Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Today was our group's third surgery day.  As I mentioned before, it was my turn to be the anesthetist.  I was actually more nervous to be anesthetist than I was to be surgeon since if the animal dies due to a human error, it is most likely the anesthetist's fault since they are the ones dealing with the drugs and monitoring the animal during the surgery.  I gave premedication around 730 this morning to sedate the dog.  We then clipped the surgical area and flushed the prepuce and then away we went to the surgery suite.  There I placed my first IV catheter ever.  I was pleased that I succeeded as the dog was difficult to draw blood from yesterday and had short stubby legs but I was able to get it on the second try.  Once the catheter was secured in I just had to wait for an anesthesia technician to come over and guide me in intubating the dog.  I gave propofol through the catheter to knock the dog out and then opened the dog's mouth and gently put the endotracheal tube down the dog's windpipe.  Then I attached the dog to the anesthesia machine, turned on the gas anesthetic and away we went.  Finally, I also placed an esophageal stethoscope, a stethoscope that I put into the mouth and pushed it down into the esophagus so that it went right down into the chest next to the heart.  Every five minutes I had to check heart rate and breathing rate by using the stethoscope.  I also had to hook up fluids and monitor the fluids going in to the dog through his catheter.  After the surgery I unhooked the dog from the anesthesia and then once he was awake and chewing we removed the endotracheal tube and allowed him to wake up and warm up before popping him back into his cage.  Overall, the surgery was successful and our dog, a 2 year old grey and white shih tzu, already has a home to go to once he leaves!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Had a great weekend this past weekend.  Didn't do any schoolwork (always a plus at the time, a negative later on) and got to see my brother and my Dad.  Saturday was my Gramp's farm auction so got to see a lot of family which was nice.  Gramp was pleased with how the auction went so that was nice.  I did grab a tool that they used to use to place rings into the side of pigs noses to discourage rooting.  I figured just a small keepsake from my Gramp's farm.  My brother and Dad's keepsakes were more numerous and take up a lot more room (and they want me to bring them all back to CT for them when I drive home this winter for Christmas, good thing I'm a nice son/brother ;).

Sunday we were all in Eureka for church as my cousins served lunch.  I had a good time there (even if there weren't any vanilla doughnuts ;).  Sunday night whoever from the family could go out to dinner went out and then hung out for the evening.  Was a great time, but now, I'm sitting in class writing a blog post, I mean, learning about interdigital pyoderma. I have 7 hours of lecture today and not lunch break as we have to do our initial work up of our surgery patient today over lunch hour.  Gonna be a long day.

It's been a few weeks but it's our group's turn to have surgery this week.  This week I am the anesthetist so am in charge of all the drugs, knocking the animal out, placing an IV catheter, intubating the dog/cat, and monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate, anesthetic depth, etc throughout the surgery.  Hopefully all will go well!   

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This morning in lab we learned how to perform various dermatology (study of skin and skin diseases) techniques.  Here are the techniques we practiced:

1. nail trims: most of use have already done that so that wasn't the busiest station in the lab for sure.

2. intradermal injections for allergy testing: the needle is only put into the skin, not under the skin like vaccines

3. skin scraping: a scalpel blade is run over the animal's skin in an effort to get parasites that are on the skin and then the material on the blade is put onto a slide.  The slide is then examined under the microscope and any parasites (mites, scabies, etc) are identified.

4. anal sac flushing: a tiny plastic tube is inserted into the anal sac via it's opening right at the edge of the anus.  Medications can then be administered directly into the anal sac.  Anal sacs in dogs and cats are the equivalent to scent glands on a skunk except their odor is not quite that bad (although anal sac contents are nothing to be sniffed at!). 

5. fungal viewing: tape is placed onto fungal colonies grown on plates and then the tape is put onto a slide and stained.  The fungi can then be viewed under the microscope to aid in identification of which fungus it is.

6. tape impression (probably not the actual name but I can't remember the real name): tape is placed on a dog on an area of skin that has some kind of infection/hair loss on it.  The tape is placed on a slide and stained and then viewed under the microscope.  You look for parasites, bacteria, fungus, anything that could be causing the skin disease.

