January 25, 2012

Working Outside of the Box

Small Animal Nursing and Nutrition
For our SANN class today, we got to work with three cats this week that seem to have some sort of neurological issue going on with them.  We reviewed several "neurological exams," simple tests to help determine if the issue is something with the brain, or another system.

One thing we do is called conscious proprioception.  You basically flip a paw upside down, and a normal animal should automatically flip the paw back.  An animal with a neurological problem may not flip the paw back over.

We ran several other simple tests like this including pupillary light reflexes.

We then went back to the classroom and discussed wound care, and practiced applying a bandage and a splint to a stuffed animal :)  Here's a picture of mine!

After class, I got to help Dr. Morrow do further testing on the neuro cats.  I helped restrain for three blood draws, and then took the blood back to the lab to run a complete blood count (on a machine), a chemistry panel (on a machine), made blood smears, stained them, and examined it under the microscope.  Below are the machines that we use.  The first machine counts the blood cells and the second machine. tests different chemistries.

Vetscan HM5 (CBC)

Vetscan VS2 (Chem Panel)

We looked at the cell morphology and did what's called a differential white blood cell count where you count 100 WBC's and note how many of each of the types of WBC's there were.  Here's an example of a counter we use.  I call them dingers because they ding when they're done ;)

It was really cool to be able to work on these things again, since in the normal curriculum you stop doing them for a few months after you finish a class.  I got to perfect my blood smearing technique (no easy task!), and today was also the first time that I ran the blood machines on my own.  It was a lot of fun working in the lab without 8 other students in there too! 

Two exams tomorrow, and then it's my weekend!  Will write again soon! 

January 24, 2012

Quarter 5, Week 4

Yesterday, I had class and we worked on some things in the lab including administering ear and eye drops, cleaning ears, and my partner and I even gave our dog a bath! :)

After class, I helped Dr. Morrow with intake exams.  I basically bring the animals in, restrain for the exam, bring them back, sanitize the exam tables, and bring in the next patient.  It is an awesome out of class learning experience because I get to learn about things that may not always be brought up in class.  For example, I watched further testing for hearing and eye sight on a cat that had its extended third eyelid such as the one below.

Helping out with the physical exams has also helped me learn more about each of the animals that come in each week, and greatly increases my experience with handling, restraining and more.

Today, I had our Lab Animal class (LAEPP), and we did mostly lecture.  During the lecture, we were talking about rats and mice, and they are prone to a condition called "chromodacryorrhea."  Our instructor asked if anyone knew what that meant and I did a quick medical terminology breakdown:

Chromo = Color
Dacryo = tears
rrhea = discharge

I had heard of a condition before where rats excrete red tears and I announce "Red Tears?"  I was right!  I was told "good job!" and I also announced, "Medical Terminology for the win!"  It was extremely cool to use information that I learned A YEAR AGO and still apply it today.  Many people end up forgetting, but Medical Terminology is one of those things you need to keep using.  It was awesome!


In Advanced Clinical Skills, we went over some lecture and did some basic cytologies.

Physical Exams
For our Small Animal Nursing and Nutrition Class (SANN), we have to perform a physical exam on a selected animal once a week.  We have to do a full once - over, Temp, Respirations, and Pulse (TPR), palpate (feel) different structures such as kidneys, bladder, and lymph nodes, and write up a physical exam form and SOAP.  A SOAP is a form of recording medical information:

S = Subjective (things such as 5 yr old female intact black lab, gentle, etc)
O = Objective (TPR, things found on your physical exam such as lacerations, dandruff, broken teeth, etc)
A = Assessment (Assess your findings)
P = Plan (What do we do next?  Prescriptions, vaccinations, toe nail trims, etc).

It is pretty intense, but it's something we get to work on and it's awesome knowing we will be doing this for the rest of our careers!

That's all for now.  I will try to write again this week.

Have a good one! :)

January 18, 2012

First Post of My 5th Quarter

WOW!  I just typed "5th Quarter."  In less than 11 months, I will be graduating!  Woop Woop :)

I've been super busy with classes this quarter.  I am taking three, but they are sure full of homework.  Alex even mentioned how much more homework I have this quarter than any other.  I have Small Animal Nursing and Nutrition, where we learn about all the basics of nursing including everything from physical exams to nutrition to nursing procedures like putting in IV catheters!  It is a whirlwind of information and there are LOTS of workbook assignments... and thinking!

