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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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!

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!

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!

Lambing Live

“Where in God’s name are they coming from!? No! There goes another! No! Shut the gate – you’re too slow! I CAN’T COPE WITH THIS ANY MORE!”

It was dark, and she was frightening me. I’d been on the farm for all of two hours, and was already being crushed under the pressure of a sheep-centred disaster. Ewes were plunging through the gates and spilling into the yard, barging past me while I tried to filter instructions from the shepherd’s wailing.

Think! What’s the yard layout, where are the exits? Where are the sheep likely to bolt?

Half an hour later, I was ramming the last ewe’s backside through the gate and slamming it shut behind her. Little did I know that this would be a routine event, and that I was going to have to get used to the shouting. Continue Reading!

Dead Dogs Tell No Tails

If you don’t get the titular reference, we have a grave problem for which the only cure is a Pirates of the Caribbean movie marathon.

Monday marked the point where we reached the back end of the dog. These last few months have seen an anatomical journey from nose to tail – which ended with ‘Pelvis’. Not, in fact, tail.

So far, I’d considered the contents of the pelvis to be the same as those in the abdomen, because unlike the boundary between thorax and abdomen, there’s no obvious divide. What this lecture really communicated was how things rounded off, wrapped up and continued to the outside world, and what muscles are involved in holding it all in. This lead to a rather uncomfortable image when our lecturer began telling us about her pelvic floor exercises.
Continue reading!

Of Mice & Men (And Sometimes Rabbits)

So it’s the countdown to the big February exams, and this train isn’t slowing down for anyone! This week has been almost completely focused on embryology and hindlimb anatomy, with an ALFS exam shoehorned into the middle.

Last week, we left off embryology with a blastula. Monday’s lecture took that blastula and saw it ‘gastrulate’. If that word sounds familiar, it’s because it’s got the same root as ‘gastric’, due to the appearance of the embryo resembling a little stomach… at least to the scientist who named it. I don’t really see it myself.

Either way, gastrulation is followed by neurulation, where the early spinal column forms and the nervous system starts to appear. Continue reading!