Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quick Update

Hi all, I had an awesome weekend in Eureka for David and Ashley's wedding.  Now this week, it's back to the grindstone, as I spend hours studying parasites, bacteria, and viruses.  The exam is less than two weeks away now so I have to keep chugging along.  I am keeping extremely busy between young group stuff, studying, and maybe a little bit of traveling on the weekends ;).  The next two weekends I plan to be in Champaign so I will be sticking around here a bit for awhile now.  Well, my bed is calling, g'nite!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2 Weeks Done!

Week 2 of school has come and gone, wow, I can hardly believe it!  The week was pretty uneventful.  The only thing out of the ordinary was my Thursday night duty.  I am taking a class (an elective) called Bereavement Issues in which we learn how to talk and deal with clients who are upset over having to euthanize a pet.  Well, one of the assignments for that class is to cover a 2 hour shift on the pet loss hotline that our school has.  The hotline is for pet owners who are having a hard time dealing with the loss of their pet and who want to talk to somebody for emotional support.  So, guess who was sitting at the hotline desk on Thursday night from 7-9pm?  Yup, me, the pet loss hotline expert!  I had two calls, one from a lady who was pretty upset over losing her cat, and one from another lady who was feeling guilty about having their dog put down, thinking that she should have brought it somewhere else to see if it could be healed.  It was a challenge for me, luckily I had a packet of tips and things to say so that helped me out when I talked to them.  I have to say though, it is easy for me to chuckle when I hear of somebody who is taking the loss of their pet so hard, however, working the hotline just for those two hours definitely helped open my eyes to how some pet owners really are super attached to their animals, and treat the animal death just about like they would treat a human death.  It really was a good experience for me and I think it enabled me to understand a little better the emotions that come from a pet owner like that, thus better enabling me to say the right things to them.  It was definitely me stepping out of my comfort zone, definitely going outside my box, but in the end, I am glad I did it.

Now, I'm going to be heading off to Eureka for a wedding tomorrow. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More Fun Facts and Sayings from Parasitology!

Parasitology.... there's always plenty of "interesting" things to learn and comments to hear from our professor.  Here are a few from today:

Flatworms only have a mouth and no butt, so as Dr. Paul put it, I guess you could say they're full of crap!

Tapeworms do not have a digestive tract, they get their nutrients by absorbing them directly through their skin.  Don't forget, tapeworms live in animals and humans gut!

There are a type of fluke that kills sheep and goats by essentially eating their liver.  Dr. Paul says, These flukes go around eating the liver, they also usually also have onions.

There are people in some parts of the world who, when they have conjunctivitis (infection of the tissue surrounding their eye), will split frogs, and then place the parts of frogs on their eye in attempt at healing.  However, by doing this, these people have given themselves young tapeworms which then mature near the person's eye and form a lump near the eye. So, when you have pinkeye, do not cut up frogs and place them over your eye, just go to the doctor and get medicine!

Beef tapeworms can get up to 90 feet long!

If people contract the larval form of the pork tapeworm, which can happen, the larvae can go to the brain and then cause seizures.  This is actually the number 1 cause of seizures in numerous states! If you want to impress your friends, this condition is called neurocysticercosis (neuro-cystee-serkosis), I'm sure your friends will be extremely impressed ;)

I had a good weekend this past weekend. I spent some time with my cousins and went to Goodfield for church.  This weekend I plan to be in Eureka for a wedding.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Week 1 Done

I have made it through my first week of the spring semester!  Things went fine, I am finding a lot of the information pretty interesting which is good, I'm kind of interested in the little bugs that cause disease in animals and since that's what most of our study is on this quarter (viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi) I'm liking it.  Now, I have a 3 day weekend for which I am excited!  I am going to spend some time with my cousins and go to Goodfield for church.  It will be nice to have a little break!  I am going to end with a couple more phrases courtesy of our parasitology professor Dr. Paul:

First, let me explain two things.  Cosmopolitan distribution means that the parasite is found all over the world where the environment is right for it, not only in one country.  Steatorrhea (Stee-at-or-ee-ah) is the presence of fat in the feces.  Okay, here they are:

Leishmania has a cosmopolitan distribution, which means it comes in vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.

