Monday, December 24, 2012


Well, this post is being written from home in CT!  I took my clinical exam (OSCE) on Thursday morning.  It consisted of 16 stations at which I had to perform various skills including:

Station 1: demonstrate how to obtain an EKG from a dog, and how to obtain a doppler blood pressure on a dog

Station 2: draw blood (in this case it wasn't actually blood but rather some red colored fluid) from a jugular vein on a dog model, select a tube needed for a certain blood test, and demonstrate how to run a hematocrit (this shows the animal's red blood cell level in an animal's blood).

Station 3: put on a sterile surgical gown and sterile gloves, and drape a patient for surgery with sterile drapes

Station 4: demonstrate the proper technique for small animal radiographs and run the radiograph machine

Station 5: use the ultrasound machine to identify objects in a model, and demonstrate how to open a sterile bowl and properly pour sterile saline into the bow.

Station 6: demonstrate three different suture patterns: cushing pattern, simple interrupted pattern, and cruciate pattern

Station 7: scrub my hands and arms for surgery, and perform open gloving technique

Station 8: insert and secure an IV catheter in a model

Station 9: I was told to get the bay mare out of her stall so I had to choose her out of probably 6 or 7 different horses and bring her out of her stall.  Then, I had to demonstrate different twitch positions, where you would check for a pulse near their feet (I failed to find the pulse), and how to pick up a front leg, and explain how to pick up a back leg.

Station 10: take a horse's heartbeat, show where a horse's lungs lie in their body, take a rectal temperature on a horse, assess the horse's mucous membrane color (their gums) and moistness, point out where I would listen to the horse's cecum at

Station 11: put on a cow halter (I ended up putting it on upside down, go me!), tie it as if you wanted to draw blood from the cow's jugular vein, demonstrate how to tie a tail tie (used when you want to tie the tail out of the way so you can work on a cow or horse's hind end with the tail out of the way), and explain and show the techniques required to perform a blood draw from the cow's coccygeal vein

Station 12: demonstrate reflective listening, take a cow's rumen contraction rate, identify the two large lymph nodes that are palpable on a cow and name them, name the bony protuberances of the hip and leg that are used as landmarks when figuring out how thin a cow is

Station 13: ask an open-ended and a close-ended question, wrap a horse's leg correctly

Station 14: intubate a model dog head, follow the flow of air through an anesthesia machine while naming parts of the machine, calculate a drug dose

Station 15: identify various instruments used when administering large amounts of drugs to large animals and demonstrate how to use some of them

Station 16: approach a client as if I was the doctor and communicate with them effectively, demonstrate proper restraint of a dog for various procedures

All in all, it wasn't really that bad of an exam and I think I did alright.  It was nice because we could actually get feedback from the professors/technicians at each station at the end of that station to see where we need to improve (such as put a cow halter on the right way) and where we did well.

Thursday I was supposed to fly to CT however snow and wind made it so I didn't fly out until Friday.  Then last night we had our Gerber Christmas, it was loads of fun, pictures will be coming once I end up back in Illinois! Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One More Day!

Well, the semester has rapidly wound down.  I have my clinical exam tomorrow from 8-12 and then it's off to Connecticut for Christmas break!  Yesterday after studying for awhile for the clinical exam I took off for Tremont.  Last night I watched one of my cousins sing and another play the saxophone in the band. Then this morning, I got to watch my littlest cousin on my Dad's side (he's in kindergarten) sing as well.  It was pretty cute, watching all those kindergarteners singing away up there on the risers.  It was an awful lot better than sitting in Champaign twiddling my thumbs, that's for sure! 

So, tomorrow's exam will consist of 16 stations.  At each station a faculty member or technician will be asking us to perform various tasks such as sewing different suture patterns, performing an exam on a cow, placing an IV catheter in a model, scrubbing in for surgery, etc while they observe and critique us on paper.  We have ten minutes at each station so a total of 160 minutes of testing with 15 minute breaks thrown in at various times.  It will be the first exam I've ever taken like this but it will be good to see where my strengths and weaknesses are clinically. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Milestone Exam

This morning was my milestone exam.  It was 150 multiple choice questions covering material from the beginning of vet school until now.  It wasn't really too bad although there were quite a few questions involving cranial nerves which I had no idea what the answer was.  A couple of my friends came over this afternoon and we continued our review for the clinical exam which begins tomorrow.  My exam time is Thursday morning so I have a couple days before mine.  Just three more days and I will be back home in Connecticut!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Final Week of Rotations

This past week was my final week of rotations.  Altogether, it was fine, I definitely learned a lot on how to perform an ultrasound and how to read an ultrasound.  It was a little long to spend a whole week focusing on ultrasounds but it was fine.  It definitely helped that the group of kids I was on it with were awesome!   Last night the young group had our annual Christmas party and I attained a caterpillar in alcohol as my gift from the white elephant exchange.  Tomorrow is the Christmas Program in Champaign so I am looking forward to it.  Monday will be my milestone exam and Thursday my clinical exam. 

