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!