Monday, September 30, 2013

My Surgery Dog is Here!

Today I met my victim, I mean patient, for my surgery tomorrow.  He is a very cute, extremely friendly 12 week old pit bull mix.  He is full of energy and he really makes me want to adopt him, however I just can't with all my traveling around I do and such.  I definitely think it would be neat to adopt the dog who I performed my first surgery on though!  At lunch break today I drew blood from him, performed a physical exam, and wrote up his exam report.  Two of my partners ran the bloodwork for me and my last partner Cari (who is going to be assistant surgeon tomorrow) helped restrain the dog for the exam.  When I first went to get blood I failed miserably at the jugular vein stick (the big vein in the neck) even though I could feel it very well which frustrated me quite a bit.  I finally drew the blood from the saphenous vein on the outside of the back leg.  This evening I had to draw a little more blood since we forgot to check his protein levels and I hit the jugular no problem, not sure what my deal was this afternoon.  After class, I drew the second round of blood, took just a heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature, clipped him up for surgery, typed up the exam report, and entered charges into the computer.  Again, my partner Cari helped me.  My other partners are Mike (who is the anesthetist this week) and Olga (who is the floater this week).  Tomorrow morning I have to be to school around 530AM to do another exam on our dog, and then start getting ready to do my surgery.  I will probably start the surgery around 830AM give or take a half hour or so.  I have to say, after today's events I am pretty excited about doing the surgery, just working with the dog was a lot of fun (especially since he is such a good dog, although quite wiggly!)  I will hopefully write here tomorrow to let you know how the actual surgery went (hopefully good!)

Sunday, September 29, 2013


This past weekend was busy but fun.  I spent the weekend at my cousins Heather and Andrea's place.  We sang a lot (Friday and Saturday night) and even did some shopping (yes I went, yes I bought something, yes I got a good deal on the things I bought).  Today we were in Congerville for church and then I headed to a weenie roast for potluck this evening.  Now, a crazy week begins.  Between all the extra time required of me for our first week of surgery, trying to keep up on studies with my study buddies and also tutoring a second year who's having some tough times with school, I have little room for anything else.  And then, Friday, I go straight from school  to the airport to fly home for my bother and cousin's baptisms!  Whew, I'm practically tired just thinking about all that!

Friday, September 27, 2013


The last day of week 5 of school is here!  This weekend I plan to go to Eureka and spend some time with my cousins (and try to make sure I'm ready for surgery next week too!) 

Yesterday morning in lab, each group had a dog cadaver.  We performed various different procedures on these dogs including:

thoracostomy tube: placing a tube through the chest wall to assist in removing fluid or air from the chest when needed

thoracocentesis: placing a needle into the chest with a vacuum system to pull air or fluid out of the chest

temporary tracheostomy: cutting into the animal's trachea (windpipe) and placing a tube so that the animal can breathe when there is something blocking the nose/mouth/throat.  This is often performed on an emergency basis where the animal is not breathing due to the blockage.

bone marrow aspiration: sticking a needle into the middle of the bone where the bone marrow is and taking some bone marrow for examination

arthrocentesis: putting a needle into a joint and pulling out joint fluid for examination

urinary catheterization: placing a urinary catheter through the animal's urethra and up into the bladder so that the animal can urinate

placing drains: a drain is usually just a piece of thin, flexible rubber tubing that is placed through a wound to help drain fluid from the wound

It was a really neat lab, I have really enjoyed these labs that allow us to practice these tasks, something that many vets will be doing at some point!  My next lab is next Tuesday in which I will be surgeon!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Today in lab, I got to palpate mares (just like I palpated cows last Tuesday in lab).  Well, let's just say I have even more learning to do on palpating mares than I did on palpating cows!  It was challenging for me to find the uterus, uterine horns, and ovaries in the mare.  Many times I thought I found the ovary only to figure out that it was actually just a ball of poop, how fun!  Anyways, it was still fun and I enjoyed being able to give it a whirl and I hope I can get better at it in the future. 

Also, today it was made official that when my group goes into surgery for the first time a week from today, I will be the surgeon.  So, my first surgery happens in one short week, very exciting and also nerve-wracking! 

Now for a couple funny quotes from today:
One of my classmates at the mare palpation lab today: "I hated palpating cows last week, they kept farting in my eyes!"

My ophthalmology professor today in class (she is quite pregnant and has been told by her doctor that she can lecture as long as she sits down to lecture) after mentioning about how professors keep walking by and looking in the room and shaking their heads at her: "What, is it not cool that I'm sitting while lecturing instead of giving birth in the front of the class?  I would say it's more cool for me to be lecturing sitting down than it is for me to be leaking amniotic fluid all over the floor." 
Needless to say, she is hilarious even when she can't be up walking and dancing around.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Few More Pics

Here are a few pics that I just got today.  The first two are the group pictures from the Sunday School campout, courtesy of Sarah.