You know you're in vet school when......
You're eating lunch with one of your classmates and he says, "these macaroni noodles look like aortas."  Yup, we're definitely nerds, no question about it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This week has been moving right along, it's hard to believe it's already Wednesday afternoon!  I am on ultrasound rotation this week. Although it can get kinda boring at times, it is pretty good for the most part.  I have learned a lot about how to use the ultrasound machine and where to find various organs when ultrasounding an animal's abdomen.  I have also had a few lectures on various imaging topics including x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, nuclear medicine, and MRI.  I saw the MRI machine that we have here at school for the first time which was pretty neat. Some of my classmates have been bringing in their own pets for us to practice ultrasounding on which is really helpful.  I definitely feel like ultrasound is one of those things that requires you to practice and practice in order to get good at it.  On another note, I have been hanging out in the CSLC this week quite a bit relearning some of the clinical skills I learned last year.  Even though my clinical exam is not until next Thursday, the CSLC closes Friday at 5pm and after that we can't get in.  Even though I don't have to pass the exam, I'd rather not look like a total fool in front of the faculty that will be assessing us! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Catching Up

My regulatory medicine rotation finished up on Friday.  Thursday afternoon we presented our group projects on foreign animal diseases and then did a smaller project.  Friday morning we had a lecture on different chicken diseases and then dissected chickens.  It was kind of neat, I hadn't dissected a chicken in awhile so it was a nice refresher.  In the afternoon on Friday, we checked out different ticks underneath a microscope, they look pretty large and gross underneath the microscope I must say!  We finished the week going over the different animal health forms that we filled out for homework.  The rotation overall was better than I was expecting.  Once Monday and Tuesday were over, it was actually pretty good! 

This past weekend I went to Bloomfield Iowa with some folks from Tremont Illinois.  We christmas caroled on Saturday night and then went to Bloomfield church on Sunday. I had never been there before but I had a really good time! 

This week is the last week of my clinical rotations and I am on ultrasound.  I am hoping that week will pass quickly!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reg Med Day 3 and 1/2 of Day 4

Yesterday we had a few lectures in the morning but at the end of the morning we put on a biosecrutiy suit and then were sprayed with a glowing powder.  Then we had to degown and then get scanned with a black light to see how contaminated with the powder our normal clothes were.  The object was to not have any powder on us but most of us had gotten contaminated.  Before we did the powder, the instructor took a photo of us (see below). Then in the afternoon we went out to the veterinary research farm to work on cows.  First we scanned their electronic ear tags and learned how to put the information into a hand held information device.  Then we aged them by looking at their teeth.  Next up was the caudal tail fold test.  This is a test that is used to test a cow for exposure to tuberculosis.  Normally you inject about .1mL of tuberculin antigen into the fold of the tail of each cow.  The tail fold connects the underside of the tail to the cows rump.  The antigen is injected intradermally, meaning into the skin, not below the skin like dog and cat vaccines go. However, we just injected saline, not the actual tuberculin antigen. We ended the afternoon learning how to draw blood from the coccygeal vein, the vein that runs directly in the middle of the underside of the cow's tail.  It was a much better day than Monday and Tuesday.

Now, today, we had a short lecture on transmissable spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).  These diseases include mad cow disease, scrapie in sheep and goats, and chronic wasting disease in deer.  Then, we went to the necropsy floor and learned how to collect the obex (it connects the spinal cord and the brainstem), the tonsils, and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes, tissues that are needed to test sheep for scrapie.  We end the morning with a 50 minute lecture on the investigative and enforcement agency of the USDA-APHIS.

Now, here's the photo (can you tell which one is me?):

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reg Med Rotation and Some Pictures (Finally!)

The past two days have been quite boring.  I am on regulatory medicine and mostly we sit and listen to different people talk about different aspects of being a vet for the government.  Tomorrow we do get to go out to the research farm for the afternoon so hopefully that will be better. I had some family down this past weekend from Tremont and a good time was had by all (or at least by me anyways!). 

Well, now after reading a bunch of words on my blog (or after checking my blog for pictures and only finding copious amounts of words and quickly leaving my blog at that point) you can now find some pics that highlight a couple events that I have recently attended.

Most of the pics are from my cousin Kasi's baptism day on November 18th.  She was baptized in Alto, Michigan most of my family was up there.  It was an awesome weekend!  Here are some photos:

First, it takes awhile to get our family together for a picture:
Wow, my posture leaves a lot to be desired in this picture! Also, nice face Heather!

Hey Uncle Mark, I think you got something on your shirt, see it?

Ten minutes later, we're almost there!

Now we're really close, if only Uncle Dan would smile that much for normal pictures!

Our trusty photographer, Ben:

This is the best one in my opinion, it is awfully hard to get a good one of everybody with such a large group!

Heidi and Rachel (Rachel drove out with my family and surprised Kasi)

Look at these beautiful ladies!

William and Kasi:

Amy Joy, she's too cute for her own good I think!

Kasi and her Connecticut cousins (probably her favorite cousins too ;))

Kasi and I (and Amy Joy, who happens to be beaming away while apparently trying to get away as well!)

Now, here's a couple pictures from our Young Group taffy pull last Thursday night.  It's always an entertaining time!

Kirk and Joel are really going at it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Critical Care Day 5

Yesterday was the last day of my critical care rotation.  As soon as we got there we brought a cat down for an ultrasound and found out that it had a large mass right where its small intestine meets its large intestine.  After obtaining a sample of the mass via a needle, it appeared that it was most likely cancer.  I have seen a lot of cancer since I've been on clinics, I never realized it was as prevalent as it really is.  In the afternoon we went the the CSLC and learned how to perform CPR on a dog and how to deal with clients whose pets have just died.  I really enjoyed the week, it was a really good rotation. 

