Archive for April, 2010

Sunday the 21 of march 2010 an icelandic volcano erupted. It had been dornamt for over 200 years. The volcano sendt lava a hundred metres high and the icelandic airspace & most of european airspace has been closed since because of the smoke created, which is dangerous to fly in. The volcano was situated near the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier and initially it was feared that the volcano could cause flooding, as it causes ice to melt on the glacier above it, but that scenario appears to have been avoided.The last volcanic eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area occurred in 1821. Here are some pretty pictures from the vulcano (taken from http://www.vg.no)


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Hi just wanted to show  you guys so me pictures from how its been in Glasgow the past couple of days whilst Im stuck in the library reading for Professional exams=)
Its been really sunny and 15-24*c.

My flatmate Natalie (syd) has gotten herself a rescue cat names Amos. He was starved by hes previous owners and was so thin that we could feel all his ribs. After feeding him up a bit hes looking quite healthy, although my rats are terrified=)

Today was the vet school annual rodeo. It’s basically a big fun fair with lots of animals and all the proceeds go to several animal charities. This year it went to Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Riding for the Disabled, PDSA and the Vet School Development Fund. We raised over 14,000 £  for local charities, and had a great time doing it. There were events such as Falconry, Duck Herding, Magician, Highland Dancers, Dray Rides, Chainsaw sculptor, Ferret Racing, Western Riding, Vaulting.. and many more. Me and Brianna were in charge of taking register for people entering the dog show for the first half of the day. It wasnt a read dog show, but just for fun where the catagories included who had the waggiest tail, who looked most alike (dog & owner) and fun obedience. After we had done our part, because 1st years always help out with the event seeing its the second year students who arrange the whole event, me and Brianna walked around a bit before heading home to hit the books again.

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Hi again,
forgot to show you guys a little clip of what lambing is like,
BBC has a show this year from a farm in Wales so enjoy:

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Part of the veterinary program is for the students to get experience or EMS as they call it. One of the experiences they want us to have it to experience lambing and assisting the farmer. I got a placement at a farm right outside of Hereford at the border of Wales, for 3 weeks. Brilley Court farm was about 7,5 hour drive from Glasgow and we were three students going, me, Sarah & Stephanie. The two girls that came with me were both American student. We drove down on the 18th of March, a few breaks and we reached the farm around 6.30, the sat-nav told me that we had reached the destination, but we were in the middle of a country road and not a farm to see. Turned out we had to go a bit further and there was a road leading down to the farm itself. We were meet by Mike and Heather that ran the farm and lived in that house with their son Richard (that also worked on the farm) and their daughter that was rarely there. The farm was owned by the Bulmer Family, but they lived in a bigger house further down and didn’t handle the animals or any of the work with the farm. We lived on the 3rd floor of the house, in the attic so to speak, Steph and Sarah in one room and me in the room next to theirs. They had had students working at the farm for 30 years or more and well the bed was showing it. The windows had wind blowing right through them, so I had a heater in my room and slept with a hot water bottle and wool underwear, which worked fine. The shifts were divided into four days and 10 hours, with some overlap during the day to feed and water. First I would start working –> 18 for 5 days, then have 18 hours off before I started four days working 12–>10 and have 24 hours off before working the night shift for four days 10–>8 and then start the routine again. This was to make sure we all got the same shifts and that we all got to experience how it was to work nights. The first days started of slowly because lambing wasn’t technically suppose to start until the Monday after.  We started of my having 10-15 ewes lambing in each shift and thought that was a lot but as the week went on we had up to 40 ewes lambing in a shift which was quite a lot for one person to handle.

The ewes marked with a red dot behind the shoulders were supposed to have a single lamb, no colour was doubles and green colour was triplets or more. Ideally a lamb should be born in a diving position with its two front legs in front with the head on top.

The problem with the singles was that they had had to much concentrate so most of the lambs were too big for the ewe to push out on her own, even when lying in the ideal position. This resulted in us having to pull them out. In the beginning we couldn’t do this on our own, but as the time went I learned the tricks to get them out. If the head was stuck I would pull out the legs first and place my hand on top of the head to slowly wiggle it out. It the lamb had one leg out and one laying back, the shoulder blade of the lamb would often get stuck on the pelvic bone of the ewe. I would pull one leg and the head out, and then hold down the shoulder blade while someone else pulled on the lamb to push it past the pelvic bone.

Some of the lambs were born very weak, some were born prematurely, so instead of feeding them with a bottle, which some of them were to weak to do, we would put a tube down their stomach to directly give them colostrum or milk into the stomach (stomach tube the lambs). Lambs need colostrum within their first 24 hours to get vital jump start to their immune system.  Some ewes would not have any milk, and some ewes would reject their lambs, so the ewes that lost their lambs or gave birth to dead lambs and had milk, would be put in a pen with their head restraint. Then we could put lambs on them, and within a few days the new lambs would start to smell like her and when we let them out, the ewe would think the lambs were hers. We called this the lamb adoption.

