Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 8- I Survived Week 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     Survival is the key to being successful this year! After being the underdog all week I have had to accept that I may never be leading the pack in this rotation and have forced myself to be happy with survival. But, survival isn't so bad! I have learned so much already that I have to believe that survival is what I need to strive for, and if I struggle like I have this past week than so be it, and if I manage to be the best in my rotation than great but if I am not, I am still learning and still becoming a vet, and that is what it is all about folks!
    Some sad news....yesterday we lost a foal. He had been running a fever that was getting progressively worse every afternoon and finally peaked at 108 yesterday causing him to have a seizure and we ended up having to put him down. After his necropsy exam we learned he had a lung infection that caused an abscess to form in his lungs.
    Some happy news...last Wed. we did an embryo flush on a draft mare and got 3 embryos! This is an exceptional flush for horses who rarely give more than 1 or 2 embryos. Then we put the 3 microscopic babies into 3 adopted mustangs. Today we ultra sounded the mustangs and all three we pregnant! This is super successful and rarely happens, so that was an awesome surprise this morning!
    I really wanted to thank everyone who leaves comments..especially my Nana. It has been hard this week to remember to write something on here even when I am super tired, but when I get comments, especially from my grandmother who has never ending support for me in this endeavor, the excitement and motivation of the comments gives me the energy to write something even when I am exhausted!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 6- Bitter Sweet

     For once in my life I can honeslty say that the rumors were right! Everyone said that my forth year of vet school would be the best and worst year of my life, it turns out they were on the money! Week one has been extremely bitter sweet! With lack of sleep and feet that are throbbing by noon I can honestly say I can't remeber the last time I was this exhausted. One the other hand the learning curve is unbelievable! I give so many shots a day and get so much hands on experience with not only handling the horses and cows but also using the different drugs. I am allready feeling comfortable with syncronizing the mares for artificial insemination and it has only been six days since I started this endeavor. This last week has felt like a month!
     Today we finished treatments by 11am and made a skeleton crew for the day so I got the afternoon off for a much needed nap. Tonight (1am) I have to go bottle feed our little filly that can't have her mom's colostrum (first milk). But the good news is after testing the mares milk today at noon her colostrum level was very low so after tonight's 1am feeding she can go back in with mom so she can begin to learn to nurse. She is not only a high risk baby due to the fact that she couldn't have her mom's colostrum (which contains all the antibodies she needs to fight off infections she will encounter when leaving the foaling barn), but after examination of the placenta we found several suspicious areas that may have been a fungal or bacteria infection that could have been passed onto the foal. So this little girl has alot going against her, and it is our job to monitor her very closely and make sure we catch anything that might come up very early!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week One Down- Not so Much

      It is almost 8pm here at the barn and I have been here since 6am, after being here until 11pm last night...ahhh the life of a vet student! I am past the point of exhaustion and can barely walk, but I was expecting this so I can't complain too much. No one ever said this would be easy, and everyone has said it will be the hardest year of my life and I am proving them right this week.
     Just like most working horse farms, weekends don't exist here. I will most likely be here until 10pm tonight, and I am due back in the morning at 6:30am. My mare from last night was induced this afternoon and had a beautiful chestnut foal. However, she is a very special case in which her foal cannot drink any of her colostrum (mom's first milk that contains antibodies). The mom has built up antibodies to the foals blood type, it is a very similar situation to people where the mom is a neg blood type and the child is positive! In fact I myself was born this way and had complications because Mom and I are different blood types! Anyways, so the foal needs to be checked and fed every couple hours to make sure she doesn't drink any colostrum, (she is separated from mom by a panel so they can see each other and still bond but she can't drink.) I also artificially inseminated my first mare today! Hopefully she will take and I will have a baby this time next year!
     Other than that it was just a work "horse" kinda day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 4- Risky Business