7. use of a scope to look at a dog's ear drum.  The scope is inserted into the dog's ear and then travels through the ear canal until the ear drum can be visualized.  I didn't realize until yesterday in dermatology lecture that the ear drum actually has two easily distinguished parts to it.  One is very clear and tense, while the second part is red (it has blood vessels in it) and flaccid.  This could be very easily seen with this scope.

Overall, it was a good lab, lots of new things learned! Then, this afternoon I had my first lecture with Dr. Graves.  He teaches part of our endocrinology class.  It is actually his last semester with the U of I so I'm glad we got him 'cuz he's quite a hoot.  Here's a couple things he said today:

"Well, I wasn't sure whether I was walking into a VM 610 lecture (that's the quarter we are in now) or into an open hall of "what not to wear."  He then looks at one of my classmates who was wearing jeans, a very large, red and grey plaid coat, and a grey winter carhartt hat and says, "I mean, really?"

Near the end of lecture he was talking about how we needed to know the three cardinal signs of lower urinary tract disease 'cuz it was so important:
"If I saw one of you laying on the side of the road, in the gutter, drunk, bleeding,and barely breathing I would come over and pat you on the cheek and say Dave, Dave, wake up.  Now I wouldn't be doing that 'cuz I wanted you to live, I would do that so I could then ask you, "Dave what are the three cardinal signs of lower urinary tract disease?"  Then you would say "hematuria (blood in urine), pollakiuria (urinating small amounts frequently), and stranguria (straining to urinate)" and then you would fall back down into a pile of your own vomit."

We also have a girl who squeaks when she laughs, it's pretty funny.  Well, he had our class going and he heard her laughing. He looks up and asks, "Is someone having an atypical seizure?  (laughter because our classmates laugh is famous in our class).  I really shouldn't call people out." Then he looks at her and says, "It's actually really cute," makes a heart shape with his fingers and says to her, "Feel the love." 

I'm glad we have him before he leaves, his classes will be quite humorous I do believe!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 1 of 2nd Quarter is Scooting By!

Well, 3 days of school have gone whizzing by with only 2 more to go!  Yesterday morning in lab I was back in the cow pen, invading their personal privacy with my arm.  This time I attempted passing insemination pipettes through their cervix but didn't succeed (although I did succeed in having a cow poop around my arm (my arm was up her butt) thus squirting poop all over my left wrist and right leg).  I also learned how to perform an epidural on a cow and did it successfully first time (it's really not that difficult so don't be too impressed).  So ladies, if you ever need an epidural you just call me right up (and I will direct you to your closest doctor)! 

Today I had the first lab of my Advanced Dentistry elective.  We practiced removing teeth and performing a gingivectomy (removal of the part of the gums).  We also practiced performing an intraorbital block. This means putting local anesthetic around the infraorbital nerve to numb it up.  This makes it so that if you block the left infraorbital nerve, all the upper mouth structures on that side will be numb. 

My new classes have been pretty good so far.  I'm hoping they will stay that way!  Mondays are kind of long as I have five hours of regular lecture followed by two hours of Advanced Dentistry lecture so that's 7 hours of lecture in one day! But, I know one thing, it's gonna be over before I know it!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Well, my study free weekend is rapidly coming to a close!  Friday night I left with two of my classmates and headed to South Bend, IN to spend some time with the vet who will be in Mexico with us in January and to practice some techniques on his horses.  We got there later on Friday evening and spent some time visiting with him before going to bed.  About 5AM he came into my room and woke me up and told me that his wife was bringing him to the hospital as he was having trouble urinating and his abdomen was swelling up.  So, us three ended up spending time with his son who is a ferrier (person who shoes horses) instead.  The vet got out of the hospital but was told he has an enlarged prostate gland so will have to see a urologist about it.  However, there was a lot going on at that point so us 3 vet students just left Saturday early evening to get out of the house and not be in the way.  Today I was in Champaign for church and planned on making some licorice caramels and homemade "thin mint" cookies.  Well, I didn't even get anything made as I ended up slicing my finger on the lid of a sweetened condensed milk can and now have 6 stitches in my left index finger.  Oh well, thus goes life! 

