Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years from the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Small Animal Emergency Room!  Yup, I'm celebrating New Years Eve by manning the ER.  I mean, what better way to ring in the new year?  We were real busy when we got here at 4pm but have slowed right down and currently don't have any cases going on.  Maybe we will get busy after midnight when everyone gets home and finds their dog or cat is not doing well, we shall see. 

Enjoyed an afternoon spent with Dan and Dorothy and Olivia today.  I was glad they popped down to see me during their time in Tremont.  They checked out where I lived, we went to eat at Steak and Shake, then I showed them the vet school.  Was really nice to catch up with them. 

After tonight, I have just three more nights in the ER, then I'm off for two weeks, it can't come soon enough!

Friday, December 26, 2014


Well, it's already Friday, hard to believe.  Yesterday I was able to be with family which was great.  But, today it was back to it.  My first case today was a dog who had gotten into chocolate.  While she is still at the vet hospital for monitoring she was doing pretty well.  My second case of the day was a dachshund with a back problem.  We put her in the ICU so she could be monitored overnight and if she gets worse she may have to have emergency surgery but for now she is holding steady.  Although it is Friday, it doesn't really matter.  I will be at school all day Saturday and Sunday so it's hardly a weekend for me.  But in just over a week I will be off for two weeks!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Monday began my second ER rotation.  It's been good, I enjoy the wide variety of problems that we see.  Monday I had a dog who was having neurologic problems.  Yesterday my dog returned for bloodwork, I had a nasty little dog for a knee problem, and a rabbit who wasn't eating, drinking, or pooping.  The dog with the knee problem was one of the worst behaved dogs I'd had in quite awhile!  Let's just say it's a good thing we had a muzzle!  This morning I am back at school.  Will be here 'til early evening but then I'm the lucky one day student who got off on Thursday which happens to be Christmas! Plan to head to Gramp and Gram's today and go to church with them tomorrow morning then head to Heather and Andrea's for Christmas dinner before heading back to Champaign so I can be in the ER again Friday at 7AM.  

Here's a picture of four out of five of us day students on Monday who all, randomly, happened to wear the same colored scrubs (L to R: Pat, Dustin, Brittany, me):

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I have finished my anesthesia rotation.  This past week, we were absolutely swamped with anesthesia cases.  Every single day we had a ton of cases and we were running around like crazy.  Luckily we were a good team and helped each other out.  Friday night I was on call so at 5pm I took over a dog that was having its hip fractures fixed after getting hit by a car.  I didn't end up leaving until 830pm.  I was lucky and didn't get called in during the night though.  That ended my anesthesia rotation. I learned a ton but wasn't a particular fan of the hurry, hurry, hurry environment.  Tomorrow I will begin my second small animal emergency medicine rotation.  It will last for the next two weeks and then I'm off for two weeks!

Last night I went to a Dailey and Vincent concert.  It was a great time, I really appreciated their sense of humor and their music was great.  I highly recommend them.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chuggin' Along

My first week of anesthesia is just about over and it's kind of hard to believe.  Monday morning found me a little nervous as anesthesia seemed intimidating and I didn't know how things worked.  However, as the week has progressed, I have gotten more comfortable with the anesthesia process.  Tuesday I had no cases as there was just three anesthesia cases the whole day so I helped my classmates who had cases out.  Wednesday and Thursday two of my classmates were gone as they were taking boards.  As soon as we lost two classmates, the cases just piled on.  We had at least ten cases both days.  With only seven students, this led to a very busy two days.  Wednesday I had the first case in which a dog was having its knee repaired after tearing a ligament.  I got done with that case, had just enough time to eat lunch while going over my plan for my next patient with the anesthesiologist, and then got to work on my second case, a goldendoodle who had a mass in her ear.  The dermatology department put a video scope into her ear and used a forceps-like tool to remove as much of the mass as possible.  Needless to say, two cases in one day wore me out!

Yesterday was my large animal day, in which I was the anesthesia student who would take any large animal surgeries that were going on.  There was one horse who needed to have a camera inserted into three of his joints and have bone/cartilage fragments removed from the joint as well as be castrated.  So, I was in the large animal clinic all day.  I successfully knocked the horse out using drugs and got him intubated.  I did fail at placing a catheter into his artery (the tech had to do it for me) but other then that things went quite well.  It was slightly nerve-wracking at the beginning as I had never done anything even remotely close to that before but it was a good experience and I would do it again.  Sounds like I may have the opportunity as there are supposed to be about 10 horse surgeries next week. 

Other then living the life of knocking animals out for surgery, I did start my resume last night.  I can't stand doing it but it's got to be done!  Tonight is the Christmas party for our young group so I'm looking forward to going to that.  I am second on call tomorrow during the day and then first on call Sunday night.  So I will be in Champaign-Urbana land all weekend.

Monday, December 8, 2014


This past weekend was great, didn't do anything related to school and spent the weekend at my cousins.  Had a Christmas get together Saturday then got to see some people from Connecticut in Roanoke church on Sunday. 

Today was day one of my anesthesia rotation.  I was admittedly a little nervous about this rotation as it seemed like everyone was always hustling about and running around and I like things to be more laid back.  When the anesthesia group got together, there were only three cases for the day.  I ended up with a dog that had a laparoscopic spay and gastropexy performed.  On the white board the anesthesiologist had written VIP under the dog's name.  Turns out, the dog's owner is a rather well known individual.  I ended up taking that case to which some people said, No pressure Dave it's only "Jane Doe's" dog.  Everyone was really trying to make sure that nothing went wrong.  It was a little overwhelming trying to figure out everything that needed to be done as it was my first time, and at times there were around 10 people watching (my classmates, some other doctors, and 2nd year vet students who are shadowing us in the clinic).  However, we got her knocked out, into surgery, and recovered all without hitch so that was good.  There were five cases scheduled for tomorrow and since I had one today I was not assigned a case.  However, I will be ready to take one if another case is added on at some point.  

Friday, December 5, 2014


Wednesday was my big day to shine, or maybe fizzle and die out, depends on how you look at it I suppose.  I got to the testing center around 7AM and signed into the testing room at 717AM.  I did 180 questions (half the exam) and then took a break from 1023 til 1029.  I then did the remaining 180 questions and signed out at 125PM.  The exam was long (took me about 6 hours to comlete) and was quite challenging.  When I finally walked out I was the most mentally drained that I can ever recall being.  However, it does feel nice to not have to worry about studying right now.  I won't find out 'til the end of January if I passed which means I have almost two months of waiting but that's okay, at least I don't have to study!

Today is my last day on my imaging rotation.  After school I'm headed for Eureka to spend time with Heather, Andrea, Dan, Jerry and Kathy.  It will be my first weekend with no school responsibilities (studying, on call, patient care) since mid-September so it will be nice to get out of town and forget about school for a couple days!  Then Monday, it's off to my anesthesia rotation!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekend Studying

After Thanksgiving my weekend went as such:
Friday morning: studied until Jay and Jared met me at school for a tour on their way home from Eureka. 
Studied a little more before heading off to Gramp and Gram's in Tremont.  Ate dinner with them then cuddled up on their couch with my laptop to continue my studies.

Saturday: Studied after showering 'til I ate breakfast with Gramp and Gram.  Studied some more before going and chatting with Aunt Colleen for an hour or so.  Continued my studying until I left for Heather and Andrea's in the mid afternoon after eating a little lunch at Gramp and Grams.  Once at Heather and Andrea's I studied until the girls showed up, around 8PM or so, then hung out and chatted with them.

Sunday: Got up and showered and ate breakfast, had some extra time so got some more studying in before taking off for Congerville church.  Was nice to see a few Rockville folks there!  I left Congerville church and headed straight back to Champaign, where I am just taking a little break from studying some more! Wednesday afternoon is going to find one very relieved and much more relaxed Dave Beutel!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I finished out my internal medicine rotation this past weekend.  Had a nice miniature pinscher as a patient, I believe he left on Monday, but it looked like he was back again yesterday so hopefully he's alright.  On Monday I started my imaging rotation.  My first day I was on dictation which means I was in the "reading room" where all the x-rays, ultrasound images, CT images, MRI images, and nuclear medicine images are read.  Throughout the day I looked at various x-rays of different animals and at 4pm, I had to present a couple of the cases.  On Tuesday I was on ultrasound so I spent much of my day at a computer writing down findings on ultrasounds that were being done by the doctors.  We were really busy, the patients just kept coming in for ultrasounds.  Yesterday I was on nuclear medicine, however we had no nuclear medicine patients so I helped with some x-rays instead (and studied for boards). 

