Friday, 12 June 2015

Forest Vets Epping V

12th June 2015

My final day of work experience at this hospital was eventful.

Before surgeries started I put a cat into one of the cattery cages before she had her operation and I went with a nurse to walk a dog who hadn't urinated since her operation. These were small tasks but helpful in learning how these things are done so I can do this in future placements. Similarly, I learnt how to lift a larger dog onto the tablewithout pressing on the stomach/bladder or hurting the dog.
This can also be carried over to any other placement.

I got to watch the dew claw removal of a guide dog as it was affecting his work and this was interesting to see as the claw and the thumb area needed to be removed, not just the claw. I then watched the removal of a jaw mass on an old German Shepard and this was a very quick procedure.

Another quick procedure was the eyelid mass removal on another dog which followed. I noticed the cleaning of the eye for the second operation was different to the cleaning of any other operation area I'd seen and so this itself took a bit more time than cleaning another area might have done.

Later, I watched another tightrope procedure on a dog and this time it was far easier to see as there were less surgeons in the theatre to watch. It was a longer operation than the rest of the day's operations but good to watch.

An unplanned operation on a small dog was the last of the day in which a disc on its spine needed to be removed. It was difficult to see as the dog was very small but I did see the disc after it had been removed and was surprised at how small it was.

It was a great end to the week and over all a very enjoyable week that only strengthened my dedication and desire to become a veterinary surgeon.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Operations Seen

I have made this post to detail the operations that I have witnessed fully during my veterinary practice work experience.

Dog Spay:
-The vet cut through the skin, fat and tissues to reach the abdominal cavity.
-The uterus and ovaries were then pulled into a more visible position, ready for removal.
-The ligaments joining the ovaries to the abdominal lining were cut to allow the ovaries to be taken out.
-The cervix was sutured closed to prevent infection which could otherwise be likely to occur.
-The ovaries were checked to make sure they were completely out.
-The dog was then closed up neatly.

Dog Castration:
-The area between the scrotum and the penis was cut open.
-One testicle was pushed through the lining to be pulled out, clear and ready for removal.
-Two clamps were placed on the duct with a gap between them.
-A square knot was then tied just below the lower clamp before the lower clamp was moved up above the upper clamp and the knot tightened and secured.
-This action was then repeated for extra security.
-The testicle was then cut off and the end of the duct remaining sank back into the dog's body.
-The same process was repeated with the second testicle.
-The dog was then closed up neatly, with emphasis on moving the fat back to where it was and leaving a bit more give in the skin to hide the knot a bit more.

TPLO:
-The damaged cruciate ligament was removed completely and the cartilage in the knee was checked for any damage.
-The vet made a cut at the top of the tibia and he then rotated the plateau so the joint was leveled.
-A metal plate was used to secure the new angle of the tibial plateau and this was set with screws.
-The leg was then stitched up.

Things I Have Learnt

I have created this post of all of the things I have learnt throughout my work experience including definitions, advantages and disadvantages and descriptions of procedures.


  • Laminitis: Inflammation of the lamellar attachments between the hoof and the bone of the leg in a horse. It can cause structural problems in the foot and make the hoof wall separate from the bone. This can then cause pain and a difficulty of movement in the horse.

  • Equine Metabolic Syndrome: Caused primarily by obesity in horses and ponies, it is similar to type 2 diabetes in that it's main disorder is insulin resistance. Symptoms that are exhibited include laminitis, lethargy, obesity and abnormal fat deposits.

  • TECA: Total Ear Canal Ablation. This is where the total interior of the ear is removed including the ear drum. It is often performed due to a build up of pus and infectious material. This itself causes headaches, pain and a need for ear cleaning. Hearing can be diminished but this is not too bad a consequence given the fact that hearing is usually already diminished due to the infection.

  • Arthroscopy: This is the use of a camera to view the joints of an animal more clearly than on an X-Ray. Fragments of bone and other problems can be seen to then be fixed with a surgical procedure.

  • BSE: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease). This is the disintegration of the brain in cows and this can be carried to humans.

  • MRSA: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a bacteria that is difficult to treat as it is resistant to antibiotics.

  • Puppy Vaccines: DHLPPCv
  • -Distemper (viral disease affecting many tracts and organs)
  • -Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
  • -Leptospirosis (bacterial infection of kidneys that can be transferred to humans)
  • -Parainfluenza (virus that causes infection in the respiratory system)
  • -Pavovirus (severe virus affecting the intestinal tract)
  • -Coronavirus (similar to pavovirus but not considered to be fatal)

  • Kitten Vaccines:
  • -Panleukopenia (loss of white blood cells in the body)
  • -Herpesvirus (contagious cause of cat flu)
  • -Calicivirus (virus causing problems in the respiratory system)
  • -Leukaemia (common cause of cancer in cats)

  • Pros of Spaying:
  • -Population control
  • -Won't cause birth/pregnancy complications in the future
  • -Easier for the owner not having to take care of kittens/puppies

  • Cons of Spaying:
  • -Problems during the operation/anaesthesia.

  • Pros of Castration:
  • -Population control.
  • -Reduces risk of prostate disease.
  • -Reduces likelihood of animal getting territorial, getting into fights and spraying.

  • Cons of Castration:
  • -Problems during the operation/anaesthesia

  • What happens at an Abattoir: The animals are crowded close together. In sheep, they are bolted, their hind legs are lifted and their throats are slit. In cows, they are bolted and shot in the head. Afterwards, the animals are eviscerated (have their organs removed), especially the spine in cows to prevent the spread of BSE. The feet and head remove and the meat of the animal is left to drain and mature.