Tomorrow we begin new classes.  We are now going to be taking gastroenterology (stomach and intestinal diseases), urology (diseases of the urinary system), dermatology (skin diseases), and endocrinology (diseases of the endocrine system; ex: pancreas, thyroid gland, etc).  We shall see how it goes!

Warning: slightly long exerpt on something I thought about while waiting for the doctor to come in and stitch up my finger. 
Ever notice how often you go somewhere with plans all laid out for what is going to happen?  I mean, it's set up just right, everything is gonna be good.   Then all the sudden,  boom, everything changes, all out of your control!  That happened twice to me this past weekend with the vet going to the hospital thus making it so that we couldn't practice on his horses, and then today with my finger getting sliced open so I couldn't make caramels and cookies.  I had my plans all set, but God had other plans.  Why? I have no idea.  However, I must say, He had it all planned out.  Yesterday, the ferrier wasn't supposed to be in town however he had thrown his back out so didn't go where he was supposed to.  Thus, he was around for us three students to go out with him instead of being with his father.  Today, my roommate had nothing going on so he had plenty of time to take me to get stitches.  It is rare that he has nothing going on and is just around the apartment.  Coincidence?  I don't think so, God was there letting me know that He is ultimately in control even when I think I have everything figured out. But even though He took over, He made sure that things were still taken care of. It was a good lesson, so I thought I would share!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finals = Done!

My final exam for the first quarter of my 3rd year of vet school is finished!  And what a doozy it was, definitely not the easiest exam I have ever taken but I think I probably still passed.  This means, now, that this weekend there is absolutely no studying for me to do!  I am leaving around 430pm tonight for South Bend, IN with two of my classmates who are going to Mexico with our U of I young group in January.  We will be doing some horse work down there with the vet that we are going to visit this weekend.  It will sure be nice to not have to worry about studying this weekend, that's for sure! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Classes Done!

Yesterday was the last day of classes for our first quarter this year.  Today is reading day and then tomorrow and Friday is our final exam.  Tomorrow is material since the midterm and is 30% of our total grade.  Friday's exam is cumulative and is 20% of our total grade.  So, yeah, we're just astudyin' away over here (as you can tell since I'm over here abloggin' away ;).  Needless to say we are all looking forward to this weekend when we will be totally free from all schoolwork!  Kind of lame when that's the only thing we have to look forward to, two days free of schoolwork but hey, thus goes the life of a wannabe veterinarian. 

Friday, October 11, 2013


Week 7 of school is almost over, unbelievable!  Our surgery patient from this week went back to the shelter yesterday, she was already spoken for by someone through the shelter so we knew she was going to be adopted which is nice!

Yesterday in lab, my group was back at the vet med research farm to have another mare palpation experience.  Besides just regular rectal palpation, we also had a couple ultrasound machines so we could practice looking at the reproductive tract through the rectal wall.  Mare palpation is tough, I have a hard time feeling the reproductive tract although I did a little better yesterday than I did the first time. 

This weekend I will be in Champaign all weekend studying for our final exam this coming Thursday and Friday.  So, one long, boring weekend this weekend but then a weekend in which I am free coming up next weekend, can't wait!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10/8 (Carla's Birthday!)

First things first: Happy 14th birthday to the baby of our family, Carla!

Last Thursday, we had our 3rd palpation lab.  My group was back to palpating cows.  We did regular palpation (yup, I got very dirty, and remember that quote from my classmate about the cow farting in her face, that happened to me this time) but also practiced drawing blood from the tail vein and practiced the technique used for tuberculosis testing (lift up the tail and inject a small amount of fluid in the folds connecting the tail to the back end of the cow).  I know this is a little late, but I forgot to include it last week.

Today was our group's second surgery.  This time I was the assistant surgeon so I was gowned and gloved up and assisted Olga (the surgeon this week) when she needed it.  Our patient is a small 4.4 pound beagle/terrier mix (or something like that) and is exceptionally cute, most of our classmates think she's the cutest surgery patient this week.  Her uterus was extremely tiny, I mean not even the width of a pencil.  This made it challenging for Olga to find but once she found it she was on her way and everything went smoothly!

