A Fair Rate Of Knots

Cancer is categorically not funny – and yet somehow I found myself two solid hours into a morning of cancer management lectures absolutely riveted, and laughing unashamedly. And it’s all down to the lecturer.

Our head of school is one of only a handful of board-certified companion animal oncologists in Europe. He holds the highest position of authority in the vet school, and has reached an outstanding level of expertise in his field. But when you meet the guy on the stairs Continue reading…

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Hold Your Horses – Please!

I’m sitting here writing this in the ringing aftermath of an exam – which hopefully explains why I haven’t written in yonks! The last three weeks have been an incessant and fast-flowing torrent of information. I’ve know for a long time that moving into third year would be a significant step up in the workload, but to actually be on its receiving end is like fighting a riptide.

First year was tough in so many different ways, and while second year was easier, easy is a very relative term on this kind of degree. But at least for the past few years, I’ve ticked over week on week at just a fast enough pace that I can keep on top of the workload. And then when an exam was approaching, I could select a higher gear and work flat out until the exam date had passed.

But now I’m in third year, I find myself working day on day in top gear. Continue reading!

Dr. Do-Little-With-Any-Competence-At-All

Welcome back to The Dogsbody, this is my belated week 3 post! It’s rather late because I spent my weekend at a welfare and ethics conference, so read on to find out how that went down. But let’s start with Monday.

After a painfully dry lecture on pharmacy legislation, followed by two very graphic and exciting lectures on post-mortem technique and incidental findings, I trotted over to the Hospital for Small Animals to meet my group for a “Theatre Practice” practical. With no idea what this would entail, we followed a nurse through the hospital to the surgical department. Continue Reading!

And They’re Off

So we’re at the end of week one, and I’m shoehorning this blog post between the pharmacology and pathology that I really ought to complete now that week two has kicked off. Third year is already proving to be a whole new kettle of fish.

Monday saw a bunch of introductions, course overviews, equipment collection, and the first lecture on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Since finishing A-Levels, I’d taken great delight in the idea of leaving chemistry comfortably in my past. But by the end of the lecture I grudgingly realised that I would have to start using it again. It all became a bit of a blur as the slides flashed past with numbers and graphs and formulae. In the end, I just sat back and listened in the hope that in three lectures’ time I might start to understand. Maybe that was smart and well-thought out… but maybe I was just procrastinating trying to get my head round it.

Tuesday saw the start of the pathology lectures. Continue Reading!

Round 3

I keep having little moments of incredulity. “Bloody hell… I’m a third year?”

Hello one and all, it’s nice to be back on the blog. I’ve hit an enormous milestone: third year marks the beginning of the clinical courses, the point where you leave behind what’s normal and what’s healthy and dive into the vast world of disease and drugs. In my pre-clinical years, I had always imagined that once I became a clinical student somehow this inner professional would have started to blossom – i.e. I would have had my crap together. In reality?

In reality, I still feel like I’m accelerating headlong into a profession with absolutely no clue how to drive this thing. I don’t feel like I know enough, or that I have solid learning strategies in place. I feel like I’ve managed to improvise my way this far, and that improvising isn’t going to cut it in the warzone of third year at the Dick Vet. In summary, the general Type A personality mini-crisis that every single one of my colleagues will be experiencing too. Continue Reading!

C’s Get Degrees

6th – 17th March

What’s the secret to passing veterinary exams? Hey, if I knew the answer to that question I’d be drinking more Jäger in the city and less Scotch on the sofa. You can’t pass vetmed and have a raging social life.

But every single semester culminates in an exam season, it’s the endpoint, the big finale. From the moment my bum hits the seat in the first lecture, my goal is set: pass the bleeding exams. And since it occupies my mind every second of every day, I wonder why I’ve never given you any insight. So here it is, here is how I muddle through. Continue reading!

I Came, I Saw, I Rectalled

21st Feb – 3rd March

“Wait, so… milk is just cow boob sweat?” the words came out before I’d given them permission, much to the amusement of my friends. This was the only piece of information I had retained from two consecutive hours of lectures on mammary glands. Although, in my defense, this is essentially true – the mammary gland is a modified apocrine sweat gland. Ergo milk is modified apocrine sweat. Gross, I know.

I had two hours to consolidate and memorise these lectures before I jumped on a minibus and took a trip to the school’s dairy farm for my afternoon practical, entitled on my timetable as: Rectal Examination of Cattle

My favourite. Continue reading!