Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 66-67 A Much Needed Day of Rest

     Today I had a much needed day of rest. I was on call all day but luckily have not gotten called in for any emergencies....yet! (Knock on wood) This was a huge blessing as I needed some serious sleep! After a 29 hours shift I crashed Saturday afternoon but had to be back at the barn Saturday evening to discharge my colic horse that was now doing much better. I saw her off last night around 9pm and got an invite from her owner to come visit her at the ranch any time I wanted! We finally diagnosed her using the endoscope (camera) in which we found ulcers in her stomach. This is a fairly common disease of thoroughbreds as the race track and ongoing training can be extremely stressful! Tonight I will keep hoping for no phone calls so I can get to bed early and rest up for the week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 63-65 Making My Mark

     Yesterday was uneventful but today made up for it three fold! Today was my first official case on Equine Medicine! My case is a 3 year old thoroughbred filly that has had three episodes of colic (extremely painful abdominal pain that can be caused by a variety of things) in the last month. Unfortunately, all the other rotations in the large animal barn were not very busy so all the other students came over to Equine Med to witness the excitement! This meant I had a 25 person audience watching me examine my horse and listen to me answer the unrelenting string of diagnostic questions from my senior clinician. Needless to say I peed my pants at least once and threw up in my mouth twice! Everyone had there eyes and ears pinned on me as I nervously struggled through my questions and tried with all my might to diagnose my horse correctly! After about an hour of shaking knees and nervous sweats the crowd started to clear and I was blessed with a "good job" by the senior veterinarian.
       My little filly is now resting quietly in her stall and I will be ending my midnight shift here in the barn in the next hour. But no rest for the weary tonight! As I leave here at midnight after a long 16 hour day at the Equine Barn the next stop is 6 miles up the road at the recreation park. An annual endurance race begins horse/rider check-in at 1 am. We have to do physicals and lameness exams on all the participating horses and give them the ok before they can enter the race. Once the race starts we repeat these exams at check points along the 50 mile course to make sure horses are in good enough health to continue! This will last well into the morning. Then my next stop will be back at the barn at 7:30am to check on my horse and perform more test as needed to treat her colic. No sleep for me tonight but I am so excited to see what this night will bring!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 61- 62 Three Pigeons

     So far I am love love loving my equine medicine rotation. Like Food Animal Medicine I see things daily that I am dying to get my hands on! Yesterday was an interesting day of threes. We saw three appointments and all three were presenting for the same complaint, an abscess on the chest region. This is a very common presentation for Pigeon Fever, which is a systemic bacteria that results in an abscess formation over the pectoral muscles of the chest! The treatment is an anti-inflammatory medication and sedation to lance open the abscess so that it can drain. This doesn't sound like much fun, but really it is! Lancing open a oowy gooey pus filled mass is nothing but fun!
     Today, we have an appointment for a mare that has had re-occurring abortions. I am very excited to work this up as it will be challenging and very interesting! So this case is TO BE CONTINUED....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 59-60! Sixty...Seriously?!?!?!?!?

     Today was the first day of my Equine Medicine Rotation. Finally I am starting to feel more confident and not so nervous that I want to pee my pants the entire first day of a new rotation! But it did make things easier that I was still in the equine barn and knew my way around since I just came off equine surgery! Today we had a horse with an abscess on her face the size of a kiwi, and a horse with hepatic lipidosis (liver failure with fat infiltration). The liver horse was a Fresian which is one of the most beautiful horses there is, so it was definatly neat to have her in (see picture)! I started off this rotation like any other one, with a bang! It is my first day and I have the first ICU shift so I got here at 7:30am this morning and will be here until midnight! But, as always I can always look to my family for support in my time of need. As I yawned and complained about my long night to my husband who brought me dinner and a card from the mailbox that my grandparents had sent, I opened the card was all better.
     We forget sometimes how much our families mean to us. Many times I feel tired and sad and wore out and the list goes on....and a short call to my mom, dad, sister, nana, papa or in-laws, and it all seems better. It is like my body's way of telling me I am homesick and their voices have healing powers. I can whole-heartedly say I would never have made it this far in life without the undying support of my family. I feel so blessed to have people in my life that never question me, never doubt me and most importantly never give up on me. Even after over thirty years of support (yes I said it out loud for the first time, 31 baby) I am still suprised at the level of dedication my family has for one another. Even with the bickering and the power struggle of too many southern women in the kitchen, there is never a blink of an eye when one of us is in need we all come together. God has blessed me in many ways in life but my family is the biggest blessing of all! Thank you Nana and Papa for brigtening my day with a suprise! Thank you Momma, Mom and Larry for your comments about my blog!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 57-58 Time Flies

