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In final year we have rotations in different aspect of veterinary, but they had removed any practical rotations with dentistry. I think that dentistry is going to be a large part of veterinary practice when we qualify so booked myself a week with Norman Johnston which was the lecturer who taught us dentistry forth year.

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Norman Johnston had over the years created a specialist referral hospital for Dentistry up in North Berwick, Scotland. It was about a 2 hour drive from Glasgow and I was very lucky to come across Brenda & Frank at the Richmont cottage, who let me stay with them for my week for a very good price.
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Norman had seen dentistry with a lot of different species including, polar bears, sun bears, Asiatic black (moon) Bears, Chengu du, Lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetah, African wild dogs, gorilla, chimpanzees and may smaller monkeys such as L´hoest, squirrel monkey and lemur.  He’s also treated pygme hippo, red panda and babirusa so you can say hes seem quite the variety of patients. Norman used to teach the dentistry final years at Glasgow, so I think I was very lucky to find him.

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My first day I was thought the importance of the Dental chart, which is a chart that vets can use to systematically look at each tooth and grade how much gingivitis or calculus there is on a tooth. This could allow the vet to compare the mouth hygiene of a dog/cat from one polish to the next, and can also show the owners the importance of tooth brushing in animals. Norman used this in some dogs where they located where the owner were missing to brush on the teeth so that the owner could correct this for the next time.

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I saw a lot of different things, but the major difference I noticed with a referral dental clinic is that they have 2-3 patients a day, so everything is a lot less stressful and Norman also has the time to properly explain everything to the owners. He takes before and after pictures to make reports both to the vets and to the owner to better explain things, which I thought was an excellent idea.  There was a dog which had fractures its canine down to the pulp, which then had to be toot canaled. There was a cat which had been in a car accident that they had previously placed a wire to connect the mandible symphysis, the wire was removed and its fractures upper canines was removed.

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One little dog had mandibular disoclusion (overshot bite 2mm) and lingual displacement of the lower canines occluding into the hard palate. This created wounds in the hard palate. This is an inheritable condition.

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I also experienced removal of an epulis over upper incisors that had proliferated from the peridonal ligament (fibrous amilioblastoma) & incisor tumour growth.

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Dental vets also showed me how to position dental xrays to cover the tooth & root of the tooth you are investigating as well as developmental settings for the radiographic equipment.

My dog Tasha had fractured here decidious canine whilst playing with here brother and under further examination I concluded that the pulp was exposed. Norman was kind enough to let me fit Tasha in between the other clients on the last day. Because here canines were lingually displaced as well, we concluded to remove both here decidious whilst she was under anesthesia anyways to allow the permanent canines to have the full potential to develop naturally. The operation went fine, and she recovered great without pawing at here stitches too much.

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It was a great week, so hope to come back to see north berwick again. Its really a shame we don’t see dentistry practically at the vet school, but I at least feel a bit more equipped to deal with it when Im a new graduate now!

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This week I’m located down in the west Midlands doing Equine fertility work with John Newcombe and Gary Kelly. John Newcombe is one of Britain’s most prominent equine stud vets and is an expert in his field. He works with Embryo Transfer all over the world and Mare Fertility/ pregnancy diagnosis. John also does a lot of research within equine reproduction. Gary is also an equine fertility vet, but he also works with Equine dentistry.

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The problem with being a new vet is that it’s expected that you know so much when you graduate even though your not allowed to do much before your qualified when seeing practice. Therefore I decided to travel to Brownhills in West midlands, just outside of Birmingham to gain some experience in equine reproduction with the famous John Newcombe. I flew in from Glasgow on Sunday and already on Sunday evening John was having me rectal examine his mares to locate the uterus and ovaries. He would then ultrasound these structures to identify what stage of the cycle they were to potentially cover them with a stallion.

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Rectal examination of horses is quite a tricky thing to do in the beginning, because you might know the theory bind what your meant to feel, but you don’t know how it feels or where to located what your meant to feel. All mares are different as well, which makes it hard to standardise the learning. The only way to learn this method is to practice it, but then again many clinics won’t let you practice this as student, because of the danger that the mare will have a rectal tear, in which case she might have to be put down. John has over 50 horses at his yard, which are all used to him examining them. So I was allowed to examine them when brought in. In the beginning I had problems locating the uterus, especially in the older mares because the uterus was often located much further in and I’m not a very tall person.

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I’ve now been here a week and with being allowed to rectal examine horses 3 times a day, I’ve notices a huge improvement. I can now locate the uterus in all the mares that come in as well as locate most of the ovaries. I’ve also started to be able to assess the tone of the uterus body and horns as well as the size of the ovaries. This is important because the uterus and horns will change in tone depending on where in the cycle the mare is. The ovaries will also change in tone right before ovulation as well as some mares being more tender at this point. Its therefore important to assess all of the mares behaviour, not just oestrus behaviour.

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Several of the mares were covered/mated when I was here as well. John is doing research where he flushes the Mare after a certain amount of hours after she has been covered to compare how many inflammatory cells there are in the uterus after natural service (stallion) compared to frozen or chilled semen inseminated. Therefore 4-6 hours after the mare was covered, we flushed here, often at midnight.

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Warren house if one of the few veterinary clinics in Britain that y regularly and successfully carry out Embryo transfer.  This procedure is when you take a 7 day old embryo from one mare (“donor”) and place it into the uterus of another mare (“recipient”).  The recipient mare will then carry the pregnancy to term and mother the foal until weaning. The donor mare is then free to be mated again to achieve more pregnancies in the same year or continue her competitive career.

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Next week I’m of to do Veterinary dentistry at a referral clinic in North Berwich.
Talk soon
Annette

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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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