I just got home from Thanksgiving service at church.  While at church I had a couple people offer that I should come to their place for Thanksgiving.  However, I already had an offer from somone so had to turn them down but I so appreciated people opening their homes to me.  I cannot be in Tremont with family as I am on call today and tonight for school so can't leave town.  It's times like these that make me thankful for the church family I have!

Tomorrow I look forward to having Jay and Jared stop by on their way back home to CT and then plan to take off for Tremont in the afternoon.  Saturday I will head to Eureka most likely in the afternoon and study for boards at Heather and Andreas.  Sunday I hope to be in Congerville as there will be some Rockville folks there so am hoping to get to see them.  Then, Monday will bring me back to school, Tuesday I will have off (day before boards you don't have to be at school), and Wednesday is boards!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's Friday!

Well, week 2 of internal medicine is drawing to a close.  Earlier this week I had a real cute mixed breed dog who came in for bleeding from one side of his nose.  Long story short, we diagnosed him with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the cells that produce antibodies in ours and animals bodies.  While he was showing clinical signs he was not real sick.  We transferred him to the oncology department and he is undergoing treatment.  With treatment, dogs with multiple myeloma can live for two years so hopefully he will have a little while to live yet.  Yesterday I had no transfers and today I have no appointments so I'm trying to get some studying for boards done, just a little over a week and a half 'til the big day! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

6 Months!

Exactly 6 months from this weekend is graduation and that's all I'm gonna say about that!

2 1/2 weeks from now is boards, to say I've been doing a little studying would be an accurate statement.

The rest of last week went well, had a 7 month old kitten that we did a CT scan, bronchoscopy (sticking camera down its windpipe) and rhinoscopy (sticking camera into its nasal cavity) on on Friday.  Unfortunately, it has some congenital problems and the owner will most likely elect euthanasia. 

This past weekend I didn't have a patient of my own but I helped a classmate with her patient both mornings.  The dog doesn't like us getting it out of its cage and tried to bite me numerous times this morning but I was able to get her without getting bit so right now the score is Dave: 1, Dog: 0.  Here's to hoping it stays that way!

This will be my second and last week of internal medicine.  Internal med has been one of my favorite rotations so far, it's very interesting. 

I have submitted my requests for professional development, the fancy name for the last 6 weeks of vet school.  Hard to believe that it's time to get that planned out already!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Today was a pretty easy day for me.  My appointment was the recheck on the dog who had immune mediated hemolytic anemia and he was doing awesome.  We rechecked his red blood cell level and blood protein level and they were looking good so we sent him home and told him to come back in two weeks so we could recheck his bloodwork and maybe start lowering some of his medication doses! 

This morning we had one transfer.  It is a little puppy who had parvo (a viral disease that causes diarrhea and vomiting in puppies and is contagious) but seemed to be doing better but now is back with vomiting and diarrhea again. So, he gets to spend his time in our isolation ward.  Unfortunately, there is no techs who monitor the isolation ward so us fourth year students get the honor of this task.  That means, that there needs to be a student there at all times.  Luckily there is a camera focused on him so us students can sit in the rounds room and keep an eye on him via the camera.  We split up the shifts into two hour shifts overnight.  I am the lucky one who got the 2AM-4AM shift. Someone has to do it but it's kind of a bummer 'cuz it's right in the middle of the night!  Oh well, hopefully it will be the only time I have to do it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


This morning I checked the transfer list and found that I had a transfer from ER.  It was a very nice female pit bull who was yellow (jaundice) and had elevated liver enzymes.  First thing we wanted to do was an ultrasound of her abdomen.  During the ultrasound we found a mucocele which is essentially a buildup of mucus and sludge in her gallbladder.  No one really knows exactly why they form but they cause back up of bile into the liver and leads to a yellow animal and increased liver enzymes.  So, we transferred her to soft tissue surgery this afternoon and when I left, she was recovering from having her gallbladder removed.  So, I have no in house patients right now which is fine.  Tomorrow I have a recheck appointment on a mixed breed dog who was diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia last week.  In this disease, the body's immune system begins attacking the body's red blood cells making the animals anemic and thus weak, lethargic, and pale.  Hopefully it will be doing well and we can send them on their way happy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Internal Medicine Take 2

Today I officially switched from orthopedic surgery to my second internal medicine rotation. And it was great.  I only had one appointment at 1:30 and it was a cat who had heart problems, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and kidney problems.  And, it was doing awesome.  It's currently on no medications and doing well so we drew some blood to check its kidney values and sent it on its way! 

One of my classmates had a real nice german shepherd with pneumothorax (air in its chest).  When an animal has air in its chest, it makes it very difficult for the animal to breathe.  They pulled air off its chest but it didn't take long and it was filling back up again.  Unfortunately, the most likely cause in this dog was bullae which is when the a few air sacs near each other become weak and turn into a big balloon of air instead of little sacs and the bulla can then rupture and air flows from the lungs into the chest.  The only way to fix this is to go in surgically and either cut out the bulla or remove the lung lobe that is affected.

I am also glad that I am not on surgery anymore because it looked like there was going to be up to 3 emergency surgeries going on tonight.  So, while I study this evening and hopefully sleep peacefully in bed tonight, some of my classmates will be in the operating room.  Guess I snuck out just in time! 

This past weekend I gave a vet school tour to a bunch of Congerville folks.  It was fun showing them around and they seemed like they enjoyed it well enough! 

Friday, November 7, 2014


I believe that this orthopedic surgery rotation has been the fastest moving rotation so far of all of them! I am admittedly not really into orthopedic procedures and will probably never be an orthopedic surgeon, however, the days tend to be quite busy and I've had a lot going on at school so the times just moves!  On Wednesday I had a black lab that had a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).  This involves cutting a piece of the tibia close to the femur and rotating it so that the tibia no longer moves forward when the dog walks.  This moving forward rotation doesn't normally happen but my dog had ruptured its cranial cruciate ligament, the ligament that prevents the tibial from moving forward.  While I'm glad I saw one, I did not find the surgery super interesting and am fine knowing that chances are pretty good that I won't  see another one.  Today I took over a case for one of my classmates who is gone today and this weekend.  She is a super sweet pitbull who last Friday sat down for a treat and couldn't get back up. She is not walking at all since her hind legs don't work but hopefully she will start at some point soon.  We will see.  

My classmate who is in surgery at this moment with her dog has another pit bull that is very aggressive.  It spent last night in the ICU and it couldn't go outside since no one can handle it.  It had a long tube attached to its IV catheter so that the anesthesia people didn't have to open the door to sedate it before bringing it to anesthesia.  It has a basket muzzle on at all time but lunged at my classmate when she tried putting food in its cage.  He will remain in the anesthesia recovery room after surgery sedated until his owners come to pick him up.  

I don't have any surgeries today which is fine with me so it's a little slower day for me which is nice.  This weekend I plan to be in Champaign so will hopefully get some studying done as I take boards three weeks from this Wednesday.  I also switch rotations to internal medicine on Monday so hopefully won't have quite as long days as I have been having on ortho.  In closing, here is a picture taken of me and two of my classmates watching a surgery through the surgery suite windows.  We sat like this just to make the surgeons uncomfortable and someone wanted to grab a picture of us (proof that not everything in vet school is serious):

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Orthopedic Surgery

Just a quick update.  I finished my equine surgery rotation last Monday morning.  While I do miss working with the horses as that was a lot of fun, I don't miss the rudeness and insensitivity of the clinician. 

I am now on my small animal orthopedic surgery rotation. Just like my soft tissue surgery rotation, I am putting in a ton of hours.  I get to school between 545 and 630 in the morning depending on the day, and don't leave until between 630 and 8 in the evening.  I had a shih tzu who we had to do back surgery on this past Tuesday.  He was doing real well after surgery and I got to send him home yesterday.  He was in the ICU overnight Tuesday night after his surgery and man, he was a little stinker.  We couldn't get a muzzle on him and he was trying to bite us and screaming.  It was a party.  Luckily, once we got him back to the orthopedic ward Wednesday, he calmed down and only occasionally tried to bite when we took him out of his cage. 