    Yesterday was the last official day of my Equine Medicine Rotation. Just as with each rotation that goes by the last day is always a bit sad. It takes a couple weeks before getting comfortable with not only the daily routine of that particular segment of the hospital but also with the students and doctors. By week three you consider these people friends and almost family as you spend many hours of the day, everyday with them.
    On my last day, I completed my rotation with a very interesting case! I had a horse come in with weakness and stumbling in the hind end. After a very long lameness and neurological exam our tentative diagnosis was EPM, Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis. This is a "bug" they get from wild animals, most commonly Possums who poop in their feed, water, or hay. The bug migrates to the brain or spinal cord causing a variety of neurological signs. Most horses do not survive the disease unless caught early, which hopefully we did!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 55-56 Balls of Fire

     Yesterday was a late night as will be tonight on Equine Surgery. I arrived yesterday morning and was informed a yearling calf was being hauled in with a severely broken leg and that because of the difficulty of the surgery the equine surgery team would be taking the case, so of course I immediately called dibs! When the calf arrived it was very apparent how broken her leg was as pieces of the bone were sticking out through the skin! After radiographs, we were all shocked at the severity of the break (it looked something like this picture, but even worse!)

So after a very long surgery of placing pins through the bone and putting on a giant cast we finally got the calf back to her stall and I got home around 9pm.
      Today will be no exception to the long day rule. We had 3 surgeries today. A laproscopic ovarian tumor removal on a Fjord pony (very rare Norwegian breed - see picture!)

Then we proceeded to cutting out a tumor on the epiglottis of a stallion with the endoscopic laser. He fainted while in the surgery stocks so that was fun and exciting! Then I got to do my first castration! I know it shouldn't be so fun to cut off some balls but is! The horse woke up nicely from surgery and went home a few hours later! Tonight I am on ICU shift which means I have to stay at the barn until midnight and check on the horses every hour and give medications when needed. Needless to say it makes for a long...long day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 54- Sweeny Todd

    Today was a bit slow but we did see one interesting case! There is a bundle of nerves that run directly over the shoulder blade. In almost all species there is a bony prominence that covers the nerves, except in the horse! This was made very apparent in the olden days as horses would become crippled from wearing the large collars used to hitch them up to wagons. The collars would pinch the nerve up against the the shoulder blade, this would damage the nerve and the horse would develop muscle atrophy of the shoulder muscles and eventually become lame, a condition known as Sweeney. Today we see Sweeney in horses that have a nerve injury secondary to a laceration or trauma to the leg.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 53- Point Taken

     So last night after I wrote my blog, somewhat "comp"plaining (pun intended) about my emergency call in's and lack of sleep, I was more than excited to snuggle up with my hubby to watch a movie and relax, and that was when the phone rang! Note to self, if you complain about getting called in for emergency the phone will ring about 10 o'clock to call you in for an emergency! Luckily it was a very rewarding emergency! A little mini horse came in barely able to breathe and obviously choking lead by her owners who were greatly shaken by the event! We got the little girl sedated and cleared her choke within minutes and she was back to normal and breathing well within 15 minutes of arrival. What a rewarding experience! complaining

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 50-52- A Day in the Life

    This weekend was a great example of a day in the life of a vet student! Saturday I had the day off and was more than excited to get some much needed sleep and study time in! I slept in, studied and then looked forward to a quiet evening at home spending some quality time with my husband! As we settled in to watch a movie, I got the somewhat dreaded but always exciting phone call, we had an emergency surgery coming in! After a very interesting colic surgery, where a horses stomach becomes twisted and needs to be surgically corrected, we cleaned up the surgery room and headed home about 1:30am. I thought to myself as I snuggled into bed around 2 am ...well at least I have tomorrow off so I can sleep in....I should have knocked on some wood! As I answered the phone in a blurr this morning I heard the voice say hello LuJean we have an emergency, please be here in 15 minutes. So after jump in the shower and quick dressing I was off again! So much for a rested weekend of quiet study! What can I say, just another day in the life of a vet student!

Colic Surgery 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 49- Surgery Room Rock Out

     Today we had two surgeries, an eye enucleation (removing the eye) on a paint gelding (castrated male) and we did an arthroscopy (using a camera to enter the joint) on our little longhorn calf! The calf's joint looks like it is one the road to healing and he was given a good prognosis once again!
     The enucleation (eye removal) was very interesting as we first did a cat scan and then moved the horse into surgery for the actual removal of the eye. As you can imagine moving a thousand pound horse around different parts of the hospital and from a table in the CT room to a table in surgery is no easy feat! But with a whole lot of effort and people we managed to do this fairly smoothly!
      Horses (as well as many other species) with white faces are predisposed to getting cancer around their eyes from the lack of pigment that helps deflect the suns rays. That is also why pink eye and cancer eye are so common among Hereford cows (all white face). Our horse today not only had cancer in his eye but it was obvious that it was a very advanced case. After we got the eye out we were all surprised to see what this deadly disease can really do. The cancer had eaten the bone of the eye orbit leaving a whole in the skull where the eye usually sits that was about the size of a penny. So before closing the eye completely we put a string of medical beads infused with chemotherapy drugs into the orbit. The purpose of the beads is that they will slowly release chemotherapy drugs over a long period of time, so we won't have to handle these dangerous drugs and the horse can get the long term treatment needed directly where the cancer was seeding. During this long surgery the whole room was rocking out to Bon Jovi to lighten the intensity of the surgery room (see picture)!

