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Posts Tagged ‘vet student’

Cyprus cat protection and animal welfare in paphiakos was founded in 1982. It provides shelter for stray cats and dogs and has grown in existence since then. It now provides many services including information, veterinary clinic to the public, free rescue and 24 hours emergency service, shelter, boarding, re homing, pet travel, education programs for school and the general public, a coffee shop and four charity shops. Phaphiakos also provide shelter for old/ injured donkeys. Paphiakos has  many local fundraisers to raise money for the charity and the neutering program. It really is a great organisation

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3 Glasgow students: Heather, Victoria and me went to Cyprus and worked for the spay and neuter program at Phaphiakos.  We were welcomed by their vet team: Dr George Sergio, Dr Nefelli , Dr Filipos, Dr George Shikkis.
Generally we did medications for in patients in the morning followed by surgery the rest of the day. We were supervised by the vets and nurses at phaphiakos, but given the responsibility to spay and neuter cats as well as some spays and castrations of stray dogs with the vets scrubbed in. This really was a great placement. I went for 2,5 weeks in may, and I would really recommend other 4th/final year looking for spay practice to take the trip.

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You also get days off to explore Cyprus. We joined a gym about 15 min walk from paphiakos and got to borrow their pool. Accommodation is free at Paphiakos.

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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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Glasgow University has changed the structure of final year to now be a 52 week year- so that everyone has the most practical experience they can, before graduating as veterinarians.

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I started my final year on Small animal core rotation, starting with the Dogs trust in Glasgow. This is a surgery rotation meant to let us spay/ castrate dogs. Because I got so much experience In Cyprus when I went do see EMS there, I was pretty confident. Each rotation we have to pass something called a DOPS, which is based of “day one competent” tasks we are meant to be able to do. I was DOPSed on a bitch spay the first day and passed  =). 

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The next week I was on Dermatology, ophthalmology and rabbits. The week started with ophthalmology at the Glasgow small animal hospital with George Peplinski. We spent the day sitting in on all his consultations- getting to assess the animals that came in. I was a bit sad that we only had one day on ophthalmology because I enjoyed it so much at Willows referral hospital, aspecially that we didn’t get to see any surgeries. Tuesday and Thursday we were on Dermatology on a practice outside of Glasgow in Paisley, working with Pete Forsynthe in Derm referrals. He was a great teacher and made sure we knew how to do dermatological clinical exam on the patients that came in, along with dermatological sampling, cytology and allergy testing. I had a DOPS on dermatological exam of a hyper springer spaniel, but passed this one as well. Wednesday we were doing rabbit spay/castrations with miss Livia Benato. We weren’t that lucky with the rabbit spays for this day. Two rabbit were schedules for a spay, but one had complications during induction which lead to the surgery being pushed on week, and the next rabbit had a scar on its linea albae. When we opened up, it was discovered that the rabbit was already spayed previously. Therefore most of the day went to rabbit husbandry and handling instead. 

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In the weekend I was asked to Guide the buss for the International society of Glasgow to Alnwick castle, which is also known as Hogwarts, where a lot of the harry potter films were filmed. It was a beautiful castle and a really fun day out with Broomstick flying & Medieval fancy dress. Too bad the weather wasn’t too great down in England. The weather in Glasgow had really been amazing the past weeks with temperatures up to 30’c. 

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This past week I was consulting for the PDSA aid hospital in Glasgow. I got to consult some of the clients that came in, then the vet had a look and I had to tell him what was wrong, formulate a plan and then talk to the owner and do what was needed. I really enjoyed this form of teaching. It made me feel like a vet, as well as I had the backup from the vet to be sure I wasn’t diagnosing the animal wrong. We had everything from dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, budgies, rabbits etc. It was a lively clinic with a variety of different clinical presentations. PDSA is a veterinary practice for people on housing benefits who can afford the ordinary vets. I really like that there is a place, so that these animals are seen to, even when their owners can’t afford the vet. Although most of what we did was free to the clients, there were a few health/ welfare issues where the owners had left things too long before bringing the animals in. we didn’t have to put any animals down, but severe/ long term treatment was needed on some of the cases. 

ImageNext week i’m in the PDSA as well, but this time on the surgery rotation, so I’m looking forward to that =) 

ImageAlso I’d like you all too meet a new individual in my life. Below picture is my new dog Tasha. She’s an 11 week old labradoodle girl. I got here yesterday and she’s very well so far. 

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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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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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