Posts Tagged ‘University of glasgow’

Hey guys sorry i haven’t been writing for a while. will try and post something in a bit.

I’m currently going to lectures, the gym and then library until midnight every day so have no life 😛

Running out of time to study for my last round of exams


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I finished my last day here in South Africa treating a rhino for an abscess on her hindquarters. She was darted from a helicopter, when running with 2 other grown rhinos and a calf about 8 months old. I was on the ground leading the “buckie” (truck) to where the helicopter instructed me to go when the animal was darted, and saw the rhinos running over the open grass field. I can’t explain the feeling of awe that went over me looking at these magnificent creatures. They got as close as just 20m away from me; full grown rhinos with horns! Unfortunately, it’s not often you see them with horns anymore. The reason for this is poaching.

Facts about rhinos killed in southern Africa is shocking. In 2009, 122 were killed; in 2010, 333 were killed; in 2011 448 were killed, including 19 critically endangered black rhinos. 200 were shot by pseudo hunters, 28 poached in Zimbabwe, 27 poached in Kenya and two poached in Swaziland reaching a shocking 705. In 2012, 281 had been killed by the end of July and it’s expected that this number will reach 595 by the end of this year. Numbers are increasing almost daily (facts from Getaway Sept 2012).

There has not been any medical proof found by traditional medicine that the popular myth that rhino horns (ground to powder) is an aphrodisiac is true. A politician in Vietnam ran a television campaign about how rhino horn cured his cancer, which caused an increase in demand. Other than that it’s believed that it reduced inflammation, fever and hangovers. In Yemen, the horns are used as a handle for daggers that men own. The fact that rhino horn is illegal and so rare causes the black market prices to rocket. A 2 kg rhino horn can go for 2 million South African rand. Seeing as minimum wage is so low in South Africa, poaching is therefore an alternative some choose to supplement their income. If successful they can earn a lot. A grown rhino can have horns up to 6 kg. Another problem is speculators who hedging against rhino extinction.

There are a lot of corrupt people in the anti rhino poaching industry as well. At the moment there is a trial going where a game farmer and two vets are charged with killing more than 39 rhinos and selling their horns on the black market. The cost of a rhino is a fraction of what you can get for its horn, so some game farmers might be tempted to hunt their own rhinos for their horns. I asked a farmer who said that the cost of a rhino could be around 240 000 R, whilst its horn several million. I find it horrible that vets, who are there to look out for the welfare of such animals, could be in on this. It doesn’t help the public’s trust in the vets that actually do good.

Poachers don’t always know how to properly kill the rhinos when they shoot them. They therefore often leave them hurt to the point that they die a slow death. The poachers won’t hesitate to start dehorning the animal whilst it’s still alive. I heard that poachers will shot the calf as well if there is one. The calves do not have horns, but because they often stay with their mums, the poachers are often afraid of them. Therefore rangers can end up finding both the female and calf rhino dead. I was told that the vet I worked with was called out once when the female rhino had been poached. The calf was found next to her alive, but soon after the calf got really sick. When the vet came, he found
that the calf had been shot too, but at a place that wasn’t very visible. The shot had penetrated the chest cavity right next to the right front shoulder, which penetrated the lung and diaphragm on the right side. This unfortunately caused the calf to die a few days later.

So I’ll try and write about some of the good the vets do to prevent poaching, from my experience the past weeks. Some farmers choose to dehorn their rhinos to prevent the animals being killed by poachers. If they don’t have any horns, there won’t be a reason for them to shoot the rhinos. The vet would dart the animal from a helicopter, then monitor its anesthetics safely, whilst using a chain saw to cut off the two horns. Care has to be taken not to cut too deeply, because this can cause blood loss. The process is documented with photos and a person from the government wildlife conservative has to be present. The vet also has to apply for a permit to do the procedure, which last
a month at the time. After the horn is cut, diesel is poured on the horns and they are burned to ash, which is documented again. A problem with the application to get a permit is that this process is very slow and by the time the vet gets his licensed for the needed rhino, it might have been poached in the meantime. Another problem with dehorning the rhino is that the female rhino uses its horn to defend her calf from the male rhinos, which can cause the calf to die if the mother can’t protect it.