This afternoon we learned about bull reproductive diseases and llama/alpaca reproduction, always fun!  

Monday, October 7, 2013


This past weekend I flew back to Connecticut for my brother and cousin's baptisms.  I had a great weekend even though I was only there for about 43 hours or so!  Now this week it's back to the grindstone.  For our surgery this week I am the assistant surgeon so though I am not in charge of our patient like I was last week I will be helping Olga (the surgeon this week) take care of our patient.  This means, up early tomorrow, Wed, and Thurs again, yippee!  This is our last full week of classes.  Next week I have class Monday and Tuesday, reading day on Wednesday, and our final exam on Thursday and Friday.  Hard to believe this quarter is nearing the end already!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Adios Surgery Patient!

My first surgery patient headed back to the shelter today where I am confident he will be adopted out due to his young age and awesome personality!  I couldn't have asked for a better first patient, our whole group really liked him! 

Next week I am the assistant surgeon, and Olga will be the surgeon.  We are excited to see who our patient will be on Monday! 

I am leaving tomorrow after school to fly home for my brother Evan's baptism so am looking forward to a nice weekend! Hope everyone has a fun and relaxing weekend.

Dress Up Day

Yeah, you read the title right, dress up day.... in vet school...... like what we did when we were in elementary school for Halloween.  One of our anesthesiology professors asks the 3rd year class every year to dress up as a famous person who has died due to drugs.  This year our person was Judy Garland, from the Wizard of Oz.  So, instead of everyone dressing as Dorothy, the character Judy plays in the movie, we all dressed up as different people from the movie.  It was a lot of fun and much laughter went through our classroom yesterday.  During our break we went and paraded through the second year classroom which was fun as well. I took a few photos and a few were taken of me and at the end of the two hours of anesthesiology lecture, our whole class had a group picture taken with our professor as it was his last lecture with us.  Without further ado, enjoy the lighter side of vet school:

This photo is courtesy of my friend Brittany:

This photo is courtesy of my friend Olga:

This photo is courtesy of Nicki, another classmate of mine (you can see my professor with his white lab coat on about 3-4 rows from the top on the left side):

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Surgery Done!

Today was the big day, the day where I stepped into the shoes of an actual veterinarian and performed my first surgery.   I got to school around 510-515 this morning and started by doing a physical exam.  Then there was paperwork to be done and a fecal test to run.  At 630am, the anesthesia techs came and our student anesthetist Mike got all the drugs to sedate the dog.  We sedated around 715AM and then finished clipping the area (we had done some clipping yesterday).  Then it was off to the surgery room where Mike placed an IV catheter in the dog's front leg.  After an excessively long wait (over an hour) for a free anesthesia tech or doctor to help us, Mike was able to knock the dog out the rest of the way, stick a tube down its throat and hook it up to the anesthesia machine.  Then, the dog was flipped onto its back and Olga (the floater) scrubbed the surgery site while Cari (assistant surgeon) and myself got scrubbed up and put on sterile gowns and gloves.  Then, I was off.  We pushed the testicles up forward from the scrotum and incised the skin, pulled the testicles out, and then tied them off with suture so that when we cut the testicles out the stumps wouldn't bleed.  Then it was snip, out come the testicles.  I actually did one testicle at a time, I just combined them for the sake of writing.   Finally, I sutured up the connective tissue in the deep part of my incision and then sutured up the skin.  I have to say, I was very surprised at how well my incision looked at the end, much better than I was expecting!  Then, we disconnected the dog from anesthesia thus allowing him to wake up.  When I checked on him around 4pm he was doing real good and his incision looked great and he is peeing and pooping normally, good signs! 

The dog is so awesome, I would love to adopt him but I travel too much on weekends to have a dog around.  After all the time I have spent working with him, and then him being my first surgery patient ever, I kinda feel a connection with him, I will actually be kinda sad to see him go on Thursday!