Monthly Archives: June 2011

Day 14: Beginner’s Luck

The beginner’s luck I’m referring to is from Tuesday’s post, when I mentioned that I placed an IV catheter in a rabbit’s ear and it went nice and smoothly. Today we had another rabbit procedure, and the resident asked if I wanted to place the catheter again. Of course I did, but this time it didn’t go as well. I was able to hit the vein, but couldn’t get the catheter to feed for some reason. That happened twice, and then I let someone else step in. Oh well… hopefully I’ll get the chance to get more practice and will be fairly competent at it by the time summer is over!

After getting the rabbit procedure all set up and stable, the residents and I left and went to vet rounds. I talked about those last week, basically all of the veterinarians get together to discuss any cases, issues with PIs (principle investigator), etc. They’re always interesting, because I love hearing about the medicine cases and how they’re handled. Plus all of the regulatory stuff – which may not be as exciting but is just as important.

Then we were off to perform a rabbit necropsy, and this time one of the residents walked me through all of the anatomy and organ systems, and it was really interesting. :) I really love pathology and necropsy, which is good since lab animal medicine is so closely tied with those fields.

In the afternoon I just went with one of the AHTs to do rodent rounds in one of the facilities. It took from 1:30-3:30ish, because there were a lot of rooms to check and some mice that needed treatments. I always love rounds, even though the AHTs seem to always think I’ll find them boring. After that I came home, and now some relaxing before bed!


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Day 13: Meetings and Tumors

So this will be short because I had a looooong day (9 hours), I’m tired, and I don’t feel so hot.

This morning was all about meetings. First I sat in on a resident meeting with Dr. Bulldog and the residents and they mostly discussed the ACLAM board exam, because one of the residents just took it. They discussed questions that were on it and ways to study and prepare, since the other three residents will soon be taking it as well. It was interesting and totally scary. I feels like I’ll never be to the point where passing that exam is a possibility. It’s supposedly the board exam with the highest failure rate…

Then after a bit it was time for an all-staff meeting. That included everyone from husbandry to administration to the AHTs and the veterinarians. It began with an intro by the director, a short talk by one of the veterinarians, and then a guest speaker. She was a cancer survivor and her story was truly incredible. And she has animal research to thank for the drug that cured her. I definitely cried during her story, it was very touching.

I went to lunch at In-N-Out with some of the AHTs, followed by observing two tumor removal surgeries in rats. Surgery is always fun to watch, especially since I’ve never seen any kind of surgery in a rat. And tumors are fairly common, so it was very relevant. Both surgeries went very well and the rats recovered beautifully.

And now… to bed. I’d like this headache and vaugue feeling of nausea to go away before tomorrow. Up at 5am again and a rabbit surgery to watch/assist with!

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Day 12: Even More Awesome

Today was another great day :) I got watch another two rabbit procedures. For the first one, I got to place the IV catheter :D I’d never placed one in a rabbit before and so was a bit nervous, but it went nice and smoothly and I was thrilled to have the opportunity. For the second procedure I helped prep the rabbit and monitor anesthesia. I was also being grilled on anesthesia and even though I couldn’t answer every question perfectly, I loved it and I need that reinforcement so that I don’t forget everything over the summer!

After all of the fun with rabbits, I went with one of the AHTs to check out a couple of her rooms. I helped her complete a physical on a sick rat and otherwise just watched all of the super adorable babies. <3 baby rats. Then it was lunch time. After lunch I helped with the mouse handling class, that I talked about in a previous post. This time I helped teach the class and help the students with their techniques. I really like teaching and it was a lot of fun. At the end of class I got to try oral gavage in a mouse. I was nervous because it scares me a bit – mice are so small and delicate! But a lot of instruction and a little practice, I was successful! Hopefully I can continue to be involved in subsequent mouse and rat classes to hone my own techniques and also get more experience teaching and talking in front of people.

After the mouse class I went home, extremely satisfied with how my day went. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this internship, since it’s not a formal program. But I’ve only been there 2.5 weeks, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I’m learning and how much experience I’m gaining.

Then tonight was also busy – spin class from 6-7pm and then Scott and I met up with some of my vet school friends who are in Los Angeles for dinner. Yay sushi! It was, as always, delicious. But now I’m tired and have a full belly, and bed is calling my name…

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Day 11: Total Win

This is gonna be short and sweet because I don’t have a lot of time, but today was the best day yet! First I got to observe a rabbit procedure complete with femoral artery catheterization and fluoroscopy (pretty much my favrorite thing ever!) that took most of the morning from getting the rabbit, anesthetizing, prepping for surgery, and the procedure. Then it was lunch at Rubio’s (best fish tacos EVER) with a few of the AHTs. That was followed by a rat handling class, where I got to pet and snuggle adorable rats and learn restraint, handling, and IP and tail vein injections. Yay! Then I was pulled away just as that was done to witness and help with a rabbit necropsy, including brain extraction! Call me weird, but I love brains! By then it was 4pm, I got there at 7am, and it was time to go home. The day was very busy and really amazing.

