Where There’s A Willy, There’s a Way

14th – 24th February

It’s me, finally climbing out of the revision cave and into the light! There’s a lot to catch up on, and it’s truly exciting stuff – so let me start where I last left off, Valentine’s Day…

We’ve all got romantic ideas about where we’d like to be on Valentine’s Day. Considering I don’t have any kind of romantic partner, my expectations weren’t that high to begin with, but as I stood in the dissection room surrounded by penises, this was not it.

Reproduction lectures were in full swing and I couldn’t keep up with it. Reproduction is the bane of every vet student’s life, but those bits and pieces make up the majority of a vet’s workload. Courtship, love-making, and fluffy baby animals, what’s not to love? Well, apart from the fact that sex in the animal kingdom is for the most part violent, messy, dangerous, and complex, every single species has their own way to tango. Don’t feel sorry for your gynaecologist, at least their patients only have one vagina. Continue reading!

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Nose To Tail

Patient cooperation? That’d be the bloody day.

Rewind to the 1st of February, and you’ll find me hanging off the head of a cow, trying to pry her eyelids apart as she throws herself back and forth.

“Will you stand still!? I’m not going to hurt you!” Okay, this probably will hurt a bit, but it’s going to hurt more if you fight with me.

There was a brief respite from the thrashing as she stopped to catch her breath. I took my opportunity to separate the eyelids and push her eyeball backwards a fraction into the socket, so that the nictitating membrane jumped out across the surface. I had less than a second to make my assessment of her eye before she began throwing her head again. I let go and stepped away, “This girl needs a break.” Continue reading!

It’s Not Brain Surgery

Southside without students is like Camden Town without bohemians – quiet, and empty. For the first two weeks of my semester, the city around campus was pretty much derelict, save for the occasional vet student. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m a raging socialite, but their absence meant the people-watching from my kitchen was pants for the entire fortnight.

Where was everybody?

At home. Still on Christmas break. By the time they all began trickling in for the start of their semester, the vet meds had sat an exam, finished the entire renal module, and begun the endocrinology module. Vet school waits for nobody.

I’m pretty sure the last time I wrote was just before my December exams. Apologies for the radio silence, I’m sure you’ll forgive me once I’ve regaled you with everything that has occurred since! Continue reading!

Animals Inside Out

This trip was such an outstanding experience that it deserves a post of its own: for a limited time, one of Gunther von Hagens’ Animals Inside Out exhibitions is on display at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle.

I’d known months in advance that it was coming, and knew that I could not miss out. Rowena and I had booked train tickets for an early train down the East coast line, and arranged to meet an old friend of mine, and her flatmate, in Newcastle.

After a long week of lectures, dragging myself out of bed early on Saturday was a monumental effort. But adventure awaits! Continue Reading!

Like A Rat Out Of Hell

Monday morning. And another MCQ.

I sat with my exam paper, trying to visualise the number of lobes in the equine liver. This was something I had chosen not to learn, and so at least three of the five possible responses looked correct to me. I then spent some time debating about muscarinic and nicotinic receptors, and then double-checked my other 18 responses. Everything looked reasonable.

Eventually time was up, and I turned my paper in. These assessments are immediately followed by a feedback session that provides the answers, so that you know where abouts your mark will fall. Here we go. Continue reading!

We’re Halfway There

My lecturer spent almost the entire lecture with his arm firmly wedged up the rectum of an invisible horse. He made eye contact with each student as his hand groped around the imaginary intestines, delivering lecture content as he went.

“Normally, you’re going to be able to feel the base of that caecum over on the right hand side. It should be soft, and we shouldn’t be feeling tight taenial bands.”

His waving fingers pointed straight ahead, “There’s going to be small intestine here, no taenial bands. But if there’s a strangulating lesion Continue Reading!

Something to Ruminate Over

It sat in front of me like a giant empty potato sack – completely shapeless, and a uniform shade of boggy brown. My notes said that there would be four chambers: rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum. But when I looked between my brightly-coloured diagram and the deflated brown specimen, there was no resemblance whatsoever. And so with the familiar snap of rubber gloves, I began rummaging inside the great sack.

Somebody had made a large incision across the top, which meant I could hold up the edges and peer into the darkness. I really don’t have adjectives to describe the smell, but the internal surface was textured like AstroTurf, and divided into chambers by thick muscular bands. This must be the rumen.

The rumen was slimy and dark and difficult to navigate. I actually paused at one point to appreciate how every decision in my life had led to me groping around inside the preserved stomach of a dead cow. How utterly poetic. Continue Reading!