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!

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!

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!

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!

Variation on a Theme

“Ah, I think that’s the dorsal extensor branch of the suspensory ligament.” I confidently declared, using my pencil to point at a pale, ill-defined structure on the disembodied cow limb. In order to confirm my excellent anatomical knowledge, I referred to the answer sheet on the desk.

“Number 14… what? Apparently its the ‘abaxial dorsal extensor branch of the suspensory ligament to join the tendon of the medial belly of the common digital extensor muscle on digit three’… obviously…”

I made a note of the catchy name, and we moved on to a different specimen. I poked around for a while.

“If I pull on this tendon… yes, let me write that down. The lateral… digital… extens-”

“Elise, look out!”

I looked up just in time to see Continue reading!

Dog Tired

It was like being caught in a time loop – a striking déjà vu for nine days straight. Breakfast… study… lunch… study… tea… study… sleep… repeat.

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I seemed to relive countless episodes of the same exact moment: looking across the table at Rowena and saying, “Better get back to it, then.”, before trudging back to my little room.

Studying isn’t exactly a new experience for me, hell I’ve just finished A Levels. But this time was different, simply because the volume of information was, by every definition, insurmountable. Continue reading

Diagnosis: Asparagus

The ultrasound image was… vague. As our tutor moved the transducer back and forth, it shifted into odd shapes, varying shades of grey hinting at what might lie underneath.

I tried to build a three-dimensional image from the series of cross-sections that moved past. I could see something loosely star shaped growing and then shrinking again as the transducer passed over it, with a great anechoic black hole in the centre. But it had more points than a star, and they were rounded… lobulated. You know, it looked a bit like… Continue reading