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!