                                        Cancer Eye


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 48- Booooo

    Today was a day filled with studying, and I thought I wouldn't have to do that as much now that I am in my forth year...HA HA! This morning we did not have any surgery appointments so I was diligently studying up on castrations as I was more than excited about my first solo surgery on Thurs of a castration on a horse. Sadly my surgery cancelled and I am so disappointed!!! Never thought I would be so sad to be denied to cut off some testicles but man I was really looking forward to it! Hopefully we will get another one in! Due to the slow day I got to catch up on paperwork for my upcoming internships...One in Kansas with a Feedlot Vet (3 weeks long) then onto Texas with a Dairy vet (2 weeks). Then I will fly to Florida and spend 2 weeks with Dr. Shank of Ft. Meade (mixed practice) and then hopefully 2 weeks with Dr. Gukich if I can catch him when he is not busy to ask him!
     Then I got to come home a little early and got some ECFVG (part one of my three part board/licensing exam) studying in! 32 more days until the big test, so it is time to really crack down on studying no matter how tired I am!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 48- My Little Fighter

    Today we did our two big surgeries- screws and wires into the legs of our little knock kneed foal, who is doing very well so far. And we removed an ovary using a laproscope (camera) that was inflammed and had adhered itself to the body wall making it non-functional. Both surgeries went very well and I was so suprised how much more comfortable I was on the other side of the tracks again- that being the food animal side!
    Unfortunatly my little longhorn calf is back in the hospital. As like most cases of Navel Ill (where the calf gets an infection in the joints that was spread from the umbilical cord), the infection usually spreads to all the joints. Initially when the calf was first admitted at only 3 days old, only one joint was infected. Sadly only a week after being sent home our little fighter was back with other joints now swollen and sore. Although we new this could happen everyone was sad to see our little man feeling so bad again. Everytime I here his little moo's from the other side of the wall as, my heart just melts. I was able to sneak away from the equine side of the barn a couple times today to visit my little man!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 47- Knock Kneed Horses

      Today we admitted a very interesting case for surgery tomorrow! Angular limb deformity with Valgus of the Carpal Joint, which is the fancy doctor term for a foal that is knock kneed! She is extremely cute and rambuncious, but has trouble walking and has continued to get worse. Tomorrow her surgery will consist of putting screws into the bone at the point of the growth plate, with a figure 8 wire around the screws, kinda like braces on teeth. This will halt growth on one side of the leg so that the other side can catch up, thus straighting the leg.

    This can be caused by a variety of things from nutrition to injury to simply a birth defect. When this particular foal was born it not only had carpal valgus (knock kneed on the front) but it also had a mixture of valgus (knock kneed) and varus (bowlegged) in the rear legs, when they have both the condition is called "wind swept." It gets it's name by looking like the wind in blowing the legs over! In actuality one leg is bowlegged and one is knock kneed. Fortunately, like many foals born with this condition our little foal grew out of being wind swept but needed surgical correction for the knocked knees in the front.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 46- Sleep Relief

    My first week on equine surgery ended with a busy supply of lameness exams and appointments. But is wasn't until Friday at 4:30pm that I got the really exciting news. For the first time since I started rotations 7 weeks ago I was given a day off! I can't tell you what this meant to me as I was slowly but surely dwindling into exhaustion. So yesterday I made a promise to myself, no homework, no studying, no bills, no computer, no nothing! And that is exactly what I did...nothing. I woke up at 11, ate some lunch and went back to sleep to wake up at 4. Upon which I ordered delivery for dinner and went back to bed at 7. If was just what I needed and I feel rejuvenated and ready to start week 2 on Equine Surgery. Next week I have one appointment already scheduled, a castration! Apparently, unlike most of the very complicated surgeries on this rotation, the students get to do the cutting on the simpler surgeries like castrations! So I will be sharpening my mind and my blade in preparation for my first surgery! WHOO HOOO!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 42- Coffe, Tea or Me