Also, this past Monday I took over, and subsequently sent home, a great dane who had broken her radius and ulna in her left front leg.  Unfortunately, she came back Wednesday for increased lameness and discharge that was soaking through her bandages.  When we unwrapped her bandage, her leg was full of fluid and dripping through the pin tracks from her external fixator.  So, she has been with me since Wednesday and we have been changing her bandage every day.  It's looking much better so I am hoping to send her home Monday.

Last weekend I was just here in Champaign.  Tomorrow I hope to make it to Fairbury for a baptism.  However, I am on call tonight from 8pm to 8am tomorrow morning so we will see if the ball rolls in my favor or not! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just a Few More Days

To say that the morale of our equine surgery group is low would be quite accurate.  The clinician who is on surgery right now has never been known for his amazing bedside manner and friendliness.  However, I have never seen the effects of chronic rudeness on a group of people as I have now.  Here are a few quotes coming from him to us fourth years in the past few days:
"You are not going to be paid to stand there with stupid looks on your faces" (spoken in front of clients)

"When I ask a question, you need to answer me, you HAVE to have an opinion.  I have an opinion, and really that's the only one that counts"  (again, spoken in front of clients)

My classmate: I think she looks better than she did
Clinician: I don't, I think she looks worse and I'm better than you

It's rather unfortunate that the learning environment on this rotation has become so negative.  When students are not willing to talk because they know the clinician is just going to get on their case about it, I would rank that as a dismal learning experience.   This is just a sampling of his encouraging words he has been sharing with us.  Today, he laid into me pretty hard, grabbed the lead rope of the horse from my classmate, and told me (in a not so gentle tone) to watch the horse as he ran her down the hallway (part of a lameness exam).  He did end up apologizing to me later, the first apology I believe any of us have gotten.  Fortunately, the resident surgeons have been alright (although one of them has made some not very nice comments to people other than myself).  It really just drags the group down and we are all ready to get out of this rotation. 

On a good note, my big ol' draft horse went home today!  He spent 12 days in the hospital but is gone and doing well which is awesome!  I did also have a horse with left front lameness today.  We were able to send him home so he didn't have to stay in the hospital which means that tomorrow morning is the first morning on this rotation that I don't have a patient to care for. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


Time continues to fly by.  This past weekend I was able to get away Saturday afternoon.  Had my first ride in a combine (even if it only lasted 20 minutes!), went to provings and baptisms in Washington, spent some time with my cousins, and didn't have to be at school at all yesterday which was probably the best part of my birthday! 

Today was a slow day in equine surgery as we had no appointments or surgeries.  Sounds like we do have a new horse coming in tomorrow, will have to see what it brings.  I did take my horse (the 1900 pounder) for a walk around the large animal clinic today.  One of the equine surgery doctors was upstairs in the clinic and said she could hear him walking from up there, definitely caught everyone's attention when he went by! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Still Chuggin' Along

Today is day 5 of equine surgery.  My 1900 pound horse continues to do well.  We are hoping that he can go home sometime this coming week.  I really enjoy working with him.  Yesterday, the new horse reproduction veterinarian at school wanted a student to go with him to pregnancy check some mares.  None of my classmates really wanted to go so I went with him.  It was great, I was able to feel fetuses in the horses and used an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and learned quite a bit along the way as it was just me and him.  For those of you who are wondering (which I'm sure you ALL are), this involved me putting on a big sleeve over my arm, putting lots of lube on the sleeve and inserting my arm into the horses butt.  When in there, I took my hand and felt downward.  Even though my hand was in the rectum I could feel the uterus and the fetus.  After a little bit the fetus would actually start bumping my hand.  After checking those mares we went and checked a couple non-pregnant mares to see if they were ready to be bred.  While there, I confidently felt most of the reproductive tract of a horse for the first time ever.  Not exciting for some, but pretty exciting for me! Anyways, sorry to go on so long about horse butts! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Equine Surgery

Today was my first day on my equine surgery rotation.  I took over a case that was already in the hospital, a 1900 pound Shire gelding (castrated male) who is fighting an abscess in his foot.  He is a pretty nice horse which is good because if he wanted to act up there's not a whole lot we could do about it!  It was a pretty good day, lots of foot stuff today but no surgeries. 

This past weekend I was able to sneak away Saturday evening later on to Forrest/Fairbury for their Invite-A-Friend weekend.  I had a good time and it was real nice getting to spend some time with my cousin Andy from CT!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Near the End of Equine Med

Today is my last official day of equine medicine although we will have some horses in over the weekend so will have some work to do this weekend.  I have really enjoyed the rotation, however, there have been some attitudes on this rotation that I don't really appreciate so it's probably time for this rotation to end.  Let's just say that people who only want to do small animals are not really into the whole horse thing and don't do a lot to cover it up.  Also, some of the folks on my rotation are not getting along real well with the equine intern who is on medicine right now so there have been some tense moments.  Luckily, I am not involved in this and so far have gotten along fine with everyone.  We have three horses with laminitis.  Two of them are doing pretty well, the third one unfortunately is not having as good a time.  The laminae that connects the bone in the tip of the foot to the hoof wall is damaged so the bones of the foot are sinking down, which is very bad and there's nothing we can do about it.  Some horses can have such bad sinking that they essentially walk right out of their hoof walls.  So, we will see what happens with her. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Equine Med week 2

Week 2 of my equine medicine rotation is scooting right along!  This past weekend I was in Champaign the whole weekend as I was on call both Friday and Saturday nights.  Luckily, I was never called in.  We have six horses in hospital right now but two are to go home tomorrow so that will leave us with four, three who have laminitis, one of them also has acute kidney injury.  The other is a horse who is experiencing pain when you push on its chest wall right near its right elbow but we can't figure out why.  I have enjoyed the chance to work more with horses and get to see some of their diseases up close and personal.  It's been a real learning experience! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Busy Day!

Today was by far our busiest day on equine medicine.  Last night, my classmate Ani was called in as two horses were presenting on emergency around 1AM with acute laminitis.  Laminitis is an inflammation in a horse's foot that can be extremely painful.  These horses got laminitis because they got into corn.  When horse's ingest large amounts of carbohydrates (corn, grain, etc), they become at risk for developing laminitis.  One of the horse's is worse off than the other and when he walks, its like he's walking on egg shells.  Then, around 8:30 this morning, a miniature horse foal presented for colic.  Colic is a generic term for abdominal pain.  He seems to be doing alright but him and his mom are both with us in the hospital right now.  I had the one regular appointment today.  It was a horse that had been having increased respiratory effort for a month or so.  We took radiographs of its chest and it looks exactly like recurrent airway obstruction, or heaves.  So, we performed a transtracheal wash which I got to help with.  You cut a hole in the skin just over the trachea and take a good sized trochar (essentially a big needle in it but that is not hollow) and pierce into the trachea (windpipe).  You remove the pointed part of the trochar and slide a catheter into the trachea, push about 20mLs of fluid down into the horse's lungs and then suck the fluid back out.  This gives a good sample of the cells that are down in the lower airways of the horse.  It was neat to see and assist with!

This weekend will be consisting of going into school for treatments of the horses and studying for boards.  Not the most enthralling weekend but a necessary one nonetheless!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Equine Med

Today was day three of equine medicine.  We had no appointments so our slow streak continued.  However, I did get to pass my first nasogastric tube today.  Here's my nerdy educational paragraph for today:
To place a nasogastric tube you put the tube up the horse's nose and into its throat.  When the horse swallows you push the tube forward so that it enters the horse's esophagus.  You continue to feed it down the horse's esophagus until you hit the stomach.  You can tell that you are in the esophagus because if you accidentally get the tube in the trachea, it passes with no resistance.  However, when shoving it down the esophagus, you get resistance because the esophagus isn't as wide open as the trachea.  Now, why would you go shoving a tube through a horse's nose and into its stomach?  Horse's get what is commonly referred to as colic.  It essentially means abdominal pain.  There are many reasons for this abdominal pain however, oftentimes, no matter what the cause, there is a fluid accumulation in the stomach which can be painful as it causes stomach distension.  When you stick this tube down a horse's esophagus, oftentimes the fluid will come out the tube and into a bucket or onto the ground.  This helps relieve some of the pain the horse is in.

Also, due to our slowness today, our group, including the doctors, went out for ice cream which was nice!