Last night, I spent about 6.5 hours in the ER hanging out.  Pretty much the whole time was spent working on a cat that had a history of jumping out of its owners arms and down 8 steps and then landing a little funny.  Radiographs showed pneumomediastinum (air in the middle compartment of the chest in which the heart, esopahgus, trachea, lymph nodes and large blood vessels live) and pneumoretroperitoneum (air in the space surrounding the abdomen, the kidneys are located in the retroperitoneum).  They also suspected pneumothorax (air in the chest, around the lungs, this is different from pneumomediastinum which means air only in the middle compartment, not around the lungs).  We did end up finding pneumothorax so a chest tube was put in and attached to a vacuum to pull air out.  Unfortunately, it was a continuous pneumothorax, meaning that although we were pulling air out, air was getting in through somewhere.  A CT scan was run however that was inconclusive.  However, they are suspecting a tracheal tear, where a tear/hole is made in the cat's windpipe.  When I left, the cat was in ICU still on the vacuum and given a strong painkiller.  I'm not sure what will happen from here. 

Tomorrow I have some family coming to Champaign for church and the afternoon/evening so that should be fun.  I hope everyone has/had a great weeekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Critical Care Days 3 and 4

Yesterday and today were pretty busy days at school for me on my critical care rotation.  Yesterday morning was rather uneventful but in the afternoon we got heavily involved in a case involving a 2yr old great dane who presented with pneumonia.  He was very thin and he was working very hard at breathing, his sides were heaving everytime he would breathe.  In the early afternoon we took him down to ultrasound where a doctor used the ultrasound to help her take a needle and poke his left lung so we could see what we could get out of his chest.  However, after this, he then developed pneumothorax.  Pneumothorax is literally "air in the chest." Pneumo: air,  thorax: chest.  This is bad because in order for your lungs to expand when you breathe in, there must be negative pressure in your chest.  When room air gets into the chest, then there is too much air pressure pushing on the lungs so the lungs cannot expand like they should.  So, we ended up putting in a chest tube, a tube that goes through the body wall and directly into the chest. We then brought him down to x-ray to take some radiographs to make sure that the tube was correctly placed.  While the x-rays were taking place, I was using a syringe to draw air out of his chest to try to help him out.  After the x-rays, a vacuum was placed onto his chest tube to help suck air out of his chest.  Unfortunately, the cytology (studying the cells that came out of the chest when they poked his lung with the needle) came back as suspicious carcinoma (a type of cancer). The suspicious means that the cells look like they could be carcinoma cells but they could not say that it was definitely a carcnoma. At this point the owner elected euthanasia.  This afternoon, a necropsy was done on this dog and it appeared that the dog did have a severe pneumonia, so bad that only about 20% of his lungs were even usable anymore.  No wonder he was breathing so hard.  When I left, they had not found any evidence of carcinoma but they were not even close to done with the necropsy yet.  Anyways, that one case made yesterday and today pretty interesting.  I have one more day on critical care and then the weekend is here.  However, tomorrow night I am going to be in the ER again just for fun to help out and try to learn some more. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Critical Care Days 1 and 2

Yesterday and today were my first two days on my Critical Care rotation.  We have been slightly slow but the doctor who is in charge of us has been awesome.  She goes over the cases that are in the ICU and asks us questions about them.  We have also gone to the Clinical Skills Learning Center and learned how to make blood smears, put in IV catheters, how to use various fluid pumps, and practiced drawing blood from jugular veins and cephalic veins (on the front legs) on dog models.  So far, although there hasn't been a lot of hands on work with the animals, it has been really good thanks to the doctor spending a lot of time with us. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Diagnostic Day 5, Thanksgiving Break

It's been 10 days but I am back.  My fifth and final day of my diagnostic rotation consisted of a lecture on forensic pathology (working on animals that were abused when they were alived) and also a lab in which we practiced making and reading blood smears as well as reading hematocrits/packed cell volumes (where we determine the percentage of red blood cells in the blood) and TP (total protein: the amount of protein in the serum).  After lunch we went on the necropsy floor and helped with a horse and cow necropsy and saw part of a puppy necropsy.  All in all, the rotation was a little boring for me just because I had already done a lot of the stuff at my job at UCONN but it was still fine. 

After school Friday I drove to Forrest, IL to eat dinner with my uncle and aunt and another couple from CT.  After dinner I drove to Tremont, IL and then Saturday it was off to Alto, Michigan for my cousin's baptism.  I had an awesome weekend in Michigan.  Pictures will be coming shortly. 

This past week, Dad, Mom, Evan, and Carla were in Illinois so I got to spend time with them which was really nice.  We were in Tremont on Thanksgiving.  They left Friday morning early and I went to Eureka to spend some time with my cousins there (I even went to some stores with them on Friday evening, my first time ever going to a store on Black Friday that I can remember.  However, I got a nice flannel shirt for Evan for 2.50 so it was worth it, and yes he knows about it so I am not ruining a surprise by putting it on here).  Then Saturday (yesterday) it was off to El Paso, IL to spend some time with more extended family and I was in Gridley for church today.  I had a really nice time getting to know some of my second cousins better while in El Paso/Gridley.  Now it is back to it as I start rotations again.  This week I have Small Animal Critical Care so I will be spending a lot of time in the ICU.  Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Diagnostics Days 3 and 4

