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! 

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