Tomorrow we have one appointment and it is another ophthalmology appointment so we won't be doing a whole lot with it.  Friday, there is supposed to be a horse with some respiratory problems coming in so hopefully it will. 

Had my second chiropractor appointment today.  Went well, never knew there was so many places my back could crack but it feels good! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Equine Medicine

Today is day 2 of my equine medicine rotation.  And man are we slow.  We have our first appointment today at 1pm and that is actually an eye problem so ophthalmology will be in charge of it, we just do a quick physical exam on the horse.  The rest of the week only has a couple horses coming in for us so it's not looking too busy.

On another note, I had my first chiropractor appointment yesterday.  My neck has been bugging me for a little while so I decided to get it checked out.  Well, I have slight scoliosis, more severe kyphosis (essentially giving me a slight hunched back appearance), and two of my vertebra were out of line.  My whole back was adjusted and now I have to go back 12 more times as we attempt to correct my hunch backedness.  Good thing we are slow on equine medicine so I'm able to make it to those appointments!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Goodbye Ophtho!

Today was the last day of my ophthalmology rotation.  The week went really well, had lots of appointments and a number of surgeries.  Had another emergency surgery this week for a dog who had a real deep ulcer in its cornea, it was almost all the way through the cornea.  So, a piece of conjunctiva was taken from next to the cornea, rotated, and placed over the ulcer.  We had another cataract surgery this week, and also took the inside of a Newfoundland's eye out (but leaving the globe of the eye in) and put a prosthetic inside the globe of the eye.  That dog is not totally blind as its other eye was already removed due to glaucoma.  I really enjoyed my time on ophthalmology.  While I don't think I would want to specialize in it, it is really good information to know because as a general vet, you often see eye problems. 

Tomorrow I hope to go to the pathology club cookout at noon and then head out of town around 4pm (I'm on call until 4pm tomorrow) to spend Saturday evening and Sunday with Uncle Loren and Aunt Joan.  Then Monday morning it's off to equine medicine I go!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Picture from the weekend

I forgot to post this picture yesterday of Heidi and I with Uncle Phil and Aunt Darlene:

Sunday, September 21, 2014


This past weekend I was in Tremont and able to spend some time with Heidi as she flew out for William and Brittany's wedding.  Yesterday, we got to meet our great uncle and aunt, Phil and Darlene, for the first time.  They live in North Carolina and we had never met them until Saturday when they stopped in to my grandparents to visit.  They had driven from NC for the wedding.  It was nice meeting them and getting to know them a little bit.  Today was William and Brittany's wedding in Tremont.  It was a real nice wedding, always nice to see people so happy! 

This week is week 2 of my ophthalmology rotation.  I'm hoping it will go as well as last week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Eyes, Eyes, Eyes!

Wednesday afternoon I took in a horse.  It had what is called equine recurring uveitis which means that tissues in its eyes become inflamed, then the inflammation goes away, and then comes back, etc.  Eventually the horse's eye became so bad that he couldn't see anything so the owners elected to have his eye taken out (called an enucleation).  So, yesterday, after doing another cataract surgery, we went down to the equine surgery ward and I got to scrub in and assist in taking the horse's eye out.  It went well and the horse went home a few hours later.  We also had two emergencies.  The first was a dog who had a hole in its eye that we believe came from an ulcer on its cornea that eventually ate its way all the way through the cornea.  When this happens, the iris (the colored part of an eye) actually will push forward and plug the hole (called an iris prolapse).  So, the dog went into emergency surgery where the doctor cut some tissue from along the side of the eye, rotated it and sewed it in place over the hole.  He is doing well and will go home this afternoon.  The other emergency was a dog with glaucoma, or increased pressures in the eye.  He was able to go home on medication.  Unfortunately, no matter what medication the dogs get, glaucoma will always win and the dog will no longer be able to see. 

This weekend I am planning to head to Tremont for a wedding.  I am on call tonight for the ER at school until 11PM but then am free the rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cataract Surgery

Ophthalmology has been going well.  Yesterday I took in a dog who stayed overnight and had cataract surgery today.  She has diabetes and a common consequence of diabetes in dogs is cataracts.  She had a hole cut in her eye, her lenses were broken up and sucked out of her eye and then on her right eye, a new lens was placed.  No lens was placed in her left eye due to there being a tear in the capsule that surrounds the lens in that eye.  It was neat to see and she's doing well, actually went home today already but will be back tomorrow for a recheck.  This morning, I sat with her for an hour and 20 minutes.  Before cataract surgery, the dogs have to have four different kinds of eye drops put in their eyes four different times.  However, between each drop you have to wait five minutes.  So, every five minutes I was putting eye drops in both her eyes and it took about 80 minutes for me to complete.  I don't think I've ever put that many eye drops in in my life, never mind in one time! 

In other news, I signed up for boards yesterday.  I will be taking boards on Wednesday December 3, 2014 at 8AM.  The time slot to take the exam is 7.5 hours long so that should be awesome.  Can't believe it's already getting to be time for me to take boards, where has the time gone!?

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Had a good weekend this weekend.  Flew back to Illinois yesterday morning.  Last evening I went to dinner and then went to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts here at University of Illinois campus to listen to Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny Cash) sing.  Today, Jerry and Kathy, Uncle Dan, Heather, Andrea, and Hannah came down for a visit.  After church we came back to my place, changed and hung out, went out to dinner and then I had made cinnamon roll cake for dessert so we chowed on that in the evening.  It was fun having them down.  Now it's time to get back to school.  I begin my ophthalmology rotation tomorrow morning so I'm hoping it will be a good rotation!

Here's Heather, Hannah, Andrea, and I outside the restaurant:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Who Wants Their Appendix Anyways?

I think it's safe to say that yesterday did not go as I had planned.  Wednesday evening after dinner I had noticed a slight pain in my abdomen.  When I was going to bed, I figured it would probably be gone in the morning.  Well, I hardly got any sleep at all during the night as the pain increased and I couldn't get comfortable.  At some point during the night I was pressing on my abdomen and noticed that I was most sensitive on my right lower abdomen.  I immediately wondered if I was suffering from appendicitis.  In the morning when my parents got up I told them that I was concerned that it might be my appendix causing me the pain.  So, Dad called the doctor who told us to go immediately to the ER.  So, away we went.  A CT showed an enlarged appendix with thickened walls indicating inflammation.  Around 6pm last night I went into surgery to have my appendix removed.  I got out around 7pm and left the hospital for home around 915pm.  Today I am feeling much better than yesterday.  I do have some soreness near my incisions (I have three small incisions from my belly button down) but otherwise am doing great and am not taking any pain medications.  I am still okay to fly back to Illinois tomorrow morning as long as I get up and walk a little bit a couple time during the flight. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Safe in CT

After a 3 1/2 hour delay in Champaign, I finally got on the road to CT and landed safely around 3:45 pm yesterday afternoon.  Just in time to make it to the open house at Finalsite, my sisters work place.  I am looking forward to doing some relaxing although I do have to study for boards while here. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

Spent the past weekend in Oakville, IA.  Had a real good time meeting new people and catching up with old friends.  Now tomorrow morning I head off for home.  Haven't had a good visit there since Christmas so it will be nice to see everyone and be able to spend some time with them!

Monday, August 25, 2014

School is back in session!

Today was the first day of school for the new 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year vet students.  So, us fourth years now have first years shadowing us in the clinic.  I have just three more days on primary care before my four day weekend this weekend! 

Yesterday was the welcome student picnic.  Here is the annual student photo, my last one I will be in.
Beginning in the back row the students are:
Caleb from Tokyo, Japan; Joel from Champaign IL, Matt from Tremont IL, Caleb from Champaign IL, Ryan from Chicago IL, Thane from Fairbury IL, Seth from Champaign IL, Nelson from Chicago IL, Jack from Elgin, IL
Second from back: Drew from Congerville IL, Eric from Fairbury IL, Trevor from Fairbury IL, Evan from Forrest IL, Reid from Tremont IL, me, Phil from Washington IL and Tim from Fairbury IL
2nd from front row: Michelle from Congerville IL, Cortney from Champaign IL, Mariah from Fairbury IL, Joel from Cissna Park IL, Curt from Champaign IL, and Clayton from Forrest IL
Front row: Alexa from Roanoke IL, Joy from Roanoke IL, Kelsey from Lester IA, Haley from Champaign IL, Candice from Fairbury IL, and Shannon from Forrest IL

We have a good sized group this year so it should be a good year!