  • Parts of a Pelvis:
  • -Illium (the part closer to the head at either side of the pelvis)
  • -Ishium (the part closer to the back legs at either side of the pelvis)
  • -Pubis (the middle part of the pelvis)
  • -Pubic Symphysis (middle part of the pubis)
  • -Acetabulum (socket in the pelvis where the femur joins)

  • Order of a Cow's Digestive System:
  • -Mouth > Oesophagus > Rumen > Reticulum > Omasum > Abomasum

  • Problems with Bulldogs:
  • -Squashed faces can cause skin problems in the creases and difficulty breathing and seeing.
  • -Bulldogs must be born by caesarian so there is a risk of complications in surgery for the mother.

  • Waking up an Animal after Surgery:
  • -The N2O is shut off 10 minutes from the end of the procedure and then the oxygen is switched off at the end.
  • -The tube stays in the dog's mouth until there is blinking and a swallow reflex to signal the dog is awake.
  • For cats, the tube must be removed before a swallow reflex due to the delicacy of the trachea.

  • Elbow Gelpi: The piece of equipment used to hold open the skin and muscle to allow easier access to the bone.

  • Marcain - A local anaesthetic used in surgery to numb the operational area.

  • GDV (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) - This is bloating and it's when the stomach enlarges and twists so gas builds up but can not escape. This can be fatal in animals.

  • TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) - This is an operation to reposition the tibial plateau and secure it with a metal plate.

  • Tightrope Procedure - This is an operation where a fibre is used to act as a ligament and give support to the joint.

  • Schmallenburg Virus - Infection in sheep and cattle. It is transmitted by biting insects and causes deformities in offspring. It is not usually apparent in adults, only in the young. The virus attacks the brain and spinal cord and deforms the spine, head and legs.

Forest Vets Epping IV

11th Jun 2015

Today was a very busy day. I got to sit in on another dog castration in which I learnt another approach of doing the surgery in which only a single tie was used. Following on from the castration was a paw inspection on the same dog where a lump of skin was removed and a pre-existing wound cleaned.

There was an MRI on another dog after this operation and it was amazing to see how clear it was and how easy it was to identify the issue with the images taken.

I got to see blood be taken from a cat and a dog for analysis and after this, a tightrope procedure was performed on the knee of a dog. This procedure involved using a fibre to give more support to the joint and act as a ligament. It was interesting to listen to the vet as he went through the procedure, describing his actions but it was quite difficult to see due to the large amount of people in the theatre at the time.

Whilst the next dog was being prepared for a knee surgery, I got to watch a heart scan using the ultrasound on a cat. It was difficult to know what to look for, especially with the heartbeat being so fast.

The final operation of the day was a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) and this was very interesting to watch. This surgery involved repositioning of the tibial plateau and the securing of this new angle using a metal plate. It was a long surgery but great to watch.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Forest Vets Epping III

10th Jun 2015

My third day at Forest Vets was very quick paced. I first watched the vet remove corns from the feet of a grey hound and watched the nurses bandage up the feet following this. The procedure itself was fast.

The vet then took a dog in for an X-Ray and I got to see the biopsy that followed this on a mass on the jaw. Almost immediately after this, the theatre was prepared for a castrate on a puppy which I got to observe. Again, this was a fast procedure but nonetheless I got to learn as the vet spoke about his actions when removing the testicles.

Soon after, another dog was taken in for an abdominal ultrasound and this was interesting to see as the different organs could be distinguished by their density on the screen.

The final procedure I got to witness the cleaning and extraction of  some of a cats teeth due to the calculus build up.

Although these were all speedy operations and over soon, it was amazing to see how much could be completed in such a short amount of time.

I helped to prepare the theatres for the following day and this allowed me to become more familiar with the equipment used, especially the orthopaedic tools as these are quite different from the usual tools. I also helped to top up the syringes and swabs.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

RVC Open Day

9th May 2015

Even though this was not part of my work experience as such, I did learn some skills throughout the day.

I learnt how to suture using a skin model and this was something I found initially difficult but could see how it would become a lot easier with practice.

I also learnt how to tie knots in the way that it is done in practice and I also practised putting on a gown and gloves whilst trying to maintain sterility which was very difficult!

I learnt how a tube may be used to treat a horse with colic and I got to insert a catheter into a pretend dog leg and bandage the leg of a stuffed dog.

I found these tasks fun and a good insight into what I might be expected to learn in the 3rd year of the veterinary medicine course.

The students that helped throughout the day were very informative with everything to do with the course, work experience, applications and animals.

Forest Vets Epping II

9th Jun 2015

My second day started with watching the shearing of a cat to get it ready for its operation, followed by watching an IV be fitted in an Akita ready for a spay. I got to go into the theatre to watch the spay on the Akita and this was very interesting to watch as well as educational as I got to learn what was happening at each stage of the operation.

After this I got to see the preparation of a Dachshund and part of the operation to fix its fractured pelvis though this was quite difficult to see due to the amount of surgical equipment that needed to be used in such a small dog.

A nurse taught me about how dogs and cats are woken up after an operation and how they needed their breathing tube removed differently due to the delicate trachea of the cats.

I helped to clean up after preparations and I also helped to clean the large theatre, the X-Ray room, the nurses' consultation room and the dental room.

At the end of the surgical day, I helped to top up the supply of gowns, table drapes, catheters and syringes.

I also got a chance in my break to practice some interview questions with a veterinary student and this was very useful to give me more of an idea of what to expect in university interviews in the future.

Today was once again very helpful and educational!