     Not too much excitement for me today. I am still struggling in palpation and ultra sounding the mares, and it is very hard to overcome to frustration but I keep praying that I will eventually get it if I just keep trying! Other than that I gave a mare an IV injection, lots of work with the foals, washed a penis (it doesn't sound that excited but when a huge stallion is kicking and screaming and you have to crab his penis that is between the legs that are kicking it is pretty hard (intended). I also saw a tarantula today, I wish I was joking but unfortunately I am not. And I mean a real look me in the eye, fanged, full bodied monster of a spider tarantula.  I am still at the barn now on foal watch and it is 10pm and if it wasn't for the thought of the tarantula I might be worried about falling asleep in one of the stalls.
     Although my day wasn't filled with exciting first, I can't say the same for one of our resident vets. As he was palpating one of our mares she managed to kick up over the gate of the palpation stocks with both feet and catch him in the face. Luckily he didn't get badly injured, just a very swollen face and a hoof shaped cut on his cheek. Needless to say it reminds me how risky and dangerous this business can be. I have been up the rump of a mare tons of times just in the last 4 days and never thought for a second that she could kick over that gate, so today was a life lesson for sure!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 3- Rooting for the Underdog

      Today was filled with many ups and downs. My feet were already hurting by 9 am, not a great start! Many of the mares are kept in pens 1/4 of a mile away and we travel back and forth "shagging" mares to bring them into the barn for treatments about 100 times a day. As I mentioned before, the other students in my rotation are far more advanced than I am right now. They are excellent palpaters and know the daily routine, so on Day 1 I knew I could shine with broze over brains, or so I thought. I THOUGHT that if I worked extra hard that my desire to learn  and hard work would make me an equal to the other students, NOT SO MUCH. These kids are fierce! They are just has hard working and twice as smart. BUT never fear, root for the underdog. Everytime I began to get discouraged which was about 1,000 times today, I would get to do something super cool and it would make me realize why I am here. After almost tearing up when I got in the truck to leave after a very exhausting 10 hour day I made a promise to myself that I would focus on all the amazing things I am getting to do and not my struggles to stay with the pack.
     So for the amazing things I got to do...One of my most frustrating moments was palpating a mare and I simply could NOT find the right ovary. But after LOTS of time I found her entire repro track and then found her fetus with the ultrasound machine. After many minutes of trying to get the perfect view of the 17 day old fetus with the U/S machine, there it was, the tiny flicker I had been searching for...the heartbeat!
     After lunch we got to bring up some cows! FINALLY something I knew how to do! But now for the BEST part, after palpation to confirm pregnacy we began to ultrasound their fetus's for fetal sexing. Yes you heard it right. At only 55 days bred we looked at the mouse sized fetus for signs of sexual orientation! You can actually see, if you look really REALLY hard, a tiny set of teets on the heifer, which are about the size of a pin point!
     After a trying day all I can really think of is sleep and a famous quote from Fred Waters better known as Daddy........"When things get tough, everyone else will pull up on the reins, we start SPURRING!"

PS- My one eyed mare's eye is getting much better and her foal is doing well walking on her cast!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 2-Tornado Alley

Well ...don't have time to write much tonight, been a long....long day. Started out great with a flush of 2 donor mares (flush is when you literally flush her uterus out and catch the fluid which contains fertilized embryos that you then transfer is to serrogant mares). Interesting note one of the mares was donating her eggs because in her last pregnancy she was injured by the foal and had a rectal-vaginal fistula (where the foals hoof punctures the vaginal wall and enters the rectum, so feces comes out their vagina-not good!) Next we induced our foal watch mare from the previous night and had a beautiful baby girl within 25 minutes of induction! Finally one of my mares (each student gets several mares that they are in charge of keeping up with) was brought in for treatment and we noticed her foals leg was swollen, so she was taken in the the equine hospital where she was diagnosed with a fracture! In the meantime her mother developed an eye issue and needed to be treated, did I mention this mare only has one eye! So needless to say my one eyed mare with an eye problem and her wobbly foal with a big cast kept be busy in the afternoon.
      Then, we were told to get afternoon treatments done quickly and get home due to the incoming storms. Chad picked me up at quarter till five and we immediately began watching the news to see what was happening. We learned we might get tornado's heading our way about 6:20, so being the procrastinater that I am, I told Chad that we would quickly eat our dinner and head to the storm shelter around 6...BAD IDEA. At around 5:55 we sat down to eat our salads and heard our neighbors outside our door. We opened the door to them asking if we were ok and then the eeriest sound I have ever heard came.....the tornado sirens!!!! Our neighbors bolted inside and Chad rushed me to the bathroom and started throwing pillows on top of me. We sat their listening to the terrifying sound of the sirens for approx 20 minutes. Thank goodness we are safe and sound and our power just came back on around 9pm. Lots of prayers for those who lost their homes tonight!

