May 26, 2011

Bacteria and Gram Stains :)

Monday in VCS we got to help with intakes again.  There was a pretty wild dog and a very viscious cat that were on the intake list.  In both cases, our teacher,  a veterinarian, and John, a CVT, took over and did their TPR, physical exam, etc on them.  It was really neat to see the professionals at work, how they did not let their fear get in the way of the crazy animals, and how they just got it done, no complaining.  It was actually really inspiring to see :)

On Monday, we also went around the school and swabbed several different surfaces to see if we could grow any bacteria from them.  We placed them in a petri dish and let them incubate until Wednesday.  I did the inside and outside of my cell phone, the button to push for sanitizer, and the door handle exiting the girls bathroom.

After some lecture, we got to look at our bacteria samples.  We took individual samples and put them into another petri dish to further explore that specific bacteria next week.  We also took a different sample and put it on a slide to look at under a microscope.  The sample I looked at under the microscope was the one from the inside of my phone.  It had some bacteria, but nothing really outside of the norm.

Friday we get to go to Bob's House, which is a rescue shelter for dogs.  I'm pretty excited :)  And Monday we have no school for Memorial Day, so I probably won't write until next Wednesday or later.

Chow Chow ;)

May 23, 2011

More Bloodwork!

Last Wednesday we did more bloodwork in my clinical skills class.  We re-practiced the packed cell volume and total proteins that we did last Monday.  We also practiced a second way of doing them.

We also did blood smears, which are easier said than done.  I went through 15 slides trying to make my slide look alright!  Practice makes perfect, I guess.  No one can get everything perfect on the first try, right?

The final produce should look something like this:

We also got to practice running a blood sample through our VetScan HM5, which collects tons of data on the blood, including counts of cells and things like that.

Let me know if you like the added use of pictures or not, and if there's anything I can do to help you understand more what I'm doing in class :)

Will write more later this week!

May 16, 2011


Today in class, we got to work a little bit with blood.  We took samples that had already been drawn and ran two tests on them.  The first test is called a Packed Cell Volume.  We put the blood into what's called a microhematocrit tube.  We spun it down in a centrifuge to separate the cells from the plasma, and then measured the amount of blood cells in the sample using a tube reader card (see picture).

If the PCV is too low, it can indicate Anemia.  If it is too high, it can indicate dehydration.

Next, we broke the tubes and placed some of the plasma (the clear fluid on top) on a refractomer to check protein levels (see below).

Too high of a protein level can indicate dehydration or cancer of the blood or bone marrow.  Too low of a level can indicate malnutrition, kidney or liver disease, bleeding, burns, or poor digestion.

Wednesday we will learn about blood smears and will hopefully be able to do some!

See you then!

May 11, 2011

My First Injection!

Today in Veterinary Clinical Skills (VCS), we took our third exam and I think I did really good.

We also had a lab practical, which is basically an Exam where you do something physically, as opposed to answering questions on a test.  Our lab practical was on Ear Cytology, which means taking an ear swab and looking at it under a microscope for things like bacteria, yeast, or parasites.  This is one of our Essential Skills that we have to learn, and I passed it on the first try! :)

While we were in working with the dogs, our instructor wanted us to also practice the various restraints we'll have to be tested on (the same restraints I aced on the first try last quarter!).  As we were practicing them, I turned around and our instructor was holding a syringe filled with "Physiological Saline," aka, saline that is used for students learning to do injections (shots).  She asked "Who would like to try an injection?" and I jumped at the chance!  I was the first person in our class to do an injection on a real, live animal!  Steven held this young dog for me and I got to do a Sub Q injection!  A  Sub Q injection is a shot that is injected under the skin.

Anyways, I thought it was REALLY cool to do it, especially since I was the first person to do it!  There were a few people who didn't do it, because it wasn't planned.  I am SO glad that I did :) :)

I spent my break out and about in the beautiful weather!  Then, we took an Animal Physiology Exam.  I'm not terribly confident in it, so I've made a plan to start studying for this class.  It seems like most things come pretty easy to me and that's because they are shown to me (i.e. restraints, injections, TPR's, exams, etc).  But, if I'm only learning by lecture (i.e. Physiology, Biology, etc), I have a pretty hard time understanding it.  Since I love school so much, and I want to do very well, I guess I'll have to start studying.  My plan is to make and use flashcards for every unit.  It may take some discipline, but I can do it :)

I'll update you later this week on how my Exams went.
By the way, I got full points on my VCS presentation last week :)

Tomorrow, I have the full day off from work and school.  I will write soon! 

May 9, 2011

Intakes :)

Today I did a presentation on Toxoplasmosis for the class.  I don't know my score yet, but I think it went well.

Mondays we get all of the new animals from the Humane Society at school.  They have to check everyone out and do a physical exam as well as TPR's (temp, pulse, resp).  Today, our class got to help out :)

We worked in two groups to check them all in.  We did restraints and TPR, as well as checked for microchips, used a Wood's Light to look for skin conditions, and used a flea comb to check for fleas.  We recorded all of this on their charts, and then also wrote down what the Dr. found in their physical exams.  Our group did 2 dogs and 3 cats.  We rotated duties:  I restrained twice, did TPR on both a dog and a cat, and charted once.

It was really fun to work side-by-side with my classmates and the Veterinarians!  The coolest part was when I got home our Instructor/Veterinarian had sent us the following E-Mail:


I just wanted to say how impressed I was today with ALL of you. You all did a great job on your reports and presentation - and then showed great teamwork, and professionalism while performing physical exams on the animals. GREAT WORK!

Great day at school!  I also got pre-registered for classes next quarter :)

Wednesday I have two exams AND a lab practical! Whew.  Midquarter, can you tell?  I'll fill you in later this week! :)

May 2, 2011

Math Comp One

So, in my program we have several things that we have to accomplish before we can graduate.  One of them is called Math Comps.  Basically, they are math tests for things you'll have to know in the field, like calculating an animal's medication based on its weight.

We have three tries at passing them 100% (sort of like the essential skills), or we don't pass the class.  And these comps are all or nothing.  If you even get one question wrong, it will count as a failed attempt.

Anyways, we had our first one today and I passed it on the first try :)  There were eleven problems and I was one of the two or three people that passed it on the first try :)

Later in class, we got to take ear swabs from cats and looked at them under the microscope!  This is the way ear we diagnose parasites and infections.

Finally, we got to stick a needle into a fatty tumor (kept in formaldehyde) to practice taking a sample from a tumor and then observing it under the microscope!  It was really fun to get back into doing things we'll be doing in the field!

Wednesday we have an Exam.  We'll see how it goes!