    Today was pretty uneventful. We admitted 2 horses for surgeries that will be done tomorrow. On has Ovarian cancer and will have the tumor removed tomorrow! On of the most interesting things about these types of tumors is their behavioral component. Every man or women has both female (estrogen) and male (testosterone) hormones being produced at a constant rate. Yet, like most of you already know, in women, estrogen is dominant and in men testosterone is dominant. The cells that produce testosterone are called theca cells and if you have a theca cell tumor (tumor cells grow at a rapid rate) you have an ovary production of these types of cells, thus an over production of the hormones they produce (testosterone). One of the most common ovarian tumor of horses is theca cell tumors, and one of the predominant clinical signs is a change in behavior, you calm friendly mare suddenly becomes bad tempered and manly (acting like a stallion). I am now suspicious of several women I know, I think they may have this disease!
     Since I have to wear a uniform consisting of a green polo and khaki pants I plan to wear a pink bra and panties tomorrow in honor of breast and ovarian cancer day for this mare on my surgery rotation! Come on people, you gotta mix it up or this stuff would be way to boring!
    The next surgery tomorrow with be an arthroscopic bone chip removal. So basically we will take the tiny camera used yesterday and pass it into the joint and use a small grabbing tool to retrieve a bone chip that was left over from a previous fracture.
     Other than that I am in desperate need of coffee or tea as I will be here until midnight tonight and can barely keep my eyes open already and I still have 2 more hours. Tomorrow is going to come early and I am trying to be useful of my time and study for board exams but as the night lingers on my eyes cannot seem to focus on the important things in life like studying for extremely important test!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 41- That mule can be an Ass!

    Today was my first day on the Equine Surgery Rotation. I keep thinking it will get easier to start new rotation but each time a new one begins I find myself being as nervous as the very first one! Today was no different, I am literally emotionally exhausted from the nerve racking day, and of course physically exhausted as I was at the clinic until midnight last night!
    One of the cases of the day was a testy mule with an attitude who could really be an ass (pun intended!) My case was a not so well behaved Thoroughbred gelding who had a condition called Epiglottic Entrapment, which is basically where there is some extra tissue on the epiglottis making it not close properly and causing a lack of sufficient oxygen when to horse is racing. The best part of this surgery is that it was endoscopic ( a tiny camera is passed up the nose and to the epiglottis) and that the surgery was done entirely with a laser! Pretty stinking awesome, making the long hours completely worth it!!!!
    Tomorrow I will be at the barn from 7 am to midnight, I am dreading the long hours but excited for the schedule of surgeries cases which will be admitted tomorrow including an ovarian cancer case, a ovariohysterctomy, and bone fragments in a knee!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 39-40- The end of an Era

     Today is my last day on Food Animal Medicine, it was a very sad day but also very rewarding. My little longhorn calf is on the road to recovery to say the least! As we got him out of his crate today for his medicine he was jumping around kicking and bucking, a far cry from his initial presentation where he could barely stand. Today he went home with his owner and as I loading him into her truck I couldn't help but get an empty feeling. Needless to say I was very sad to see my little man go, but healing him has been the most rewarding feeling since starting clinics just 6 weeks ago. It is amazing how long the days can seem but yet how fast the time has passed since starting my venture here.
     Tomorrow is a new day, I begin my rotation tomorrow in the Equine Surgery Rotation! It is very hard to get used to finally getting comfortable in a rotation around the third week and then it is over and time to begin a new one. This week will be filled with moments of nervousness so great that I am sure I will want to cry or vomit at least once everyday this week. But here is to a new day and a new rotation, wish me luck!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 39 & 40- The days are getting longer!

      Sorry to my fellow blog followers for the lack of postings this week! The last few days have been long and hard but amazing in deed! My little soldier (my longhorn calf with Navel Ill) is doing great and got to come off his IV fluids today, which was just in the nick of time as he is getting more and more rambunctious by the day, making it much harder to get him still for an IV line! We plan on doing another joint lavage and infusion of antibiotics in the joint tomorrow and if the fluid from his joint is less infected he gets to go home! Can't believe my little man will have horns like this (picture) one day and I hope he is not as playful by the time he gets them or his owners better watch out! He gets to come out of his crate a few times a day and loves running around head butting and kicking and bucking! Too cute for words!
     This weekend is 4th of July and I will be on ICU shift from 5pm-12 midnight tonight and Monday and I am on call all day Sunday for emergencies. Every time I think about how tired I am going to be and how much it sucks to be working around the clock this holiday weekend I remember the people who serve and the sacrifices they make. I can't bare to feel upset or sorry for myself with a hectic schedule this weekend when there are people all around us that make these sacrifices every day! So thank you to those that serve! I will be thinking of you as you make your sacrifices, your time away from your families, your never ending dedication to our country and for our freedom! This weekend I think of my great great grandfather who served as a cattle drover in the civil war, my papa who served in WWII, uncle Joe who is retired after many years of service, my father in law, Larry Spridik, retired Air Force and my brother-in-law, Mark who continues to make sacrifices for our freedom everyday!
                                                           Pictured is Navy Chief Mark Benino