Friday, August 22, 2014


This week has been amazing in that it's been way less hours than the past number of weeks.  We have been going in at 845AM and getting out by 4PM every day.  Today we spent the day at the doctor's personal clinic here in town and will be there tomorrow morning as well.  Tomorrow night I hope to be in Cissna Park for a fundraiser for Loving Shepherd Ministries and then Sunday is the Welcome Student Picnic here in Champaign.  One more week of rotations before I'm free for a couple weeks!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Primary Care

This past weekend I got called in Saturday evening for a dog that was having imaging of its spinal cord done.  After I got there it was determined that the dog didn't actually need surgery but I was then responsible for the dog the rest of the weekend.  Sunday morning after working with my dog, I drove to Tremont church and got there at the very end of the morning service.  After church I was able to go to the Beutel reunion. 

This morning I had to work with the dog one more time and then it was time for me to switch from soft tissue surgery to primary care.  Wow, what a difference!  Primary care is so laid back.  Each appointment is only there for about a half hour and then they are out the door.  The schedule and doctor are very laid back which is nice.  We got done at school about 3:30 and then headed to a clinic that the doctor also owns here in town where we helped with and got to see a surgery on a dog's leg.  I was still home by 6pm which is awesome!  Tonight I was invited to a cookout at Wayne and Char's so am looking forward to having something resembling a social life tonight!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Short Day

Today I was only at school for 11 hours! That is the shortest day this week for me, if not the shortest one of the whole rotation.  We had just one surgery on a dog that had a tear in it's bladder.  In the afternoon we got to learn how to do an "intestinal resection and anastamosis."  This is when you cut out a piece of intestine and then sew the two free ends together.  I left school about 530 or so which was super early!  I will head in tomorrow around 730 or so to help my classmates out who still have cases in the hospital as I have no in-house patients right now. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Update 8/13

My adrenal mass dog had to cancel due to a death in the owners family today so I ended up with two recheck appointments: one dog had part of its upper jaw removed and the other had part of its lower jaw removed and both were doing great!  I did get to go with our surgeon down to the large animal ward to look at a cow who happened to run into a water trough head first effectively tearing it's lower lip away from it's mouth.  The large animal vets sewed it up but since the cow has been eating, the stitches came out.  So, tomorrow, I will go down with the surgeon and help the large animal folks get that lip taken care of.  I do not have any in-house patients so don't have any patients of my own going to surgery.  However, tomorrow we will be removing half a pelvis and one back leg from a cat with a large mass in that area as well as taking out two ear canals from a dog and sewing up wounds on another dog, plus the cow so we should probably be fairly busy tomorrow! 

Lighter Schedule

Monday I saw two recheck appointments which both went home so I had no in-house patients Monday night.  That also meant that I had no surgeries yesterday so I was able to help my classmates out when they needed it and didn't have to worry about any paperwork, kind of a nice break!  Today I have two appointments, one is a dog coming in for a consult regarding an adrenal mass that, if things look okay, we will remove tomorrow.  The other is a recheck appointment on a dog who had part of its jaw removed.  So, if all goes as planned I will have one surgery for tomorrow.  Today is our last "receiving" day on soft tissue surgery.  Tomorrow is surgery day and Friday is "catch-up" day where we do any other surgeries that need done and try to wrap things up for the week.  Now that I'm not so overwhelmed with work, I'm enjoying the rotation a little more.  Although I've still put in 27 hours in the last two days! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

82 Hours

Well, since writing yesterday, much fun has transpired in my life!  No, I'm not engaged, no I didn't win the lottery.  Rather I got two hours of sleep last night and spent 2AM-almost 11AM at school!  Last night I had to do 8PM treatments since I was on call for surgery.  I got home around 930PM or so.  However, while there I was informed that there was a dog who was not walking that was coming into the ER.  Anytime we hear that we start thinking about discs in the dogs back that protrude into their spinal cord and sometimes need emergency surgery.  Well, what do you know, about 1:30AM I got the dreaded phone call, "Hi Dave, we got a back dog for you."  So, into school I went arriving around 1:45AM.  We started the surgery around 2:30AM or so and it lasted until 4:30 at which point we transported the dog to ICU.  By the time it was all said and done it was about 5:30.  I ran home real quick to grab church clothes, a couple sodas, and a package of pop tarts before heading back to school to write the surgery report, and start the dog's discharge sheet.  Once I had the paperwork mostly under control it was time for me to do my morning treatments on both the back dog as well as my cocker spaniel that had his ear canals removed.  I got that stuff done and the associated paperwork done and then it was decided that my cocker spaniel was ready to be discharged.  The owner came around 10AM and I sent him home.  By the time this was all said and done it was about 10:45AM or so.  I quick changed into my church clothes, got to church just in time for lunch and afternoon service, then came home and fell asleep.  Fortunately, I'm not on call and don't have to be at school tonight at all.  I will head in around 6AM tomorrow morning to do morning treatments on my back dog who just so happened to try to bite me today, so that should be exciting!  I just keep telling myself, one more week before this rotation is over.  The first seven days of soft tissue surgery have seen me at school for 82 hours!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Update 8/9

School continues to consume almost all my time.  Since starting my soft tissue surgery rotation on Monday I have been at school 72 hours.  I was there all morning this morning and get to go back tonight at 8pm for evening treatments.  I'm also first on call tonight from 8pm to 8am so if there are any surgeries that go tonight I will be there.  Almost all of the hours at school have found me busy.  If I'm not busy with patient care, I am busy with paperwork.  There is a TON of paperwork for this rotation between daily physical exam forms, discharges, and surgery reports.  My patient with the wound from Tuesday went home Wednesday as he was doing well which was nice because he was  a lot of work due to his many medications.  My patient who had her parathyroid gland removed just went home this morning, she was doing well and happy to finally be leaving I believe.  On Wednesday, my appointment was a cocker spaniel who had been fighting ear infections most of his life.  This is a common problem with cocker spaniels.  His ears had gotten so inflamed and thickened that his ear canals were most of the way blocked with scar tissue and inflammation.  He even had pus coming out his ears.  So, yesterday we went in and removed both of his ear canals.  While in there we cut through the bone protecting his middle ear and cleaned them out as there was pus in them as well.  Today he's doing well although he's on some pretty powerful pain medications.  He will hopefully go home tomorrow or Monday.  On Monday I have two appointments to see, both are rechecks so hopefully they won't be too bad.  I could use a little bit of a break after this past week! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Soft Tissue Surgery

Sunday night on ER went well and I was able to leave around 1AM Monday morning I was glad for that.  My new rotation, soft tissue surgery, has proven to be exceptionally busy for me, to the point that it has been almost overwhelming.  I have two patients both of whom had surgery today.  The first one had one of its parathyroid glands taken out as it had gotten bigger than it was supposed to and had to come out.  So today I got to touch a dogs thyroid and parathyroid glands while it was still alive, it was kind of neat.  My second dog had surgery this afternoon to close up a large wound on its right hind leg that it sustained by getting hit by a car on Saturday.  That surgery went real well and I even got to suture in the drain that we put in so that was kind of fun.  Normally the doctors do the surgeries since they can tend to be complicated.  So, both of my patients are in the ICU tonight.  The parathyroid dog will be there for a couple more days most likely while the wound dog will hopefully go home tomorrow or maybe Thursday.  There are a ton of medications that I have to keep straight as each has their own meds that they need and it's a lot of work in general.  Tomorrow we have appointments and my appointment is a dog who may end up having both ear canals totally removed on Thursday, we will have to see what the owner decides at the appointment tomorrow.  Otherwise, I have no life, I got out at 730pm last night and 745pm tonight.  I went in about 545am this morning and will be heading in around 530am tomorrow morning.  If anyone finds my social life running around send it back to me because apparently I lost mine.  ;)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Day of Death

One more ER shift and I can complete my 130 hours in 2 weeks of vet med fun!  The last few nights have been crazy, lots of animals with lots of problems.  Last night was also real busy but unfortunately we had to euthanize two young dogs due to parvovirus and then two dogs (one of them my patient from last night) died while in ICU.  So, there were lots of deaths yesterday.  I did get more CPR experience as I helped with chest compressions on one of the ones in the ICU until we were given permission by the owner to stop.  I am really hoping tonight is slower so we can get out in good time as I have orientation for my soft tissue surgery rotation tomorrow morning at 9AM. 