Tonight,, the pathology club had a fundraiser at El Toro, a Mexican restaurant here in Champaign.  20% of everyone's bill who had a flier from us was donated to our pathology club (of which I am president this year).  I took a few picture of different tables of students who came out to support us but am just posting the one of my friends and I that went together.  The pictures I took will probably be included in the annual report that our club has to send in every year.
For those of you who want to know who I study with, I study with the girl directly on my left, and also the girl directly across from her in the greenish shirt (middle on the right side).  We spend many hours together poring over notes in preparation for our exam.  I am very thankful that I have them to study with as they are good kids who have become very good friends of mine.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday School Campout

This weekend was a real good weekend.  For one, I didn't have to study since I took my midterm on Friday.  For two, my buddy Ben came out from CT to spend the weekend with me.  For three, it was the weekend of the Sunday School campout.  I picked up Ben at Indianapolis airport and then we headed straight to the campout.  The campout was full of good times for both the young group folks as well as the sunday school kids.
One of the games was dodgeball except the players were blindfolded and each blindfolded person had a person standing outside the playing field acting as their guide, telling them where to move, bend down to pick up a ball, and where to throw it.  It was actually pretty neat to watch!  

 The other game that I have pictures of involved two pairs of shoes with a stretchy cord attached.  Each set of shoes was looped around a tree near the other set of shoes.  The player then had to step into a pair of shoes, walk towards the other player (tension would then accumulate in the rope as the player walked away from the tree), and trade shoes with the other player.  It was quite entertaining to watch people try it!

Ben and Kaleb, shown in the previous two pictures, actually succeeded in trading shoes!

These last two photos are from breakfast.  The campout was definitely a success, a lot of fun was had by all!

After the campout, Ben and I headed back to my place where we whipped up some chocolate chip cookie dough to be baked later in the evening when people were over (yes, two guys in the kitchen making cookies, it was quite adorable ;)  Then I showed him the vet school (he had no idea it was as big and involved as it is), went out to dinner and then played volleyball with some friends who then came over and played games and helped us consume our cookies (they came out great if I don't say so myself!)

Today we went to church and then I brought him back to Indianapolis.  It was awesome having him out here and I think he enjoyed being here as much as I enjoyed having him out!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Midterm Exam done!

Just this morning I took my midterm exam for first quarter.  It was 118 multiple choice questions covering anesthesiology, ophthalmology, neurology, small animal critical care, and theriogenology.  Some of the questions had extensive reading involved with them as a lot of questions presented a case for you and then you had to figure out a diagnosis or treatment.  I think I did alright, there were definitely some questions that I wasn't too sure on but hey, it's over now!

This weekend is study-free!  My friend Ben from Connecticut is flying out to visit today until Sunday.  We will be at the Sunday School camp-out tonight and then spend the day tomorrow together.  He leaves Sunday evening.  I am looking forward to a weekend full of enjoyable activities rather than studying!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Palpation Lab

Two more days until my midterm exam, and then a free weekend after that!  Monday was just class as usual and yesterday we had lab in the morning and class in the afternoon.  The lab for Group B, my half of the class, was palpation.  Half of our group went to the dairy farm, and the other half went to the vet med research farm where some mares were awaiting.  I was at the dairy farm yesterday so I was palpating cows.  It was actually a lot of fun and the weather was comfortable too which was also nice.  Palpation means sticking a big long sleeve on your arm, lubing up your hand, and sticking your hand and arm up the cows rear end.  By doing this, you can then feel the cows reproductive tract directly below the rectum.  I have done this before various times but usually can only feel the cervix.  Well, yesterday, I finally was able to feel from the cervix to the uterus and then follow the uterine horns to the ovaries.  While that may sound crazy to you, I was pretty pumped that I was actually able to advance in my palpation! Needless to say, I needed a serious shower before going back to class! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eye Surgery!

Well, before I talk about today, I will mention a little bit about Tuesday.  Tuesday morning's lab called "therio clinical skills."  We were in the clinical skills learning center working with cow, goat, pig, horse reproductive tracts and trying to get a feel for what to expect when palpating animals that have been pregnant for a certain amount of time. This was to prepare us for next week where we start our palpation labs, palpating horses and cows (more on that to come next week).  Anyways, today's lab was ophthalmic surgery.  We had a lecture explaining the different procedures they wanted us to do and then it was off to lab.  Each group had a dog or cat head on which to perform various procedures.  We performed procedures such as temporary tarsorrhaphy, temporary eyelid tack, entropion repair, full thickness eyelid resection, and an enucleation.  What are these you might ask?

Temporary tarsorrhaphy: closing the eyelid over the eyeball to protect the eye

Temporary eyelid tack: tacking the upper and lower eyelid in puppies whose eyelids are just too big for them right now.  When the puppy grows "into their eyelids" then the tack is undone and the eyelids will be back to normal.

Entropion Repair: entropion is when the eyelid is rolled inwards towards the eye and then the hairs can rub on the cornea and make irritate it and potentially cause an ulcer.  We cut a slice out just below the eyelid and then stitch the opening closed, thus pulling the eyelid down (or up if it is the upper eyelid) and removing the roll so that now the eyelid is normal.

