.
She is bedded down on lots of straw and will be turned several times throughout the day and lifted with a sling to be milked to keep her comfortable and reduce the risk of mastitis.

Blood samples were taken to look for markers in the blood indicating muscle damage to try and get an idea of what was going on; she has low serum protein, high Leukocytes (white blood cells) and low PCV.

If she can't stand up by herself in the next few days prognosis is poor for muscular and neurological damage.