Friday, August 1, 2014


This week has been moving past quite rapidly.  Our nights in the ER have been pretty good.  Last night was really crazy, we saw around 10 cases which is a lot for us.  I had a dog that had had bladder cancer and its bladder ended up rupturing.  We pulled about 650mLs of urine off its abdomen.  He was eventually euthanized once we confirmed that it was cancer that was the problem.  I then had a toy poodle that came in with diabetes, and chronic eye problems.  He wasn't too bad, pretty much put him on fluids overnight and Internal Medicine took him as their case this morning.  But there were lots of other things going on including an ear that had to be sewn up, a dog that was attacked by another dog while out for a walk with its owner, a bird with a prolapsed cloaca (essentially its butt was turned inside out), etc.  It made for quite a night!  We left around 430 this morning.  Only three more nights until I can go back to a normal schedule.  I have loved the ER rotation but I'm ready to be back on days starting Monday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Well, things didn't go quite as planned the last few days but that's alright.  I drove to Tremont after school Saturday evening.  I went to start my car Sunday to head to Tremont church and my car wouldn't start.  Dead battery.  So, after church we got my car started and over to my uncle's shop.  I quick jumped in my aunt's car and drove down to Champaign to just barely make it to school in time at 4PM.  I was there til about 1AM then came home and slept.  Monday morning I drove back to Tremont and stayed there until this afternoon when I drove my car (with its new battery) back to Champaign so I can be at school in a little less than an hour.  Now I will be in Champaign the next four weeks or so with no planned travel.  I will finish off this week with 6 straight night shifts and then I will be done with my ER rotation.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday 7/25

Well, I've been keeping plenty busy here on ER!  However my animals have not been doing too well, fortunately it's not because of anything that I have done wrong.  Yesterday I was involved in the euthanasia of the husky I saw last Thursday on my neurology rotation.  My patient from Wednesday was also euthanized yesterday.  I also learned that my patient from Monday as well as my patient from last Friday on neurology were euthanized.  That's a lot of death but that's just how vet med goes sometimes. 

Today my patient was a......chicken!  Yup, we had a chicken present to our ER today for not walking well on its right foot.  We took a quick radiograph of its foot and it turns out it had dislocated the biggest toe on its foot.  So, we popped the toe back in place and put a splint and bandage on its toe and sent it on its way.  Don't believe I've ever been involved in anything like that before!

Tomorrow I am on day shift again so will be at school from 7AM until 4-6PM or so.  Then Sunday I switch to nights (I go in from 4PM-3AM or so) so I'm off Saturday evening and Sunday morning and early afternoon.  I plan to head to Tremont to be with my brother and see my Uncle Dale and Aunt Mare and their kids again.  Then I will be on nights all next week except for Monday night which is my day off this coming week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This past weekend my brother and a couple friends came to Champaign for Invite-A-Friend.  They arrived around 4pm or so Saturday evening at my place.  That night we went to the Champaign County Fair's Demolition Derby.  None of us had ever seen a derby before so it was pretty fun.  Sunday we went to church and then to a pavilion for a potluck picnic.  A good time was had by all I believe.

Yesterday was the first day of my small animal emergency medicine rotation.  I got there a little before 7AM and didn't leave until about 830PM.  We were very busy the whole day.  I got to be involved in my first legitimate CPR on a cat who didn't end up making it so that was a new experience.  My main patient was a 14 year old cat with a head tilt and falling towards the left while walking, not eating, and lethargic.  He stayed in the ICU overnight last night and was to be transferred to Internal Medicine today.  Throughout the fourteen days of my ER rotation I only get two days off total and today was the first one.  I also have next Monday off as well.  So, it's going to be two weeks of lots of time spent at school.  Woohoo!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Done With Neuro

Today was my last day of my neurology rotation.  I had an awesome time on neurology and feel a lot more comfortable with neurological diseases.  I don't even have to go in this weekend at all which is going to be awesome! 

I am looking forward to having my brother and two friends come down to Champaign tomorrow until Sunday evening.  Champaign church is having Invite A Friend on Sunday so I invited some guys down for it.  It will be even better now that I don't have to be at school at all this weekend.

My next rotation starts this Monday.  I am moving on to small animal emergency medicine.  So I will be doing day and night shifts in the emergency room.  I start on days and switch to nights next Sunday (7/27).  Out of the 14 days of that rotation I get two days off, this coming Tuesday and the following Monday.  Each shift is 11 hours so as of right now I am scheduled to be at school for 66 hours/week for the next two weeks.  And, I'm paying to do this, not getting paid to do it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Africa Pictures

Yes, I have a few more photos to post courtesy of others who were on the trip with me.  First, yet another update:

My little italian greyhound had an MRI and then had his spine tapped to get some cerebrospinal fluid.  Neither of these things showed much for abnormalities.  So, we believe he has what is referred to as Little White Shaker Syndrome.  It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks a part of the brain called the cerebellum.  The treatment is steroids so my little guy was just started on those tonight and hopefully he can go home tomorrow.  

I am looking forward to this weekend when my brother, and a couple friends (one from Oregon and one from Iowa) are going to be in Champaign with me.  

Now, here's the pictures:

Here I am sitting with a dog I had just spayed.  She had very fragile tissue and part of her tissue actually ripped before we got it out so her surgery took a little longer than normal

Patiently waiting while Dr. Hoenig cleans the surgery site so I can castrate this guy

Mike, myself and Nicki swimming in the African waterfall.  The red-haired girl in the front of the picture was not with us. The water was extremely cold but it was totally worth it.

Mary and I during the middle of a spay

Mike and I spaying away

The main bulk of our group one day after surgeries

Standing on the balcony of the first hotel

Sunday hike by to the waterfalls

It's hard to see in this picture but we were getting soaked by a heavy mist from the waterfall

Looking out over the Tanzanian countryside

Thought these little guys were pretty cute

Proof that dogs are handled differently in Tanzania compared to most dogs in the states

I had never castrated a cat before and so, on the last day of surgeries I finally had my chance!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Neuro Update

Wow, life is kind of crazy here in neurology land.  My dog that I talked about last week that had to have a second surgery did go home Saturday morning.  He still was unable to feel pain in his back feet and was unable to walk but he was able to feel when we pinched along his back just a little further back than earlier which was a small glimmer of hope.  I did receive word today that the owner emailed the neurology technician and said that he had peed on his own and had even wagged his tail so that is great news! 

Over the weekend we had two in-house patients in the ICU that we had to take care of every morning.  And man was it fun!  They both screamed very loudly every time you touched them and one of them tried to bite you.  Fortunately, the loudest screamer went home today and the screamer/biter is being a little bit better behaved and it's a good thing too; he is staying with us all week for physical therapy.

Later on this afternoon I became responsible for a one year old Italian Greyhound who presented to the ER Saturday for tremors.  He is shaking all over and it almost never stops.  I feel bad for the poor guy.  Tomorrow he will have an MRI and a spinal tap to pull some spinal fluid out so we can try to figure out what is going on with him and get him feeling better.

Sunday I spent the day (after dealing with ridiculous screaming dogs) in Congerville with Uncle Loren and Aunt Joan.  It was a nice break from thinking about school and neurology after the crazy week we had. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

More Africa Pictures

I have a few more pictures from Africa that were taken by people other than me.  First, just a quick update, I have completed my first week of my neurology rotation.  It has been great, we are seeing quite a few patients, many of whom have required surgery.  My little dachshund went home this morning.  We are hoping that eventually he will start walking but only time will tell.  Right now we only have two patients in the hospital, both in the ICU.  Unfortunately, they are both major screamers and make a ton of racket whenever you try to do anything to them.  While neither one has actually bitten someone, they have both tried which is always fun.  When we were done working with them this morning, my ears were actually ringing a little bit because they are so loud.  Can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow morning!

Without further ado, here are some more pictures, in no particular order:

Climbing up a huge tree in the middle of the plains during the safari

Playing "Switzerland Memory" at the second hotel

Dr. Bennett and I on the safari

Nicki and myself both suturing at the same time.  This dog's uterus and ovaries were very fragile and ended up ripping so we had to make her incision a lot bigger, pull most of her guts out and find the stump of tissue that was left behind so we could tie it off to make it stop bleeding.  In an effort to cut down on the total surgery time, I closed the fat layer just under the skin while Nicki came behind me and sutured the skin closed

Here I have the famous "tick hemostats."  These hemostats were used daily as many of the dogs had a number of ticks in their ears and around their heads and necks.

