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!

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Till The Cows Come Home

There’s something oddly feminine about a cow.

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Maybe its the gentle eyes, with their long lashes, or the delicate placement of each hoof on the ground, or perhaps the soft blowing of her breath as she investigates your hands. Despite her size, sometimes she’s just such a lady.

And yet at exactly the same moment, she’s seven hundred kilos of bellowing, farting and crapping. Continue reading

Chlamydia, Bitches & Rectal Gloves

So it’s been two weeks since I last posted – and the reason is sort of ironic. On the one hand, there’s not been enough in a week to tell you about, and yet I’ve been so ridiculously busy that there’s not been a spare minute to write in.

How does that happen?

Well, unfortunately, bacteriology and immunology remain the full-time focus of my degree. This means that there’s an extraordinary amount of work to be done and things to be learnt, but there’s so little of it that might excite the casual blog-reader. But I’ll be damned if I don’t try anyway!

The last fortnight has explored the cycle of pathogenesis, from infection to resolution, and identified the distinct habits of some fairly famous microbes: Salmonella, Streptococci, Mycobacteria, Staphylococci and Chlamydia to name a few. At first glance, that looks like a pretty scary line-up, but I’ve discovered that a great many species in these genera have preferences for non-human hosts. And, interestingly, different bacterial species often cause different diseases in different host species. Continue Reading!