Full thickness eyelid resection: this is used if there is a small mass on the edge of the eyelid or in cases of ectropion (too much eyelid so that is may even roll out and away from the eye).  We make a little V-shaped slice out of the eyelid and then sew it up, thus removing part of the eyelid (and the mass if it is being performed because of a mass) or shortening it in cases of ectropion.

Enucleation: removal of the eye

Now that you have had your ophthalmology lesson for the day.....

Other than lab, class has been going fine, tons and tons of information (I guess that's what happens when you have 19 hours of lecture week!  Our midterm exam is next Friday so my friends and I have already been studying away for that!   


Monday, September 9, 2013


This past weekend was a good one.  Saturday we had our pathology club cookout which was a lot of fun and we had perfect weather.  It was in the 90's but in the shade where we were, it was really nice, with a nice breeze.  Here are a couple pics from the cookout (thanks to Mrs. Wallig):

The trivia winners:

Me and Dr. Wallig, one of the pathology professors at school:

Then Sunday I was in Tremont for the Beutel Chili Supper which is always a great time!  Now, it's back to studying!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2 Weeks Done!

2 weeks of year 3 are already past!  I am enjoying 3rd year so far, the classes have continued to be quite interesting.  Last night, I went to a fundraiser for the Production Medicine Club where I ate my first (and second, third, fourth, and fifth) rocky mountain oyster.  If you don't know what these are, google it and you will see.  I have to say, they were quite good actually, tasting a lot like a chicken nugget.  They were cut up into smaller pieces, boiled, frozen, thawed, breaded, and fried in oil.  A nice healthy treat! ;)  Today is the pathology club's cookout from 12-3.   It's supposed to be about 90 today so will probably be slightly toasty.  Then, tonight I plan on going to a singing and then off to Gramp and Grams in Tremont for the night and day tomorrow.  Hope everyone has/had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


This morning we had our swine lab.  We learned how to ultrasound pigs for pregnancy and also got to have a tour of the swine facilities at the vet med research farm.  I have to say that the labs seem a lot better this year, much more hands on.  Then, it was just two hours of equine neurology lecture in the afternoon and that was it. 

When I got home in the afternoon, there was no electricity as the bill hadn't been paid for awhile.  My roommate thought it was on direct deposit but something happened and our electricity was cut off.  Luckily, I was able to take care of it and a few hours later, we had electricity again, there's always something going on, that's for sure!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Horse Dentistry

Yesterday I drove to Norman, Indiana to work with a veterinarian doing horse dentistry.  It was at a campground that caters to horses and horse owners.  I really enjoyed working with the horses and with the vet and his wife.  Here are some pics from my day:

Here is where we were working, you can see my black car and the trailer just to the right of it is where we worked:

The stalls right near where we were working:

Just across the way were some round pens as well:

The trailer that we worked in (that is the vet's wife in the green scrub top):

The stanchion inside the trailer

 A couple more pics of inside the trailer

Instruments used to float (essentially, grind down) horse teeth.  These tools are for doing it by hand but he mostly uses electric floaters now.

Instruments used for yanking horse teeth

Here I will briefly discusss the process and then show the pictures:
The vet would talk to the owners and check the horse's heart with his stethoscope.  He would then sedate the horse and the horse would be walked into the trailer and into the stanchion.   We would insert a device that would keep the horse's mouth open so the vet could work in it and then rest the horse's head on a holder hanging from the ceiling to keep his head up.  First, we would rinse the horse's mouth out with a dilute antiseptic solution.  Then, the vet used a grinder to help flatten all the sharp points out on the horse's teeth.  After he flattened the teeth, he used another tool to round off all the edges.  Finally, we did a final rinse and then backed the horse out of the trailer.  Then the horse would be rested for a couple hours to let the sedation wear off before being ridden again.

Talking with an owner:

Droopy head = sedated horse!

Here, the mouth opening device is in and the vet is checking out the teeth

Another horse getting ready

Onto the trailer we go!

Closing the end of the stanchion once the horse is in.  We also placed a bar just behind the horse's butt as well

Putting the mouth-opening device on:

Rinsing out the horse's mouth:

Hoisting the horse's head up to make it easier for the vet to work in the mouth:

You can see the light that shines into the mouth so the vet can see what he's doing

The vet was very good about showing the owners what he was doing 

Here the vet has the electric floater and is grinding the teeth down to make the chewing surfaces nice and flat:

Ever wondered what a horse's back teeth look like? Well here they are!

Backing out

I learned where the "backup switch" (as the vet called it) was on a horse.  By pushing on the front part of their shoulder, they tend to back up quite nicely.  Here I was doing this but the horse was just getting out of my reach

It was overall, an amazing experience!  I really enjoyed it and would love to do it again sometime.  The vet who I worked with is actually going to be going to Mexico with a group of us this January where a few of us vet students will actually get to do the work on the horses, not just help out.  Here, people were paying him as he is a very well known and respected equine dentist amongst other things so he did all the actual work in the mouth.