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Posts Tagged ‘rectal examination’

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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Ever since I started vet school I wanted to visit Africa and try working as a vet with all the exotic animals there. Vets & wildlife is one of the organizations that allowed this; working alongside an experienced wildlife veterinarian and participating in capture and treatment of wildlife. I was lucky enough to get to work with Dr Marius Louw.

To get cheap flights I had to travel quite the detour. My journey started in Oslo at 8 am going to London. I was meant to leave London to Cairo, Egypt at 15:00 but the flight was delayed 2 hours. We were meant to reach Cairo, Egypt at 21:00, but didn’t get there until 22:30. My last flight to Johannesburg was boarding at 23:10 so I literally had to run through the airport to make it. I was very worried that because of this my luggage wouldn’t get there with me. I arrived at Johannesburg at 7am the following morning and was greeted by the host family; Heleen & Blacky Swart, who drove me to where I was staying in Modimolle two hours from the airport.

I got places in the Limpopo province, South Africa, in a town called Modimolle or Nylstroom. This is on the southern edge of the province. I’m staying with a lovely host family here in Modimolle at the Lekkerbly chalet Guest house with Blackie and Heleen. It’s a very friendly Guesthouse where I got a large double bedroom to by self with an en suite shower/bathroom. The room had a separate entrance so that I could leave in the early hours of the morning without waking anyone. There was a large fence around the house, that I had my own key for in addition to a fridge in the room where the guest house made a lunch that was ready for my days adventures when I left. In the garden there was a Jacuzzi and a small pool. There was also a small bar on the premises, so all in all I was pleasantly surprised by the standard.

The first day Marius Picked me and another student names Ele (from Cambridge) up at 5.40 to leave for one of his largest clients. They had a lot of Wilder beast they wanted to Microchip, blood sample and move to another site. Marius also has a vet nurse named Jozelle who came with us today. The vet went up in a helicopter with a very good pilot “Lambert” and darted the animals from the air. Then a buckie (truck) drove after the Helicopter and black workers jumped out and lifted the animals up in the buckie back to the camp where we were, which was not too far away. Me and Ele both had responsibility for two drugs each. I was to inject the large animals with 5ml biosolomine and 4 ml kyrolego and the younger once with 3ml of each, and Ele was giving them 3ml duplosilin, which is a penicillin for the dart wound and 8ml anti parasitic dip on the back. Jozelle gave them 1.5ml ivermectin sub q. We also had to blood test them, so we both got to practice blood sampling quickly in the field. All in all we worked until 6 pm and did 106 wilder beast that day, which was a new record according to Marius. At one point I was allowed up in the helicopter whilst they darted the animals. I thought I’d be terrified of the heights, but it was actually a lot of fun, so I really hope I get to do it again.

The second day we were picked up at 5.45 again and were really feeling the work we did the day before. In the mornings it was quite cold, so you had to wear a fleece. We went back to the client of the day before. This day they had some Golden wilderbeest they wanted to move and blood test to get their DNA profile to see how their genes were. The Golde Wilderbeest had a lighter colour than the “normal” blue Wilder beast, which makes them worth a lot more money. A gold wilderbeest could get sold for 200 000 Rand compared to 1500 R for a blue wilder beast. The atmosphere was therefore a bit tenser that day. Everything went in a lot slower tempo to make sure that the animals were treated with care. After the last wilder beast was treated, they darted some Impala from the helicopter as well. These are a lot harder to dart because they jump when they run. The impala was given smaller doses of drugs; they were also given smaller doses in the dart because they would die quicker. The vet often came running out of the helicopter to give them the reversal drugs to make them not go into cardio arrest.

The next day we worked with Impala which is like a medium sized African antelope. Dr. Louw had to dart them from the helicopter again, but these were much harder to dart then the wilderbeest because they jump from side to side and also reach a running speed up to 90 km/h. The impala was injected with penicillin for its dart wound, and moved. One of the Impala ran into the fence when darted and got a nasty wound on the head about 10-15cm long. It had to get stitches before it could be moved on. One of the impale there was black which is very rare.

Erika Senekal is another vet at the Practise Bos en Wild animal hospital. We worked with here on the Thursday to TB test cattle as well as pregnancy rectal examine the cows and check the semen quality of the bulls. It’s amazing how friendly the farmers are here. They let us students try a lot more than at home. Me and Ele took turns rectal examining the animals, so we got a lot of experience just in this one day. Erika was very helpful and would explain what she was doing and why, as well as answering all out questions. It really made me want to come back to practice in South Africa to learn more.

Friday didn’t start off as we thought it would. Me and Ele was told that we would be vaccinating buffalo that day, but when we got in the car with Marius he said that the plans had changed slightly. A wild male lion had escaped from a game reserve and they had been looking for it for 2 days and finally spotted it at a neighbouring farm. We drove to the game reserve where Marius went in the helicopter to go and look for the lion to dart it whilst me & Ele went on the back of a game rover with a huge wooden cage between us. It wasn’t the normal “tourist” routes we took, but steep, rocky roads climbing up the mountain sites with tree branches going into the road, so we had to duck and hold on as best as we could. After about 1 hour they managed to spot the lion and dart it. When it was sedated we could approach it and touch the massive animal. It had huge paws and the canines were as long as my finger. The satellite collar it had on was replaced before the lion was lifted into the cage. Then they drove it back to the game reserve where it was but in an enclosure for a few days to keep an eye on it to make sure it came out fine from the anaesthetics before being released into the reserve again. Going down the mountain again, it was a strange feeling having a lion so close to you, even though it was fast asleep. After this we drove to the farm with the buffalo and injected 5 calves.

Saturday me and Ele went to Forever resort in Warmbaths, Bela Bela. We had the intention of trying the cable water skiing there, but this turned out to be a lot harder than we thought. We both ski and snowboard but with the cable skis they pull you at the speed of the boat around on a cable and there is no ease into it so one is very reliant on triceps muscles to manage to stand. After quite a few face plants in the water and I even managed to leave my board at the platform a couple of times, we gave up and went on the water slides instead. We had a lot of fun with the speed slides and also managed to squeeze in half an hour Swedish back massage for our sore muscles =)

Sunday the guesthouse Heleen and Blackie took us to Zebula for Adventures with elephants. This is an organisation that takes problem elephants and train them to interact with humans. They educate people on the use and treatment of elephants in addition to using the elephants against poaching for rhino horns. I got to meet and interact with 6 beautiful elephants. I felt the sole of their feet, them flapping their ears and my favourite part was feeling their chest when they talked. The whole elephant was rumbling. We played games with them too learn how smart they where, one of them remembered by name out of 4 people and could also give me my shoe back from a pile of shoes. After the interaction we all went on a ride with them around the area. It was a really special feeling getting to get so close with these massive animals.


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