Yesterday my group took our agar plates from Tuesday and checked them for bacteria and then picked a couple bacterial colonies to put by themselves so that we could get that certain bacteria all by itself.  Then today we attempted to identify the bacteria that we had isolated.  Also yesterday we learned how to perform fine needle aspirates (where you stick a needle into a tissue to try to get some cells and fluid out of the tissue so you can figure out what might be going on in that tissue.  This is commonly done in masses).  Today we learned how to perform full urinalyses (analysis of an animal's urine) and also sat in on gross pathology rounds where fourth year vet students who are on their diagnostic rotation present some necropsy cases that have presented to the lab.  Tomorrow we will learn about bloodwork and forensic pathology and then get to hang out on the necropsy floor with the 4th years in the afternoon.  Then it will be off to Tremont tomorrow and then off to Alto, Michigan on Saturday for my cousin's baptism!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diagnostics Days 1 and 2

This week I am on diagnostic medicine.  This basically entails necropsies (animal autopsies), biopsies (identifying tumors, etc that have been removed from live animals), and virus and bacteria testing.  Yesterday was pretty boring as it was basically kind of an introduction and we iddn't do anything fun.  This morning however, we did pig necropsies and then learned some of the ways that the lab at school does virus testing.  Finally, we learned how to take a pig liver and intestine and put them onto agar plates to test them for bacteria.  Now tonight, I am going to be making soup kits for World Relief at Brown House.  Three more days and Thanksgiving break will be here!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Internal Med Day 5

Yesterday my fourth year and I did not have a case initially but actually ended up with one since one of the other fourth years got bit by the cat that was her case.  So, my fourth year and I inherited the cat.  It had what appeared to be an ulcer in its mouth, right on the side of its tongue.  However, upon sedation, it was found that it was more like a growth/tumor.  An FNA (fine needle aspirate: a needle is stuck into the tumor and then whatever cells/fluid that comes out is examined under the microscope) was taken and it looked kind of like it may be lymphoma but they weren't sure.  Lymphoma is a type of cancer involving lymphocytes, important cells of the animal's immune system.  When I left yesterday, it still had not been determined what the actual cause of the tumor was.  Yesterday afternoon, my classmates and I took turns presenting a case to one of the faculty members. After that, it was finish up any work that had to be done and then head away from school.

Last night, I even got to eat dinner with my sister Heidi!  She is out here with a group of girls from Connecticut and we had dinner together in Champaign.  It was nice to see her even if for just a short while!

This morning I was up at 6AM and to school for 7AM to help with a couple cases that were at school in the internal medicine department.  I was the only second year there so I got to help a couple different fourth years.  I even got to do my first saphenous vein blood draw on a dog.  The saphenous vein is the vein that runs along the lateral (towards the outside) side of the dog's back leg.  When we were done there I ended up popping into ER because I saw they had a neurologic cat coming in and asked if I could hang out and watch/help out.  They were more than happy to have me help out as they were short on people.  The cat came in and was almost unresponsive. It ended up being euthanized.  Also, a dog came in with a swollen belly.  We did some blood work and found that the dog had an extremely low platelet count.  Platelets are the fragments of cells in an animal's blood that help form a clot when a blood vessel is broken.  When the platelets are very low, it is hard for the animal to make a clot so they have a tendency to bleed.  For those that are interested, this condition of having very low platelet levels is called thrombocytopenia.  Thrombo: clot, cyto: cell, penia: decreased/low levels.  We also did an abdominal ultrasound and found numerous masses on the liver and some on the spleen.  There was also a considerable amount of free fluid in the abdomen which was presumed to be blood as the dog was also anemic (low levels of red blood cells in the blood). However, we did not tap the abdomen (take a needle and put it into the abdomen to see what kind of fluid was actually in there) due to the dog's tendency to bleed.  This was obviously bad news and the owners decided to take the dog home on some pain medications and when the dog started to suffer, they would have it euthanized.  So, I'm not sure if it was me or what, but the three or four hours I spent in ER ended in death sentences for two patients!  I was really glad that I stayed and took part in the procedures and the people in ER were really glad I was there to lend a hand!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Harvest Party

Two Thursday night's ago (11-1) we had our Harvest Party with the Sunday School kids at the Banwarts.  It was a nice to spend some time with the kids.  After pizza, it was time to have some activities.  The first one involved blowing up balloons and tying them around your ankles and then running around trying to pop everyone else's balloons while not letting yours get popped! 

After that it was pin the leaf on the tree:

Finally, it was the pumpkin pinata!

It was a good time and I think the kids definitely enjoyed it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Internal Med Day 4

Today was considerably better than the last three days as my fourth year and I finally had a legitimate case!  We had a chesapeake bay retriever who presented to us for increased drinking and peeing (polydipsia and polyuria or PU/PD as we call it at school) as well as possible slight discomfort when peeing.  The dog had had an enlarged prostate gland but was neutered and that seemed to help shrink the prostate.  For those that care to know, enlarged prostates can cause a dog to have trouble peeing and pooping (urinating and defecating are the official terms for this).  We ran blood work, did an abdominal ultrasound and even stuck a needle into the prostate gland to see what kind of cells/fluid we could pull out of it.  Nothing out of the ordinary came up on any of those diagnostic tests.  Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes!  It was awfully nice to actually have something to take up a few straight hours of my day, that's for sure! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Internal Med Day 3

Today was yet another slow day for me on rotations.  While the other second years and their respective fourth years keep somewhat busy, my fourth year and I just haven't had much luck in attaining many patients.  We do have a Rhodesian Ridgeback coming in tomorrow for incontinence which will be our appointment so hopefully that will be interesting.  We will see!