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Day in the Books....well kinda!

       So what to say about my very first day...To start their were five other vet students on my rotation, each an OSU student...kick number one...each of these five students had taken an Equine Therio elective last semester...kick number two, now I am down. So basically each of them spent an entire semester at the OSU Therio Ranch and knew the procedures and daily routine like the back of their hand. So as the docs called out...Hey go get Mare number 136 from pen 2 and give her a shot of Oxytocin, they knew where the syringes where, where the oxytocin was kept, where pen 2 was and who the hell mare number 136 was!!!! After a morning of fighting back the tears and struggling to keep my head up in my underdog position I made it to lunch, where we had fifteen minutes to scarf down the ham sandwich and can of peaches I brought.
     The afternoon was set for treatment and palpation of the ranch mares (client owned mares were treated and palpated in the morning as well as stallions collected). So after bringing in the ranch owner mares and getting my mare confortable in her stocks and her tail hung up high so I could wash and prepare her hinny for entry, I look around and the other students are palpating (something reserved for the resident doctors with the client owned mares that morning). So after seeing a stumped looked on my face, the resident said "these are ranch owned mares so the students process them, go ahead and palpate her and right down how big her follicle is (a zit on the over where the egg pops out)." And that was kick the third and final kick of the day but I WAS NOT down for the count!!!!!! I just raised my hand and said...I have never palpated a mare and she said there is the gloves!
     So after feeling little a total reject and palpating several mares and feeling NOTHING I finally started to get the hang of it and was even able to pass an ultrasound probe and find a follicle with the ultrasound which allows me to digitally measure the follicles. But I was having trouble palpating the right side of my last mare and asked the resident for assitance. As she helped me through we noticed she had fluid built up in her uterus and low and behold, the clouds shifted and the sun rays came shinning down and the resident said...Would you like to do a uterine lavage? ( Where you manually dialate their cervix and pass a catheter and flush the uterus to check and remove the fluid) None of the other students had learned this yet so I knew it was my time...finally it was MY TIME! I eagerly set up my sterile station and prepared! Ends up she had a pyometria (pus in her uterus) and we flushed her several times! It was AMAZING and made the morning all worth it!
     And then the clouds shifted again and the sky turned black! And the resident said we need to get everyone out of here ...there are some tornados and hail heading this way! BUT I need someone to stay until 11pm and watch a mare that may foal tonight...any volunteers.....MY TIME...I volunteered and here I am sitting in the break room of the foaling barn listening to the hail hit the tin roof and telling my self as my feet throb beneath me..."The first day is always the hardest, it is down hill from here and the storm shelter is just around the corner!!!!"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tomorrow is the BIG Day!

     After 11 years and many tears of joy and sorrow, tomorrow is finally the big first day as a clinician in training! My first rotation starts with Theriogenology, which is just a fancy doctor word for reproduction medicine. I can't say I am not overwhelmed with excitement that my first rotation is one in which I have years of experience, not many can say they are happy about starting out with their arm up the rectum of a variety of animals! However, one downfall is this rotation is not in the OSU Teaching Hospital but on a ranch about 10 miles away. So all the other students will know there way around the hospital, which is a modern day maze, after their first 3 week long rotation. Where as when I begin my second rotation, Food Animal Medicine, I will be wondering around lost for days.
     Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited and I wish I could honestly answer....."Yes, after over a decade of wondering if I would ever make it to this point, I am overwhelmed with excitement and joy to finally be here!" However, I would be lying like a coon dog on the front porch! I am TERRIFIED! Not a moment goes by that I don't feel the vomit creeping up in my throat and the turn of my stomach as if I were on a roller coaster. But as the saying goes, this too shall pass.
     I want to dedicate my very first blog post to my sweet angel mother. She flew to Oklahoma and spent here entire "vacation" running around crazy and making several trips a day to Walmart to make sure I had all my uniforms perfectly hung in my closet, my lunch packed up, homemade sugar free granola bars stocked in the frig, and of course nagged me excessively until I agreed to start a blog where my friends and family could read about my crazy days in the life of a vet student!