Photo taken of us sitting on the edge of the rocks overlooking the Tanzania countryside during our hike on the Sunday between our two weeks of surgery

Changing the tire on our truck. This was flat tire #1 of 3 flat tires we had in about 1 1/12 days between our normal truck and the truck we took on the safari. 

Myself, Samwel (our safari guide), Dr. Bennett, and Dr. Hoenig.  My four classmates were sitting on a grate that was on top of the actual cab of the truck.  It looked extremely uncomfortable so I stayed down on the somewhat cushioned seats.

Dr. Hoenig and I looking out over the hippos in the pond

 Me spaying a dog

 Mike, Ani, me, Samwel, Dr. Bennet, and Dr. Hoenig on the safari

Mike and I hanging out by the pool at the resort

Dr. Bennett was demoted from board certified veterinary surgeon in the states to fluid pole on this particular day

This was from day 1 of surgery.  I was the anesthetist in this case and here I am checking the dog's jaw tone.  When a dog is sufficiently anesthetized, their jaw is pretty lax, when they start to get light, they begin to get more tone in their jaw

These are just a couple photos that show that I actually was involved in this trip.  Most of my photos didn't have me in it since I was taking them.  I enjoy looking back at them and remembering this awesome trip!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Today is my third day of neurology.  And it's been quite a week already!  I had an appointment Monday that was real easy, a cocker spaniel who had been on medication for seizures but who hadn't had a seizure for two years so we told the owner to stop the medication and see what happens.  That afternoon a dachshund came into ER with a painful back and unable to use his hind legs after falling on his back while trying to get up on the bed.  ER called for a neurology consult so we checked him out and felt like he had probably slipped a disc in his back.  At this point, it was decided that neurology would take over the case and I ended up with him as my patient.  We did a CT scan and it showed, that between his 11th and 12 thoracic vertebra a disc had ruptured and its contents were putting pressure on his spinal cord, thus making it so that he could not walk.  We went into surgery almost immediately (about 5PM Monday evening) and removed a little bit of bone and scooped out the material that was compressing the spinal cord.  However, he actually got a little worse after surgery in that he was no longer able to feel pain in his legs which he had been able to do before surgery.  After a day of not being able to feel pain, we ran another CT scan which showed that a large amount of blood had pooled at the surgery site and was compressing the spinal cord again.  So, within an hour or so, I will be going back into surgery with the dog (and the neurologist) and we will be re-opening his back and removing the blood to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.  It should be an interesting surgery however it's too bad for the dog that we have to open up his back again.  We have had three surgeries already for slipped discs in dogs in the past three days.  It's been keeping us quite busy here in neurology!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I just got back yesterday from Africa and I have a ton of pictures and a lot of things to say so this is going to be one looooong post. Here goes:

We left Friday June 13th at 605AM, flying from Chicago to JFK in New York (2 hours).  Then we flew off to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (12 1/2 hours) before flying the last leg to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (5 1/2 hours) arriving around 3pm Saturday afternoon..  Once there, we took a cab from the airport to Tiffany Diamond Hotel in Dar es Salaam for the night.  It was here that we met up with Drs. Hoenig and Avery and had dinner with them Saturday evening.  Here are the pictures from that day:

Flying into Dubai, you can see the world's tallest building in this photo

I thought it was really neat how it was so much desert below when flying into Dubai

Starbucks coffee but written in Arabic (or some language like that)

Safely landed in Dar es Salaam, this is the airport

Our room in Dar es Salaam

The view from our room

Sunday morning after breakfast we drove the four hours or so to Morogoro, where we would be spending our first week.  We stayed at the Arc Hotel there for five nights.  

Our ride

The next few photos are some that I took while driving from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro

Police station

Entrance to the Arc Hotel

View from the balcony off of our room

 Lobby of the hotel

Once we got there, us five students decided to take a little walk along the road that the hotel was on

Soccer field near our hotel

A young man named Shadrach had a lot of neat things that we could buy just outside the front doors to the hotel.  Needless to say, he had a lot of business from us

Monday morning we actually had to drive two hours to the place that we were going to be doing our surgeries. The rest of the week it wasn't quite that long of a drive. We performed spays, castrations, and vaccinations/deworming for mostly dogs but did have a few cats come our way as well. 

The awesome view from our hotel in the morning

Each morning for the first week we stopped at the only vet school in Tanzania to pick up a few people and the supplies we needed.

Dr. Hoenig from our vet school is next to me and Dr. Bennett, the veterinary surgeon from Florida, is on the far right.  For students it is me, Ani, Mary, Mike, and Nicki

And here we are, welcome to our first surgery suite

They were waiting for us

This dog was one of a number of dogs that we saw that had TVT (transmissible venereal tumor).  It is a virus that is passed during mating that actually causes tumors to form on the genitals.  Dr. Bennett removed this one.

All done

The kids loved any interaction we gave them.  Here I am monitoring a dog that just got done with surgery as it wakes up.  Since it was down and quiet I let the kids use my stethoscope to listen to its heartbeat.  Most of the dogs we dealt with were not real used to people and some of them could be quite aggressive when we tried to give vaccines so we got good at giving them rapidly.

Saw this very large snail right outside our hotel

These are now pictures from Tuesday

Nicki waiting on a puppy to wake up from surgery

A fruit stand right near where we were doing surgeries

Mary and Peter playing in the sand



These little guys are recovering from surgery, normally you wouldn't be able to hold most of the dogs like this as they weren't that friendly

This dog's name was Saddam Hussein

So now I can say I have a picture of me and Saddam Hussein

This view never got old

Small animal surgery suite at the vet school, we took a short tour Wednesday after we were done.

Thursday and yet another picture of the view from our room

We worked right next to this church on Thursday

Many of the dogs had these wounds on their ears from the flies eating at their ears

Friday morning before surgeries we went and toured the Apopo detection rat training center.  It is here that rats are trained to detect land mines.  Once trained they are sent to countries like Cambodia where old land mines are still present.

The powder used in land mines is put in this egg.  When the rat correctly identifies a positive egg it is rewarded.

Rewarded with a banana in fact.

This millipede was found at the rat training facility.  There was also one that hung around near our room during the second week. They are quite large and really cool.

 Driving in Tanzania is crazy, almost reckless.  Here is are a couple pictures taken while we were stuck in traffic.

A couple more pictures taken while driving to our surgery area Friday

Friday's surgery area was way out on the side of a mountain, it took a lot of driving on extremely bumpy roads to get there.  We only did three spays but each one had complications so they all took awhile.

After our surgeries were done, we left Morogoro and headed to our hotel in Mikume.  Along the way you end up driving right through the middle of the national park which is home to a lot of wildlife.  These are pictures taken from the truck on the way to Mikume.

Saturday was our safari.  I took a ton of pictures, none of which bears much explanation so here they are:

Elephant skull

Hippo skull

Rhino skull


I thought these trees were neat

Juvenile male impalas fighting

Samwel was our tour guide, and a good one too!


Wildebeasts (and a giraffe butt)


Cape buffalo, they are supposedly very aggressive animals

A black-backed jackal

baby crocodile


Sunday we went hiking at Sanje Falls.  It was a very good workout and the falls and the view from the falls was amazing.

At the main area where you paid for your tour guide there were a ton of red colobus monkeys and baboons.  The baboons were essentially like squirrels in the US in that they were everywhere.

Red colobus monkeys


They loved our truck

At the base of the falls, seen in the last couple pictures, there was a pool of water coming from the falls.  Mike, Nicki, and I swam in it.  The water was freezing but like Nicki said, "How often do you get to swim in an African waterfall?"

On Monday of week 2 we worked right next to a school

On Tuesday we worked at an abandoned train station

On Monday, Ani had gotten bitten by some unknown bugs that made huge almost welt-like lesions on her face and arms.  Here she is hanging out icing them which ended up helping.  It was weird because she was the only one who got them, even though all five of us students and the two doctors were together all the time.