I guess I never mentioned how my overnight shift on ER went or my Sunday in Princeville.  The overnight shift was great.  I barely got tired as we had something going on pretty much all night.  I got to the ER at 4pm on Saturday and left just a hair before 3AM (really 4AM without the time change) Sunday morning.  I really enjoyed it a lot.  It was actually quite nice with the rest of the hospital being so quiet.  I got to bed around 315AM and then my alarm went off at 630AM so I could drive two hours to Princeville.  Needless to say, I was quite tired after church so took a nice nap before we had our Rockville potluck.  I had a good time at the potluck, it was nice to catch up with everybody.  There were quite a few kids running around and making a bunch of noise, that's for sure.  At one point, someone asked me what I thought about all the kids running and screaming, etc.  My response, "It's good birth control."  All in all it was a really good weekend!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Internal Med Days 1 and 2

This week I am on small animal internal medicine.  Yesterday and today were both pretty boring as my fourth year student has had only one case and even that case wasn't very much work.  This afternoon we had a short lecture on how to perform good physical exams.  Other then that I've done a lot of sitting around.  Hopefully the next few days will be better!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

ER Day 5

Yesterday was Day 5 of my ER rotation.  There were only two fourth years and then three of us second years so I was able to be pretty involved which was nice.  I pulled blood from my first dog yesterday, I had never done it before.  When they said they wanted me to take it from the jugular vein (the big vein that runs along the dog's neck) I was a bit nervous but the tech helped me out and guided me and I succeeded.  We also had a cocker spaniel that came in vomiting and diarrhea and it turned out that he has pancreatitis.  Now he gets to hang out with us for awhile while he tries getting better.  Normally this would signal the end of my rotation and I would be free for the weekend.  However, not so this weekend.  Today I need to be in the ER at 4pm and will be there til around 3AM tomorrow morning or so.  Normally it would be an 11hr shift but with the time change tonight it will be 12 hours instead!  Then tomorrow it's off to Princeville for Rockville potluck!  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ER Days 3 and 4

The past couple days have been pretty uneventful.  We were semi-busy in ER yesterday and today we were pretty slow.  Tomorrow I have to be in the ER from 7am to 6pm as I have to cover those hours as most of the fourth years are going to be gone.  I hope that we will be semi-busy so I can learn some stuff but not overly busy as I am not quite at a fourth year level yet!  We will see how it goes.  Tonight we did have our Harvest Party with the Sunday School kids.  Pics to come!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ER Day 2

Today started out slowly but got busier as the day went on.  During part of the morning we were in the CSLC to learn how to read PCV (packed cell volume, this measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood), TP (total protein in the blood) and also how to make and read blood smears.  In the afternoon we were back in the CSLC to learn how to fill out ICU flow sheets which has pretty much all the info on a certain animal including what drugs it needs and when, what fluids it needs, how much of them and when, etc.  Throughout the course of the day I also got to see some pretty neat cases.  I saw a rat terrier that got into rat poison.  I was only involved for awhile and eventually it went to ICU so I don't know the final outcome of it.  I also saw a huge dog that was with its owners who were traveling from Georgia and ended up getting sick.  The owners were under the impression that the dog had some kind of infection that could be treated.  Unfortunately, after doing some testing on it, the dog was found to have lymphoma.  This is a cancer in which your lymphocytes (white blood cells that help fight infection) proliferate uncontrolled.  Unfortunately, the dog ended having to be euthanized.  There was also a nice old beagle that came in in the afternoon.  It was not walking on its hind legs.  However, it was noted that the dog did have a mammary tumor between its hind legs.  After taking x-rays, it was noted that there was a problem with one of the vertebrae in its back.  It was thought that it was probably cancer in the spine which probably had come from its mammary tumor.  That dog did go home today but was going to be brought to its regular vet for euthanasia.  Also, at some point in the morning/early afternoon we had a Yorkshire Terrier that came in for a supposed hit by car.  It was not walking on its hind legs.  However, upon examination, it was determined that the dog had not been hit by a car but was actually most likely suffering from IVDD or intervertebral disc disease.  This occurs when one of your vertebral discs that separate the bones of your back from each other actually pops out of place and pushes up on the spinal cord.  This can then lead to severe problems with the parts of the body more towards the butt of that patient from the squished spinal cord.  The owners had not seen the dog get hit by the car and the dog was not badly bruised or scraped up at all leading to the suspicion that there was probably no car involved. Dogs with IVDD can be fine one second and then all the sudden go down and not be able to walk which is what happened to that dog.  That little Yorkie ended up getting back surgery to fix the problem and hopefully, with the help of rehab, will be able to walk again.  Well, thats my day in a nutshell (albeit, a rather large nutshell).  So far I have really loved ER, it's been really interesting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend/ER Day 1

This past weekend my friend was baptized in our church here in Champaign.  Saturday before his testimony he got a group of people together to paint some offices and the church area for Restoration Urban Ministries.  Then after the baptisms on Sunday I went out for my roommates birthday with his family for dinner and then went to some friends house to spend some time with them and some of their family.  It was a great weekend, I really enjoyed it.