Another approach is to microchip the horns. Another farmer we visited didn’t want his rhinos to live without their horns. They lose their pride and beauty if you take away their horn. So in this case the rhinos are darted. Then a small hole is drilled in each of the two horns and a micro chip is inserted into the horn. The drilled out bit is placed in jars, along with blood samples and some pieces of hair. This is all sent to a lab to be DNA profiled. If a rhino poacher is caught and some form of DNA is found with the poacher it can be traced back to that killed rhino and the person can be trialed. The problem with this again is that it won’t prevent the poacher from killing the rhinos in the first place. A person who has a permit to keep a rhino horn, will have to have a microchip in the horn, there are then people who come and check yearly that the person has not sold that horn on the black marked.

It is horrifying to think that these magnificent animals might become extinct in my lifetime!

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This year 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the Glasgow University School of veterinary Medicine was founded by James McCall in 1862.

The 5to 7th of October we had a “New Horizons Research Symposium” providing both history and current perspectives on veterinary research at Glasgow. It was amazing to see how big a contribution Glasgow vet school is making to the research in its field and made as all very proud to be a Glasgow vet student. The final James McCall Memorial lecture was delivered by out former dean Professor Stuart Reid, who is not the principal of the Royal Veterinary College in London.  All the student came for the Friday lectures. But all in all there were over 400 alumni that came from all over the world for the weekend events.

I also bought a book that has been published: The Glasgow veterinary school 1862-2012). If anyone else wants to buy it. I can be bough online www.universityofglasgowshops.com or at amazon.

James Herriot books has always been a great pride of the Glasgow vets. Alf Wight – pen name James Herriot graduated from Glasgow. For the 150year anniversary his son Jim Wight came and had a talk to all the student: very inspirational as a vet student.  His also given an interview you can watch here:

Jim Wight Interview

James McCall founded the Glasgow Veterinary College in 1862, one hundred years after the establishment of the first Veterinary School in Europe. The first class had 10 students enrolled and lectures lasted three hours a day. The fees at the time for the three year veterinary course were 16 pounds for the first year, 18 pounds for the second and 20 pounds for the third. The student numbers continued to increase and one hundred and forty-three student had enrolled by 1894.

Glasgow Vet 150 years

Today the university of Glasgow veterinary school is pre- eminent in teaching, research and clinical provision. They have researchers, clinicians and students from around the world providing an expert referral institution for Small animals at the Small Animal Hospital, Horses at the Weipers centre for Equine Welfar and Farm animals at the Scottish  centre for production animal health and welfare.  Glasgow also keeps getting awards for its research not only in Scotland but around the UK as well.  The school is also accredited with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The north American veterinary licensing education (NAVLE) pass rate is up to 87% for 2011. We also became associated with SCAVMA(Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association ) last year as the first UK vet school, in addition to our Accreditation with, RCVS (Royal collage of veterinary Surgons), BVA (British veterinary Association) and BSAVA (British Small animal Veterinary association) plus a few more =)

Glasgow school of veterinary medicine is located on 80 hectare on the northwest boundary of Glasgow city, about 30 minutes from the main university at Gilmorehill. The school has 190 hectars commercial farm and research centre at Cochno, 15 minutes from the Garscube campus. There is about 179 staff: academic, research and support with additional 65 postgraduate research students and 30 post graduate clinical scholars and 500 undergraduate students here.

The university of Glasgow is constantly pushing their students to the limit academically and clinically. They emphasise that being a student is not only in the classroom but in the veterinary community as a whole. Being a good veterinarian isn’t just about small animals or large animals, it’s about incorporating veterinary medicine into our lives and giving back to the community, wether that’s is here in Scotland, Africa, India, Scandinavia or America. They focus on producing well rounded veterinarians that have the ability to flourish once they graduate and enter the great big world.

Me and Professor Stuart Reid

Me and our old Anatomy Professor Jack Boyd

All in all I can say that I’m proud to be a 4th year vet student here at Glasgow. I’m lucky to have the chance to be a part of their family. Cos that’s that we are here at Glasgow- one big Family

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We started the Monday by going to a farm which had a very big herd of buffalo. Buffalo are one of the big 5 here in Africa and is though to be the most dangerous one of them. They are very destructive in their path, ruining trees and branches and can be quite aggressive if one come to close. Especially when they have calves. The buffalo bulls could weight over 1 ton. Marius went up in the helicopter and darted them from the air. Then once the animals were falling asleep the trucks came driving up closer to that one animal. Because they were so heavy we only did 1-2 at the time. Once the animal hit the ground we all ran up to the animal to make sure if was breathing ok, keep it head and body upright. The black workers had stretchers that they got under the animals. Then there wee 16-17 people lifting that one animal up onto the truck. The truck drove the animal to the enclosure where it was spending the next days and it was lifted off the truck again