In Advanced Clinical Skills we are learning the laboratory side of things such as taking skin, fecal, urine, and blood samples and running tests on them, looking at them under the microscope, etc.  These tests are used for diagnosing tons of things like parasites, urinary problems, dietary issues, determining whether or not a wound is infected, etc.

In Lab Animals, Exotics, and Pocket Pets we are learning all about non-traditional pets like mice, rabbits, gerbils, rats, reptiles, etc.  We'll be doing blood draws, injections, radiographs, etc.  We'll be taking a field trip to the Menomonie High School to play hands on with a bunch of these creatures in a few weeks.  It shall be fun!  We're also discussing going to a pet store to check out some of their pets too.

I'm taking on more tasks at school too.  My instructors want me to help lead the Vet Tech Club.  I'm nervous and sort of excited to be taking on a role as such, since the VT club isn't exactly up and running.  I am also tutoring a fellow student in VT Math.  That's really fun and nice because I get to help someone out and get my math homework done too :)

Today in SANN, we did several advanced physical exam techniques including what's called a Schirmer Tear Test, where you basically place a strip into the eye and it measures the dryness of the eye.  The picture below depitcs it.  You leave the strip for a minute and read the strip.  Anything out of a certain value indicates dry eye.

We also did what is called a Fluorescein stain on they eye.  This is basically a highlighting agent that will detect corneal ulcers (a scratch on the eye). You look at the stain with a black-light type device.

This depicts putting the stain into the eye.

 This would be a positive result indicating a corneal ulcer.  The ulcer is the big green spot on the eye.
A negative result would only show the green ring where the stain pools in the corners of the eye.

We learned to us a tonometer and an opthalmoscope today too.  I got to look through the eye and see the retina and the optic disk where all the nerves and blood vessels gather and go to the brain!  It was pretty sweet.  We also looked through an otoscope into the ear and seen the ear drum.

For the tonometer, you use a device that you press against the eye several times to get a reading of the pressure inside the eye.  An increased pressure indicates Glaucoma.  Below is a picture.

That's all for now.  I will try to update some more between all my homework, work, classes, tutoring, and sleep :P

January 6, 2012

The Year 2011

I thought I'd give you a quick recap of all of the things that I learned how to do in school this past year.  The following are mainly on dogs and cats, unless otherwise noted :)

- Restrain cats and dogs for various procedures
- Properly apply dog and cat muzzles, including making a muzzle from a piece of gauze
- Properly us restraint devices including a cat bag, rabies pole, and towels
- Trim nails
- Express anal glands (fun, fun!)
- Clean and medicate ears
- Obtain temperature, pulse, and respirations
- Maintain lab equipment including Complete Blood Count Machine, Chemistry Machine, centrifuges and incubators
- Apply an e-collar
- Collecting urine and fecal samples
- Perform various lab tests including packed cell volume, total protein, specific gravity, urinalysis and bacteria cultures
- Make proper diagnostic blood smears
- Collect and evaluate ear cytology
- Witnessed a necropsy
- Properly label medications
- Fill medication orders including liquids
- Reconstitute a dry medication/vaccine
- Dispense medicine to the client, including explaining how to give it, possible side effects, etc
- Administer subcutaneous injection
- Hand pilling both dogs and cats
- Administering liquid medications
- Setting up and maintaining an x-ray machine and developing room
- Set up for, take, develop, and read several different radiographs including thoracic, abdominal, extremities, skulls, etc.
- Perform a GI contrast study on a cat
- Radiographed a chicken, rat and horse
- Develop and use a radiographic technique chart
- Use both a stationary and portable x-ray machine
- Label, file and store film
- Cleaning intensifying screens
- Perform cephalic, jugular, and saphenous venipuncture (blood draws)
- Perform various blood tests including manual white blood cell counts and estimates, Snap tests, platelet estimates and white blood cell differentials
- Perform diagnostic procedures for Heartworm
- Collect and perform various lab tests on fecal samples to look for parasites
- Collect and examine skin scrapings

In twelve short months, I will have learned much more including dealing with pocket pets, exotics, equine and production animals, anesthesia, performing a full physical exam, implanting microchips, inserting IV catheters, and much, much more...and I'm still as excited as I was a year ago!!