Today marked the first day of my small animal emergency medicine rotation.  It started a little slow but we did go to CSLC to learn how to draw blood from veins, learn about the different types of needles and catheters and to learn about different fluid pumps and monitoring machines.  I did get to see a dog that had to go into surgery since it looked like it had a foreign body in its intestines as well as a dog that was having bloody diarrhea.  I was kept pretty busy most of the afternoon with the dog who had to have surgery.  Also on this rotation I have to act as a fourth year this weekend.  Normally us second years don't have to be around on weekends.  However, a number of the ER fourth years are going to some conference this weekend so us second years have to act as fourth years in their place this weekend.  My two shifts are Friday from 7AM to 6PM and then Saturday at 4PM to Sunday at 3AM.  All of us second years are a little intimidated and nervous but also excited about this opportunity to do this.  I will definitely let you know how it goes!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ortho Day 5

Today was a rather slow day which was totally fine with me.  I helped my fourth year take care of her two cases in the morning and then headed off to colloquium where we learned about managing a practice.  Then it was back to the clinic where I spent a lot of time just hanging out and talking with other people since my fourth year didn't have any surgeries or new cases.  I did have my clinical skills assessment this afternoon which went fine.  I had to drape a patient, scrub in for surgery, identify surgical tools and perform hand-ties while being watched by the faculty.  After that it was back to the clinic for rounds and then that was the end.  I really enjoyed my week on orthopedic surgery.  The fourth years were awesome and I learned a lot from them!  I also received my final exam grade and I should be good to continue on in my veterinary schooling as I didn't flunk out so I am happy.  I will be in Champaign this weekend as we have a baptism so am looking forward to that.  Next week I will be on small animal ER!  Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ortho Day 4

Today again started at about 630 as my fourth year and I took care of her two patients that are in the ortho ward.  Then it was off to CSLC to learn how to bandage legs.  Then, back to the hospital to go into a couple appointments, both dogs coming in for rechecks and both dogs were doing well!  It got pretty busy today in ortho.  There were three dogs that came in for appointments and ended up getting CT scans so that was neat, I got to see my first CT scans!  After spending some time in the ortho ward, it was back to CSLC to practice sewing on real stomachs, intestines, and arteries.  We practiced how to tie off the arteries during a surgery to prevent them from bleeding everywhere.  Then we ended the day as usual with rounds, reviewing the different patients we had currently there in the ortho ward.  Tomorrow morning will be my third straight morning of being to school for 630, so I best be getting off to bed!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ortho Day 3

Today I got to school about 630am to help my fourth year take care of her patients.  We had the cutest little miniature pinscher who had a big surgery today to take care of.  We had to get her exam done and have her in anesthesiology, where she would be "knocked out" by 730am.  After a boring 8-850 lecture on vaccinology (pretty much vaccines and vaccine schedules) I headed back to the clinic just in time to be able to go into the surgery room and watch the little min pin's surgery.  She had a "trochlear ridge recession and tibial tuberosity transposition."  This was all due to her luxating patellas (her kneecaps kept popping out of place).  It was really neat as I had a really good view and could see everything that was going on and was able to be pretty close to the surgery table.  After that it was time to head to the CSLC where we practiced different suture patterns on pieces of dog abdomens.  There are a lot of suture patterns and its going to take some serious practice to get them all down!  I ended the day with rounds (where we go over each case in the orthopedic ward).  Also, there were two other surgeries done by the orthopedic surgeons today.  One was an arthroscopy, where a scope was inserted into both of a dog's elbow joints and some stuff was taken out of its joints.  The second was a dog that broke part of its humerus (the big bone on it's front leg).   It had a screw and a pin inserted to help fix it.  Overall, it was a pretty good day and I definitely learned quite a bit!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ortho Day 2

I got to school today around 7am in time for morning rounds where the clinicians and fourth year students do a brief review of each of the cases present in the hospital (only in the ortho ward for us) at that time.  Then at 8am it was off to the clinical skills learning center to learn how to properly open a surgery pack and drape a patient.  After that, we went down to junior surgery suite to watch the third years as they spayed dogs and a few cats.  We were there for a couple of hours and then we headed back to clinical skills learning center to relearn hand ties.  Hand ties are sometimes used to tie sutures when you are in too tight of an area to really get your instruments down there to tie it.  After lunch we hung out a bit in the ortho ward.  I relearned how to find the PCV (packed cell volume which tells you the percentage of red blood cells in a patient's blood) and total protein of the blood.  I had done this back when I worked at the clinic however its been over three years since I've done it so it wasn't real fresh in my mind.  Then, at 2pm it was back to CSLC (I will refer to the clinical skills learning center as CSLC from now on) to relearn our suture patterns from last year as well as learn some new ones.  We even got to try some of them on fake intestines while the rest were done on suturing boards.  The real tissues come out tomorrow and Thursday.  Finally, it was back to the ortho ward for afternoon rounds.  Tomorrow morning I am going to school for 630am as my fourth year student has a dog who has double MLP (medial luxating patellas meaning both its knee caps are out of place) and will be having it surgically repaired tomorrow.  It should hopefully be pretty interesting!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Catching Up

Wow, it's been a little while since I've posted!  The main reason for this is that last week on Thursday and Friday, my final exam for the quarter took place so I didn't really do a whole lot other than study last week.  It's over and I think I passed.  Friday night I went out to dinner with some family in Eureka.  Saturday I went to College Weekend in Bloomington and then drove after that to my roommate's parents place in Fairbury.  Sunday I was at a wedding in Forrest.  It was an awesome weekend, mainly because I saw a lot of people and didn't have to worry about school! 

Now, today, I started clinics.  My schedule for my clinical rotations for this quarter is as follows:
Oct 22-26: Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery
Oct 29-Nov 2: Small Animal Emergency Medicine
Nov 5-Nov 9: Small Animal Internal Medicine
Nov 12-16: Diagnostic Medicine
Nov 26-30: Small Animal Critical Care
Dec 3-7: Regulatory Medicine
Dec 10-14: Ultrasound
The last week of school will consist of what we call the OSCE.  I don't actually know what it stands for but it is basically a big clinical skills exam.  I will take the written part on Mon Dec 17 and my clinical part (where I have to perform various clinical skills such as scrubbing into surgery, prepping a patient for surgery, etc in front of faculty and technicians who grade me) will take place on Thurs Dec 20th.  I will then fly home on the 20th.