One day I was called out to help Sarah in the middle of the night to pull a lamb out that had only his head hanging out. Sarah had been trying to get it out for some time and the head had started to swell up like a balloon. The ewe was a big Texel, which means that she had a big neck so she was hard to get to lay down by bending the next. So to get her down I threw myself on her so that we both went down. We got the lamb out, but his head was almost as big as his mums head. We called him lollipop-head. When lollipop-head was trying to stand he would tip forward because his head was so heavy, was quite comical to see. After a couple of days the swelling went down, but by then lollipop-head had learned to stand with his un-proportional head.  Generally Texel sheep were better mums, they would follow me when I took their lambs to the pen and lick their lambs clean. Unfortunately not all ewes were like this and a lot of the time I had to chase the ewe around the pen until I caught her and chase her to the pen, sometime I even had to take the lamb away to a heat box because the ewe didn’t want to lick the lamb clean. Some ewes would be good mums, but then if we weren’t watching they would lie on their lambs and suffocate them.  Yes sheep are stupid. I have had many encounters with sheep that verified that.  One sheep were chasing its own water bag, round and round herself, like a dog chasing its tail. One of the dumbest sheep I meet we nick named Dumb-dumb.  She dug a hole in the pen and buried her lambs, so  when we found them one was dead and the other lamb very weak.  I decided to put her in the adoptive pen because she had milk, but moving her up to the adoptive pens wasn’t as easy as we thought. When me and Sarah got her out of the pen the ewe jumped over a meter high fence into a pen with another ewe and two lambs. Finally got her out of that and up to the adoptive pens she jumped into a pen with one of the other adoptive mums and tried to push her head into the split that the sheep that was already there had her head. We had to lift her out to place her in a pen of her own. Stupid Stupid sheep..

Taking any of the sheep to the vet would be more expensive than what they were worth so Mike had his own ways of fixing the problems, and with over 30 years of experience his knowledge was very good.  Every time we went into a ewe to pull out a lamb, we would give her 6ml of penicillin (antibiotic) intra muscular to prevent any infections in the uterus.  Throughout the UK, watery mouth disease accounts for ~25% of all lamb deaths in indoor intensive lambing systems. The disease develops quickly and affects predominantly lambs 12-72 hr old that have had inadequate or delayed access to colostrum, if untreated, most affected lambs die. The disease develops after ingestion of gram-negative bacteria, particularly Escherichia coli and is very contagious if it first hits the lambs. The unique digestive physiology of the newborn lamb and absence of gut or systemic antibodies allow ingested bacteria to survive and translocate from the gut to the bloodstream. We would therefore give the lambs a shot of Spectam, a scour halt oral solution, into the mouth as soon as possible after birth to prevent watery mouth. We still had some cases and as soon as we saw the wetness around the mouth we would give four shots of Spectam to try and kill the bacteria. Sometimes it worked and sometime it would have gotten to far and the lamb would die. Dosing a newborn lamb’s umbilical cord in iodine as soon as possible after birth is an inexpensive way to guard against infection spreading so we also did this as soon as possible after the lambs were born.

Entropion  or Turned in eyelids is when in-turned hairs of the lower eyelid rub on the cornea and cause severe irritation.  The condition is painful and affected eyes appear half-closed and watery.  Some cases spontaneously recover, but in most lambs, unless treated, the cornea becomes cloudy and ulcerated, leading to permanent blindness. We had some cases and if caught early enough you could just pull the eyelids apart, opening the eye to turn them back and the problem would be fixed, but we had one case that got quite bad, a lot of puss and the farmer said there was nothing to do and the lamb would probably go blind on that eye. One lamb was born without a rectum. We noticed because after a couple of days it looked like he swallowed a basket ball. He was bloated because nothing could come out anywhere. Normally if one could see a indentation where the anus should have been, you could take a scalpel and cut a hole and the lamb would be fine. Unfortunately this lamb didn’t have an indentation and he also had an under bite which would make it harder for him to eat grass later so the farmer shot him.  Sway back is when a lamb is born with a damaged nervous system, due to lack of copper in the ewe’s diet, they will arch their back and/or shake. We had two set of twins that got this condition and all of them died. Unfortunately there is nothing to do but to wait and see if the lamb is strong enough to live.

To finish my last shift of I had 4 ewes and I got to learn two little lambs that had been out in the field and lost their mum, to bottle feed which was a very nice way to finish this experience. I don’t know if I would recommend working with two best friends on a farm with no contact with civilisation, It can make you feed left out a lot of the times. Bobby was kind enough to come by to keep me company on my last night shift and one of my days off, which was really really nice. Tomorrow in driving 7 hours back to Glasgow, and I must say I will be glad not to see any sheep for a while. On the other hand, the next month will be spent in the library studying for professionals. The faculty have put our 4 exams in one week. The exams are worth 85% each so fingers crossed=)

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Last thing before easter Me and Brianna arranged a Party to raise money for our class at Walkabout in the city centre. It was a success and we had about 200-300 people from the vet school there, I was dressed as one of the lions in lionking. Here are some pictures:

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