Giardia can lead to malabsorption and maldigestion, and result in pasty diarrhea, pale, malodorous (smelly) feces, steatorrhea, North Korea, South Korea, and weight loss

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Only In Vet School....

Day 2 is done.  The first two lectures this morning weren't bad at all.  The third and fourth one? Well, those were another story, especially the third one.  I guess when the titles of the lectures are Enterobacteriaceae, I should have known!  Anyways, we all made it through the lectures and now we just have to study to figure out what was actually going on!  One thing that I did learn this morning is that Dr. Paul, our parasitology professor is quite a guy!  He is pretty funny and seems like he likes to have a good time.  Here are some statements made by him in class today (these are not direct quotes, I can't remember exactly how he said everything:

Why don't you see many ticks on cats? Because they lick them off!  They are cleaning fanatics!  Theyu're like, "Eww, I don't want any of this!"

How do you treat giardia?  I would say drink a lot of beer, beer does kill giardia!

While talking about how parasites have to go to the right places in the body, he said,
I find it really interesting, I mean, how do heartworms know to go to the heart? 
How do roundworms know to go to the GI tract?
How do fax machines work? I don't get it, you stick a piece of paper in it, and it comes out somewhere else? 
How do planes fly? You have a 600 kazillion ton thing and it just flies up in the air! 
There are lot of little mysteries in this world!

Needless to say, a lot of us were laughing quite a bit!

Finally, an interesting fact I learned today in parasitology: ticks have enough oxygen in them, that when they are feeding (don't forget, they feed on animals blood), they can go for 7-10 days without breathing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 1

Day 1 of the spring semester is finished!  It went just fine. We had an hour of pretty basic information regarding the course, then an hour of an intro to bacteriology and mycology (mycology is the study of fungi).  We ended with two hours of virology (the study of viruses) lecture.  This afternoon we had bacteriology lab where we did gram stains and plated tissues and fluid. Tomorrow I have one hour of learning the structure of bacteria, then have my first hour of parasitology lecture, and then get to spend two straight hours learning about intestinal bacteria. Aren't you jealous?!

Interesting fact from today's virology lecture: approximately 8% of your DNA is actually made up of DNA from viruses.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Break

 Christmas break officially ends tomorrow.  I was back in CT for Christmas and got to spend time with family and friends, always an enjoyable time.  We had out Gerber Christmas on Sunday the 23rd.  It was really nice to be able to be together with Mom's whole side of the family.  Here's some pics from the day:

 We decided to try to get family pictures
 Gramp and Gram and all the grandkids
 The Granddaughters
 The Grandsons
 Uncle Dale is indeed the baby of the family and apparently still likes to act like it
 Mom and Dad, Mom's siblings and spouses, and Gramp and Gram
 At some point in the evening, four of us cousins sat on chairs and leaned back onto each other's laps and then had the chairs pulled out from underneath us.

The Monday following was the Christmas for my immediate family.  New Years Eve brought the young group's annual Progressive Dinner.  I was on the appetizer committee.  Us five guys on the appetizer committee dressed up in bow ties and carried the appetizers around.  It was a fun evening. 

Well, now my break is pretty much over.  Tomorrow begins the vet school grind yet again.  I am sure, however, that the semester will scoot right on by and I will be out before I know it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Well, my Christmas break is almost over.  I fly back to Illinois on Friday.  I have kept pretty busy since the week of Christmas.  I have spent time with friends and helped get all the wallpaper ripped off the wall in my parents bedroom.  Yesterday morning I even got to refresh my necropsy skills by opening up a goat that had died.  It's been a good break, nice and laid back.  Since posts are admittedly more exciting when there's a picture included, here is a photo that Heidi took from our vacation to Cape Cod this past summer.  Apparently I even have friends in Cape Cod! ;)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You Know You're In Vet School When....

You are at a New Years Eve dinner and you take the little piece of rope that tied your napkin and make hobbles out of it.  Hobbles are used on animals to tie their feet in such a way that they cannot run around and was one of the potential clinical skills that I could have been asked to perform on the OSCE.