Today was the first day of small animal orthopedic surgery.  From 8-850 our class had a lecture on ways we could further our education after we graduate vet school (just what we all want to think about, more schooling!).  Then it was off to the clinics.  My fourth year I was shadowing only had a dog who came in for a recheck so it wasn't too crazy.  However, the fourth years were awesome, teaching us second years about TPLO's, TTA's, LFS's, etc.  (Does anyone actually know what those letters stand for?).  In the afternoon our group went to the Clinical Skills Learning Center and, along with the second years who are on soft tissue surgery rotation this week, learned (relearned really since we did it last year however I didn't remember near everything) how to scrub up for surgery, put on a sterile gown and gloves, prep the patient's surgical site, etc.  It was nice to go over it again, since it is important to know how to do that when you are in practice.  We ended the day getting a lecture on the different kinds of sutures and the different suture patterns and what they are good for followed by "rounds" in the orthopedic ward.  Well, I'm gonna head off to bed, I need to be at school for 7am tomorrow morning, yippee!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend/Week Ahead

My weekend went as follows:
Friday night: studied
Saturday: studied all day
Sunday: went to Champaign church and then went to Normal Community High School (right next to our Bloomington church) for a Christmas Carol singing lesson for song leaders.  I really enjoyed the lesson and learned how to sing some new Christmas songs as well.  Then tonight I studied some more. 
My week will be as follows:
Monday: 4 hours of general pathology lecture in the morning followed by 3 hours of general pathology lab in the afternoon.  Then off to take the final (not hard at all, not actually even graded) for my Fish Med and Surgery class.  Then study for the remainder of the evening.
Tuesday: study all day
Wednesday: study all day
Thursday: take part 1 of the final exam, then after a short break, study the rest of the day
Friday: take part 2 of the final exam, then run away from Champaign for the weekend (I figure I deserve a break!)
Hope everyone has a more exciting week than I'm gonna have!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fish Lab

Well, the week is cruising right on by, one more day I will have have already completed 7 weeks, it's crazy how the days/weeks just keep on trekking!  The week has been pretty uneventful so far.  Yesterday, I did have my lab for my fish medicine and surgery class.  Now, to set the record straight, I have very little interest in going into fish medicine.  However, the class is an easy elective, and with all the time I spend on my core classes, I wanted an easy elective!  Anyways, yesterday we broke off into pairs and we each got a small live goldfish.  First we had to anesthetize it which involved dumping it into a bucket of water containing MS-222, an anesthetic.  Once it was "out" we pulled them out of the water and placed them on moist paper towels.  Then we performed a physical exam, did a skin scraping, clipped the gills (used to check and see whether there is anything wrong with the gills by looking at them under the microscope) and drew blood from the fish's heart (you actually stick the needles right into the fish's heart and pull the blood from there).  The fish were so small that we didn't take much blood at all, it was more to get a feel for how it is done. It was pretty neat, actually working on live animals after sitting around in class for 6.5 weeks straight!

 Interesting fact: fish only have two chambers to their heart (not four like us); one atrium and one ventricle!  The blood from the body goes into the atrium, then into the ventricle and then it is pushed out of the ventricle and travels to the gills which is where the blood picks up the oxygen to bring to the rest of the fish's body.

This weekend I will remain in Champaign minus a little trip to Bloomington for a song leader Christmas Carol lesson.  Our final exam is a week from today and tomorrow, I cannot wait for it to be over!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Why hello there folks!  Things have been good out here in Illinois!  I completed week 6 of school successfully and the weekend was good.  I had a weenie roast Friday night and then vet school open house today.  Open house went real well, I always enjoy interacting with people from the community.  Tonight we had some friends over our apartment for dinner (just a young couple from church and their daughter.  We had a nice time, it's better than being alone on a Sunday evening, that's for sure!  While we were together, I had a picture taken of me and their rather adorable little girl, Piper. 
She was quite smiley for the camera!  She's a real pipsqueak, I'm pretty sure everyone loves her!  This is my last full week of class.  Next week I will only have class on Monday and then have two days off before taking my final on Thursday (10-18) and Friday (10-19).  I can't believe the quarter is almost over!  Next quarter I will be in clinics, I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Hello!  I have been quite busy here in Champaign.  This past weekend I was in Tremont for some baptisms.  I even got to see some folks from Connecticut which was a nice surprise!  Now it's back to studying.  I am currently studying (or supposed to be studying but I'm procrastinating right now) different types of inflammation, doesn't that just sound thrilling?!  This coming weekend is the vet schools open house so I will be working at on Sunday from 1230 to 430 or so.  I like the afternoon shift so that I can be in church in the morning.  Well, I think that inflammation is calling my name, adios!

Friday, September 28, 2012


I received my midterm grade today and was pleased with it so now I can move on towards the final!  What fun things I have to look forward to!  Week 5 of school is over, I cannot believe how the time is flying.  Only three more weeks of class until clinics!  Today we switched to a different professor for our immunology class.  Unfortunately, he speaks extremely fast and with an accent so that we can only pick up part of what he says.  There were times where he would say a sentence and I couldn't tell even one word of what he said.  I would look at my classmates next to me and they were having the same problem I was, talk about a real fun time!  Oh well, at least the week is over.  I hope to get all my studying done tonight so I can take tomorrow and Sunday off and go to Tremont.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just a Couple More Pics

Here are a couple pics I forgot to throw in from the Sunday School Camp out.  These are of the whole group, although six of the girls and one of the guys did leave before the picture was taken. 