We injected them with antibiotics for the dart wound and other vitamin, vaccines etc. The buffalo skin was measure and injected with avian (on left) and bovine (on right) TB to be tested for TB, by a new measurement in 3 days. Because their skin is so thick it can be hard to take blood form the cephalic vein and we therefore got to practice taking blood from the air vein. After we were done with this, which had taken most of the day because we could only take 2 at the time, the farmer said he had 30 wilderbeest he wanted moved as well. They were darted 4 at the time and transported to the camps they were moving to, then we gave then antibiotics etc and I got to give some of them a reversal to wake them up through the ear vein. The wilderbeest was moved by truck as well, but the workers didn’t really know how to handle the animals and unfortunately one of them died of asphyxiation because of a handler that carried the animal upside down to the truck.

Tuesday we went to Chad place at castle de wilt again. This time we darted 70 wilderbeest, both golden, blue and black to pregnancy check then in addition to the normal injections and blood sampling of the pregnant once. Because the animals were already stressed and heated from the chase to be darted, the pregnancy could be quite fragile. We therefore only felt the once that were very obvious. It was still a very strange experience to feel the head of a foetus wilderbeest.

Wednesday we were called out to a game reserve quite far away (about 2 hours drive there). A 4 month old Giraffe was not putting any weight on it s right front paw and the owner was concerned that it might be broken. A giraffe is very sensitive to anesthetics, it can easily die and its would therefore only be possible to put a cast on the giraffe if the foot was broken. Marius Louw darted the giraffe from a quad bike this time. The mother was not far away from its baby the whole time we treated it. When the giraffe went down, me and Ele had to sit on its neck to keep it down whilst Marius injected it with a antidote right away to wake it, so that it didn’t die. Ele tried sitting on its neck alone at first, but when the giraffe woke up slightly it had no problem standing up with Ele on its neck. Marius had to practically rugby tackle the little thing to the ground and with me and Ele on its neck it still tried to get up a couple of times. It turned out that the little thing had a gotten a thorn in between its hoof. The torn was taken out and it was given antibiotics. The prognosis was very good. The problem with the farm was that it was very little for and too many animals in the area, so Marius was going to talk to the owner about clearing vegetation to make the farm better for the animals there, the concern at the moment was that the animals there now wasn’t in too good a shape and looked rather scruffy.

On the way home  a farmer called about a sable. It had broken its right metatarsal bone (hindlimb). The sable was given painkillers and taken away from its herd. It was quite young and if a sable is taken out of its herd, there is a very large risk of it being killed when put back in again (by the other sables). Therefore this was removed completely from its herd to be sold of later or put on its own after it had healed in an enclosure. The foot was cast with fiber glass cast and given the necessary antibiotic and painkiller injections.

Thursday we were called out to castle de wilt for a lame black Impala, a lame sable and a golden wilderbeest that didn’t look to good. The sable turned out it had a thorn in its foot as well. It was a beautiful animal with huge anthers it being a male. The wilderbeest had had diarrhea the day before, and it was therefore thought it  could have coccidiosis. This is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. When the wilderbeest was darted a faecal sample was taken, but there was no diarrhea anymore. The animal was treated with antibiotics and treated for coccidiosis, plus other parasites and ticks to prevent it being darted again. The condition was poorly and it looked shaggy, so time will tell if it makes it.