Wednesday was a very busy surgery day.  It was also the day that a puppy died in my arms most likely due to not being able to handle the anesthetic it was given. I was sitting with it after I castrated it and all the sudden I noticed that I couldn't hear the heart rate when I checked it.  I ended up doing CPR on it but it was too late.  It was the third of three dogs that died during our time in Tanzania.  

Here's a couple pictures of Tan-Swiss Lodge, our "home" for the second week


Friday was our last day of surgeries.  We actually went to two different spots.  The first one had a number of surgeries for us to do as well as many vaccinations.  Some of the dogs at this spot were actually used for hunting baboons. 

This cat was the only cat that I castrated.  Ani is watching it for me as it wakes up.

Warning: slightly gruesome pictures coming up
There were a couple dogs who had TVT at this spot as well.  This first one was removed by Dr. Muhairwa.

Dr. Muhairwa was our contact at the vet school in Tanzania.  He only came with us three out of the ten days. 

This next dog below also had TVT.  I asked Dr. Muhairwa if he wanted me to assist him to which he responded, "Do you want to do it?"  Of course I said yes so I got to learn how to remove TVT's thanks to him.  The poor dog was also getting spayed at the same time that I was learning how to remove her tumors.

In the afternoon we headed off to the second place of the day where we did one cat castration and vaccinated a number of dogs.  On the way we passed these rolling hills that I thought were really neat

Papaya tree

The light green vine in this picture is a passion fruit vine

As we were setting up, this passion fruit fell from the vine.  I opened it and ate it.  I am not a huge fan of passion fruit plain as it is quite sour and has a lot of seeds.

This is the entire crew after we were ready to leave: left ro right is me, Dr. Hoenig, James (the village official who brought us to our various spots during week 2), Anton (the technician who helped us every day), Nickson (a recent vet school graduate who helped us every day), Mike, Ani, Nicki, Dr. Muhairwa, Dr. Bennett, and Mary

 Just a few photos of our room in Mikume at Tan-Swiss Lodge

Friday night we stayed one last night in Mikume.  Then, Saturday we had a six hour drive back to Dar es Salaam where Drs. Hoenig and Bennett began their journey back to the states while us five students spent the night back at the Tiffany Diamond Hotel in Dar es Salaam.  Sunday morning we got up and, after breakfast, headed for the ferry to take us to Zanzibar.  We started walking down a ramp where we thought we were supposed to go when a couple guys came running up behind us, telling us we were going the wrong way and that ferry tickets were the opposite way.  They said they would bring us to get tickets.  Well, they ended up bringing us to some little shack thing and said we needed to go into the shack to get tickets.  After a little discussion Mary entered the shack.  I was a little wary as it seemed a little weird that no one else was there buying tickets or anything so I stepped in front of the door in case they tried to close the door with Mary inside by herself.  My classmates behind me were talking to another couple of the men, and based on their responses to my classmates questions, we ended up leaving. Just a little bit down the road from the shack was the legitimate ferry ticket office.  I'm not sure if it was a scam or what exactly it was, but we were all glad we didn't go any further with those random men.  Once we had our tickets we began boarding the ferry. The people getting on the ferry had absolutely no manners, pushing, shoving, and cutting in front of you in line whenever they could.  At one point, a man told his kid to cut in front of us at which point Nicki stuck out her arm and said, No way thereby blocking the kid from cutting us.  It was really crazy.  The ferry ride was fine, pretty relaxing.  Here's a couple pics from our ferry ride from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar.

Upon arriving at the port at Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar, we took a 45 minute taxi ride to Ocean Paradise Resort.  What we saw upon entering amazed us all.  It was much nicer than we even imagined!  In this first picture, looking out from the reception area, you can see the pool off to the right in the picture and then the Indian Ocean straight ahead.

These little birds are basket weavers.  They had built a number of nests in a few of the plants near the reception area

The pool was the largest pool I've ever seen. It even had a swim-up bar in it so you could swim up, sit on a seat in the pool at the bar and have a beverage.

The girls' first taste of the Indian Ocean.  It was delightfully warm.

In this picture you can see that there is a fence separating the chairs from the ocean.  There are a number of locals and Masai (a semi-nomadic tribe) people who have shops on the beach.  When you are on the ocean side of the fence, you are fair game for them to come up to and man oh man, they sure do come up to you.  It was kind of a pain really, they would come up all the time and want to sell you something or have you come to their shop.  They would also want to bring you on a jet ski, or bring you out to the reef when the tide was out, all for money.  The worst part of it was that sometimes, if you were just walking out to the reef yourself, they would just join you, point out a few things, and then at the end expect to be payed.  I told them at one point that if they wanted to be payed they needed to ask me ahead of time if I even wanted them with me, don't just join me and then expect me to pay you.  

The dinners at the resort were great.  They were buffet-style which is always a plus!  The first night was Italian night.  There was a lot of great pastas and other Italian foods.  I took a few pictures that night just to show the amount of food that was available.

The dessert bar on the left and fruit bar on the right.  The pineapple, papaya, mango, lychee fruit, bananas, etc were absolutely delicious. 

Main courses.  Just to the right of the picture was where you could pick your sauce and noodles and they would mix it up and heat it in a skillet for you


Sunday night, the resort had booked some of the guys from the group of Masai that live nearby to perform some of their traditional songs and dances for us.

The Masai are extremely good jumpers

Here are some pictures of Ani playing soccer with some of the locals and Masai boys.  You rarely saw local or Masai girls out on the beach

Thought this picture turned out cool

On Monday, Mike and I walked out to the reef.  It didn't take long for us to be joined by not one, not two, but three locals.  It was good that they were with us though because they could point out animals that we wouldn't have been able to see without them.

A sponge

Sea urchin

Looking back towards shore

A large sea urchin that apparently is poisonous

Sea cucumber

Some of the people actually farm seaweed so when the tide is out they go out and tend to their seaweed "pastures"


There were a ton of sea urchins so you had to be real careful where you stepped because you would be in a lot of pain if you stepped on one since their spikes are very hard


Looking back towards shore from the reef

We did befriend a few of the Masai guys, although they still kept telling us, "come to my shop."  The thing was all of their shops had pretty much the same stuff in them.

Mary bought this painting from Daniel.  He was a very nice, not pushy Masai guy

We will have to start calling him Masai Mike!

Some of the shops along the beach

I bought a drink from the resort that consisted of straight coconut juice.  They literally opened the very top of the coconut and inserted a straw.  It was okay, I wouldn't pay big money to get another one.

On Tuesday, Ani and I went back out to the reef because on Monday we weren't able to get to the starfish pool because the tide was coming back in already.

A sponge.  You will notice that this one is purple, sponges are able to spit out ink and this one was very actively spitting it out which got our hands all purple

Sea urchin

Sea cucumber

Another sea urchin


Sea spiders.  There were a bunch more on my left arm but that didn't quite make it into the picture

 Starfish pool.  When the water leaves the reef as the tide goes out, there are various small areas where the water stays.  In this one particular spot, there are a number of large starfish that reside here.

Looking back towards shore

That is the last of my pictures.  Monday night dinner was Swahili night and Tuesday night was Ocean Night. I wasn't super excited about Ocean Night since I'm not very big on seafood but they did luckily have some non-seafood items.  I did, however, try a new seafood that I had never had and actually didn't mind it: octopus.  It is very chewy and it's kind of weird because you can see the little "suckers" on the bottom of its legs as you put them into your mouth.  Wednesday morning we took a taxi at 815AM back to Stone Town.  There we bought our ferry tickets, again having to fend off would be line cutters, and got on the ferry which brought us back to Dar es Salaam.  We caught a taxi (not that hard when every other person there asks if you need a taxi) from the ferry station to the airport.  We flew from Dar es Salaam to Dubai again (5 hours) where we spent a very not-restful night in the airport.  9 1/2 hours later we boarded the plane and flew to Milan, Italy (6 1/2 hours) where we got off the plane, hung out for an hour and a half or so and then got back on the same plane for our 8 1/4 hour flight to New York where we landed around 630PM.  Upon landing in New York we found out that our New York to Chicago flight had been cancelled and the earliest flight they could give us was Saturday morning.  So, we decided to rent a car (we got one of the last ones available as everyone was renting cars due to the large amount of flights being cancelled) and left New York at 1130PM and arrived in Chicago at 12PM the next day.  By the time I finally got to Urbana, it was 330PM, meaning that I had been in traveling mode for about 63 hours!  Let's just say it was good to be done traveling!