Today was back to regular lecture and back to my normal studying, not the insane before the exam studying.  We covered 84 slides in 50 minutes in toxicology.  That class is ridiculous, we blow through the slides like crazy.  Oh well, only three weeks and three days and I will be done for the quarter and on to clinics 'til Christmas!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Midterm Exam and Sunday School Campout

This past Friday and today was my midterm exam for our first quarter of school.  I had general pathology and immunology lecture on Friday (104 questions) and then immunology lab, toxicology, pharmacology, and genetics today (96 questions).  I think altogether I did alright.  I was more worried about the part today but I felt that it was better than I was expecting overall although there were a few genetics questions that I had no idea on.  But, I will find out how I really did soon!

In the midst of studying like crazy for the midterm exam, I went to the Sunday School campout where the U of I young group takes the Sunday School kids camping.  I have a few photos I figured I would share.  I really enjoyed myself as I think most of the people there did (or I hope they did anyways.)
Here's the photos:

 One of the activities was to split up into groups and see who could make the tallest, free-standing newspaper tower.  However, just as we were beginning, it started to rain which made the activity more challenging. These pictures are of my group working hard (except for me who is too busy taking photos)

 This was a game in which a part of it involved "rock, paper, scissors." I am not going to describe the whole game here.  However, the girl in the red opposing me is a second cousin of mine who lives in Athens, Alabama but happened to be in Champaign this past weekend so came to the campout.  She is actually a U of I alum.

 We also played capture the flag except it was more like "Capture Waldo" or something like that.  This is Drew and Ryan dressed as Waldo:
 Ever baked cookies over the fire? Most of them didn't turn out very good but there were some that were actually edible!
 Thank you for smiling Mackenzie!

 Kaleb getting serious about bakign cookies over the fire:
 Time for breakfast!
 Bacon and eggs!
You maybe noticed that in numerous pictures, there are doughnuts being heated over the fire.  They are quite delicious! The campout was a nice break from studying!

Now, it is back to the regular routine of class during the day, studying at night.  This weekend I hope to be in Tremont for the baptisms of a couple of my second cousins as well as to visit my grandparents.  Now that the midterm is over, I can travel around a little bit like that again!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome Student Picnic (and other events of the past week)

Hello!  I have just a bit to write about but will make it as long-winded as possible.  This past Wednesday was the Illini Grove cookout where the church and students get together in place of church and have a picnic together.  Well, that meant that Stephen (the VP of the young group) and myself were going to be in charge of grilling hamburgers.  Since I had class at 5 (and the picnic started at 530) I was going to help Stephen grill for awhile and then he would finish while I went to class.  However, upon lighting the grill at the house that he lives (for those of you who know about the Salt Shaker/Shaker/Shake, that's where he lives) and sticking a burger on (we opened the boxes and they were all frozen solid, which I didn't realize), the whole interior of the grill proceeded to go up in flames and send nasty dark smoke billowing from it.  Now, the grill is right on the wooden front porch of the house and is practically connected to the house.  So, I was a tad bit worried about the house since the grill didn't want to settle down even after Stephen shut the propane off.  Finally, it settled down (it was burning on a bunch of grease that was all over the grill apparently).  However, we had now lost almost an hour in time.  So, we came to our apartment, I skipped my class, and Stephen grilled, while I thawed the burgers in the microwave since they grilled better thawed.  Needless to say, we showed up at 610 for the 530 picnic with the main course, oops!  The people at the picnic didn't seem to mind too much though luckily. 

Then, on Thursday, we had a very teeny 8 question quiz in our toxicology class.  While going over the answers, some of my classmates got quite upset and argued incessantly with the two professors.  My classmates became quite rude in the process, making it a rather awkward situation for all of us.  This has been one thing that has surprised me in my vet school career thus far.  I was expecting a professional atmosphere with grown up students, however this is not the case.  Some of my classmates have a tendency to complain about everything and sometimes don't seem to know how to respect the professors and keep their traps shut. 

Finally, after a long day of studying yesterday I was able to go to Champaign church and see the new church.  It looks awesome!  Here's a blog of the church's remodel project if you're interested in checking it out:
It was a good day at church and there were a lot of visitors since the Welcome Student Picnic was today.  We had three visiting ministers too, one from Peoria, one from Princeville, one from Tremont.  After church it was time to get ready for the picnic and then it was time for the picnic.  I had an awesome time at the picnic.  I even got some exercise in (something I don't get a whole lot of while in vet school) playing ultimate frisbee.  To end the post, here is the picture of the students from tonight.  This is most of the students here in Champaign minus maybe 5 or so that weren't at the picnic:
Just to give you an idea of where everybody comes from:
The back row starting on the left is Andrew from Tokyo, Japan, Katie (our YG treasurer) from Tremont IL, Aly from Champaign IL, Michelle from Congerville IL, Tiera from Silverton OR, Michelle (our YG secretary) from Washington IL, Shannon from Forrest IL, Tess from Fairbury IL and then me from Rockville CT
The front row starting from the left are Kaleb from Fairbury IL, Ryan from Chicago IL, Caleb from Champaign IL, Justin from Goodfield IL, Micah from Fairbury IL, Drew from Congerville IL, Abe from Fairbury IL, and Stephen (our YG VP) from Princeville IL