Because it was 3 days ago since the buffalo had been injected with avian and bovine TB we went back to that game farm to re-measure the skin. The only problem was that 7 buffalo had escaped from the enclosure they were held at, so they would need to be darted and brought in again. The animal in the enclose was very easy to get to, they were darted from the side and when it was safe to enter, we ran in to measure their neck, take out the dart, spray the dart wound and woke them up again. It was a simple and quick thing to do. Now getting the once that escaped was worse. After trying to drive up to them with the truck, Marius decided that they needed the helicopter again. The only problem was that the wind was very strong and the weather was treating for rain. The first pilot they called didn’t dare to come because of the wind, so in the end Lambert came. You could see that the helicopter was struggling, suddenly turning the opposite direction to what it was meant to etc. it started raining, so me & Ele who were standing on the back of the bucky both to pick up the buffalo and riding with one each on the way back to monitor the anaesthesia (breathing), were soaked wet. At one point I was sitting on a calf buffalo who was about the size of a st bernards dog to keep it down before it was lifted up on the truck, and the little thing almost stood up with me on it, whilst being drugged. They are strung even at that age.  We managed to dart and transport all the missing 7, but when transporting the last two it started hailing. Not small hail like at home, but 3-4 cm large hail. Never seen anything like it. After the job was done we stopped and got hot chocolate on the way home and changed tops. All 3:  Ele, Marius and me were soaked to the skin. Driving back it started thundering and lightning was shooting across the sky around us. The lightning lit up the sky with multiple colours. I swear the lightning stays longer on the sky here and is more powerful than at home. I wish I could have photographed it to show it, it was a sight I won’t forget. The rain continued through the night. The first rain in 6 months, so it was needed. The past weeks it had been a lot of bush fires around the area.

We were meant to dehorn some rhinos on Friday, but because the roads were in poor condition because of the rain, this job was cancelled. Me and Ele decided to go into the clinic to see if anything interesting was going on there. When we got there Erika was finishing a cesarean section on a jack russell terrier. The owner had waited 24 hours before bringing here in, but luckily they managed to save all 5 puppies which were jack russell dachshund crosses. The owner didn’t want the puppies so they were given away at 1 day old. This is normally not the time you can give them away, because they need their mother for colostrums milk etc. the new owner would have to feed them every hour for the first few days. Fingers crossed they make it.  After this we assisted Marius with a bladder stone surgery. The stones retrieved was massive 5-6 cm. Saturday we all went out for a breakfast/ lunch at Spurr to say bye to Ele, which was leaving for Cape town that evening. Going to miss here!

Sunday Blackie took me to Zebula game reserve.  This seemed like a family resort for wealthy people, but you could go there to meet the animals. I saw some baby Tigers & meerkats. I got to pet a lynx which was walked around on a lead and go into the cage to five 2 month old lion cubs. One of the lion cubs started playing with my camera strap, so I got to pet him whilst he was gnawing on it. I almost didn’t get my camera back when I was leaving. After this I went and had a private interaction with two grown cheetah. Jane and Tarzan was their names and they had been pets for a women in Pretoria until they got to large. They were very same, and when I started scratching Tarzan’s ear, he was purring like a cat. We sat on the grass side and I got to rub their bellies and cuddle them whilst they licked each other, me and played. It was an amazing experience to get that close to animals that are normally considered very dangerous. But these seemed like large cats, just wanting some cuddles.


Coming home we all had a braai by the pool. Ciska (Heleens daughter) and husband Louis came with their two kids and we swam in the pool, had wine and enjoyed the rest of the Sunday sunshine. Ending in a small party in the guesthouse bar. All in all a great ending to week number two.



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February is a very social month at Glasgow. The third years have their half way dinner, which celebrates the third years being halfway through vet school. I can’t wait until next year when I get to celebrate being half way done. Thursday night was Mr. Vet School, the competition where the guys of the vet school go through rounds where they compete for the title to become Mr. Vet School. This years acts wasn’t as good as last year though, but I think it’s very brave to get up in female lingerie in front of the entire school. They also played twister bathed in baby oil, drank laxative, waxed eyebrows and chests. The nasty eating round this year was completed by all the guys, so I don’t understand why then some of them didn’t continue, I think there were some problems with the QMU union during the show!

Ivan came Wednesday from Africa and got to come both for Mr. Vet School and the Vet Ball. Ryan who is Brianna’s boyfriend had come from the USA for the event as well. I don’t think the guys liked Mr. Vet School much, but seeing there were mostly girls there, Ivan actually got grabbed by someone at the bar, hehe.

Saturday Night was the Annual Vet Ball. It was held at the Hilton Hotel Glasgow again like last year.  Me and Ivan sat on a table with Brianna & Ryan, Laura & Kegan, Amy & Matt, Christina & Alix, so there were at least other guys for the guys to talk with. They had spelled Ivans name wrong, despite Christina emailed them with the right spelling, so his new nick name is now Sjoberry instead of Sjøberg, hehe! We had a table in the middle on the right side so we could see the stage pretty well. There was a fish appetizer, the main course was chicken breast filled with mushroom mousseline covered in pastry lattice, whilst for dessert they served champagne jelly, clotted cream ice cream & raspberry compote.

