Well, one block down, 16 to go. I completed my lab services/necropsy block two fridays ago, and have spent this past week doing an externship at a hospital in Maryland. As the title of this post points out, this is my first block working with live animals, and it is much more refreshing (in regards to both enjoyment and smell). The hospital that I'm working for is absolutely astonishing. Every other one I've either visited or worked at had a number of personnel that were absolutely miserable, whether they be receptionists, technicians, or even the vets. While I haven't met all of the employees of this establishment yet, every single person I have met has a great time and has a wonderful outlook on their job. You won't find many places where every single employee is actually having fun. In addition, all of the doctors and technicians are understanding of how this is only my second block and the fact that I have minimal clinical experience prior to entering vet school. All of them are superbly patient with me and love mentoring me.
In just one week, I have learned a plethora of new information that it's fruitless for vet schools to attempt to teach. The bonus in this case is how this clinic sees alot of exotic animals, which I have gained an interest in during the course of school. Thus far this week, I have seen and worked with an iguana, a burmese python, a bearded dragon, a cockatiel, 4 guinea pigs, 2 ferrets, a hamster and a rabbit. There are so many little things about each species that can really only be taught through a mentor, such as handling techniques, how to perform physicals, etc. Thankfully, I purchased a PDA during my last block so I've been taking down as many bits of wisdom that I can. Here are some examples:
-When force-feeding reptiles, make sure you look into their mouth to ensure that they don't aspirate any food into their lungs since reptiles don't have a cough reflex. If they do aspirate, they'll simply just die in a day.
-When handling a rabbit, always support their rear end, otherwise they will flail their hind limbs and can potentially break their back in the process. That I actually knew, but I didn't know that you should always put them back into their carrier backwards for the same reason. If you put them in facing the inside of the carrier, they'll push too hard trying to get inside.
-I knew that ferrets are more prone than other species to get severe reactions to vaccines, so never ever give them more than vaccine at once.
-If a female guinea pig presents with hair loss without being itchy, it is most likely due to an ovarian cyst.
-If a dog/cat has had immune-mediated hemolytic anemia/thrombocytopenia (where your own immune system starts to destroy your own blood cells or platelets) in the past but recovered, you shouldn't vaccinate them anymore for fear of re-stimulating the immune system to go nuts again. This will require writing a letter to the "man" saying this animal can't be rabies vaccinated.
-"Red-eye" is a common initial sign for glaucoma
There were plenty of other things for me to experience and observe. I watched a dog undergo exploratory surgery and have its stomach opened because it raided the owner's trash can and ate an entire corn cob. Later in the week, I watched an orthopedic procedure to fix a dog's knee (to be specific, the dog had patellar luxation). Above all, I'm really enjoying enhancing my technique with taking and interpreting radiographs (aka X-rays). While we are taught radiology very well in lecture, the best way to learn how to read a radiograph is through practice. So all in all, this hospital is giving me more practice and knowledge than I would've ever imagined, and in just one week. I hope to post more stuff as I see it, so long as there is time to post :).