After the dinner the dancing started. They started by playing swing music. Me and Ivan decided that we should take a swing course seeing none of us really got it 😛 It could also be that we have never danced together before. Then it was on to Ceilidh dancing (the Scottish folk dance). The dance floor was packed so it was a bit hard to move but I must say that me & Ivan did a lot better at this than the swing, well we think we did, hehe. At the end they switched to a DJ with normal club dancing and old classics like mc hammer 😛 I can at least say the feet where soar when we left after 8 hours at 2am. All in all a really good night!

Everyone looked so good in their dressed and all the guys dressed up in their kilt. Ivan wore his Military Ball uniform so he kind of stood out. I even overheard some girls in the bathroom talking about that they wondered what he did, and all the Americans came to shake his hand to thank him for his service. It is a completely different culture with the Americans and the Army.  Today I drove Ivan to the airport and just slept to recover for another full week of lectures. I need to catch up on some reading after all these festivities. My mum is coming to visit for a week on Wednesday so looking forward to that.

Write more soon=)


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The past month has been so hectic. The second year is MUCH more work than first year that’s for sure! I unfortunately had a computer virus and had so reinstall my computer 2 weeks ago and fell a bit behind on my work because of that. This term they are packing 3 major systems into for term- Respiration, Cardio and Digestion for both Physiology and Anatomy- It’s a lot of information, so by the time I get home from University my brain is on overload. Biomolec and husbandry is quite boring, and we don’t have that many lectures in them because of the amount from the other two subjects. Biomolec has started a new learning program this year called Aropa. This is an anonymous program where the professors give us a question to answer, we then have a certain time to write the answer for the question and upload it onto Aropa website. Once you get to the deadline, the program anonymously sends each student 3 other students’ answers. Then you mark the 3 student answers in a specific time frame and you get feedback from 3 other students and see their comments on your answer. Peerwise is another program that is benefitting the whole class. This isn’t marked, but meant to help for revising. The class write multiple choice questions and post them with the answer onto the website. Then the entire class can go and do you multiple choice question and see if they get it right. If the class posts enough questions, some of the questions we have made will be on our exams, so it’s for our own benefit.

I got my first ever Littmann stethoscope. It is Caribbean blue and has my name engraved on the back of it “Annette Vindenes”.


This was my first patient I was one of the last people of the day to listen to him, so he was getting very bored. I started listening to the heart beat when I suddenly heard a howling I looked up to discovered that the dog had enough, so he had started howling. He got to go for a walk after me=)


The 3rd year class representative had a class party where the whole vet school dressed up as cops & Robbers. It was a lot of fun traveling the underground around Glasgow city center with everyone dressed up as cops or robbers, we got a lot of weird looks. Me myself was dressed up as a FBI agent, in high heals so I don’t think I could have caught a robber if I tried to, hehe.

There has been some really nice events with the Vet Women Football team this year. I think we have an amazing team this year, everyone is so motivated to beat the Edinburgh vets on the 17. November. We have been putting in extra fitness training on monday’s, in addition to our normal training on Wednesday’s. I have also been practicing with the main uni football team and had keeper practice with the defenders on saturday mornings. So hopefully I wont let any goals in on “Dick day”- yes it’s called this because the Edinburgh vets are called Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies. We had a fancy event in Arta night club:



We also had an American Pep Ralley in the Hut of the vet school. All the sport that are playing on dick day were there cheering on their sports:

Me and our captain Colleen

Me and my Norwegian friend Christin decided to go to a concert to see the Swedish artist Robyn when she came to Glasgow.
It was a really good concert and I swear the whole Scandinavian society of Edinburgh and Glasgow was there, because everyone around me was talking Norwegian or Swedish. Robyn had a an amazing concert and she also had two swedish female DJ’s warming up (Rebecca & Fiona). They were really good and set the mood for the rest of the night . Amazing concert!
Halloween is a big event in the UK. The vet school had their own party as normal. This year they rented Highligh- which is a comedy club in Glasgow city centre.
I Think we were about 300 vets celebrating Halloween and I’m amazed every year how creative people of our school can be with their costumes. I was dressed as a Possessed Cheerleader. I had contact lenses that made my blue eyes black. I had never worn contacts before and I used an hour and 20 minutes to get them in, but it was wort it cos it really made me a lot scarier.  I now have a new respect for people wearing contacts every day=) I’ve Included some pictures, hope your well. Miss you




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