I came home and relaxed a bit before heading off to my spinning gym for class. Man, it kicked my ass but it was GREAT! I really enjoy spinning, and even though I leave every class totally wiped and pouring sweat, I look forward to the next class. I came home and while I showered my wonderful husband made an amazing dinner of pork loin medallions and a salad of greens and snap peas. I am SO glad that one of us is a good cook – dinner was delicious!

Man, what a great day :) I will sleep well tonight!

P.S. – During quizzing from one of the residents (who was amazing all day – answering all of my questions about the procedure as well as vet school, senior year rotations, and residencies), I knew that ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, xylazine is an alpha-2 agonist, and that the normal range for ETCO2 is 35-45 mmHg. I’m actually learning something in vet school – who knew?!

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Day 10: Short Day and Short Vacation

Today I went with yet another AHT on her rounds. A lot of her responsibilities are within the breeding colonies, so I got to see lots of baby mice, which is always a plus. :) She also allowed me to do some treatments and physical exams, which was really cool. There was a mouse that needed some eye ointment and a SQ shot of pain meds, and then I did physicals on one with rectal prolapse (extremely mild, thank goodness), one with advancing kidney disease (due to age), and one with dystocia. It was great because I got to practice handling and restraint and learned more about different clinical cases. Then I went with the AHT from yesterday and watched her do 32 tail vein injections. It sounds boring, but the PI was there and I got to talk to him about his research, which was really interesting.

After I ate lunch it was about 1:30pm, and I asked Dr. Bulldog if I could leave early, which he had no problem with. Then I got home as quickly as possible (which wasn’t as fast as planned, because a fugitive on the run caused a huge portion of Beverly Glen to be closed down, forcing me to backtrack – ugh!) and packed, because Scott and I are headed down to San Diego tonight! It will be a really short trip, since we’ll get in latish tonight and will have to leave during the day Sunday. But it’ll be nice to spend some time with his dad and sister and just get away for a bit. :)

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Day 9: Yaaaaaawn

So today I reluctantly woke up at 4am. I had to be at work at 6am because I was going with the AHT who takes care of the mice in the cleanest barrier facility. Basically, the facility where all of the SCID mice are kept – because the mice in there have compromised immune systems, you cannot enter those rooms if you have entered any others (with non-SCID mice). Because you may pick up a seemingly harmless bacteria that does not affect mice with competent immune systems, but will kill these sensitive mice. Well she goes over to that facility around 6am, so I had to be there in order to go over and see that facility. The other thing about it is that before you actually enter the corridor for the rooms with the SCID mice, you have to put on a tyvek suit! As well as autoclaved masks, hair shields, shoe covers, and gloves (the latter four are for ALL facilities, but with a disposable gown instead of the tyvek suit). So we got all ready, and headed in. Th main reason I was going with her – besides to see the facility – was because she had to give medication via oral gavage to about 16 mice, and I had never even heard of that procedure. I had no idea that you could orally gavage a mouse! But I watched with fascination as she adeptly fed them the tiny polyurethane tubing and administered the medication. The mice took it very well, I was surprised. Then we were done, and I was able to (finally!) take off the incredibly hot tyvek suit, haha.

We got back just in time for the weekly veterinary rounds meeting, where all of the vets sit down together and discuss difficult/interesting cases, facility management, herd health, and anything else that needs discussing. I, of course, loved it. Sitting in there with so many people that I admire and want to be, listening to them talk about and discuss all of the veterinary issues… it made me so excited for my future. :)

That afternoon I watched an AHT give some tail vein injections in mice, but ended up leaving pretty early since I got there so early. At 6 I went to my second spinning class, and got my ass handed to me again! It’s great though, because that’s what I need. And I still can’t figure out why, but for some reason I love spinning :)

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Day 8: Hands-on Experience FTW

First of all – new theme!! I’m still not sure if this is the perfect one, but I browsed so many and I’m officially tired of looking through them and this one is good enough for now, haha.

Today had a little bit of everything, and it may have been my best day so far. In the morning I went with another AHT on rounds, which is pretty great in general, because I like seeing the kind of health issues that come up and how they’re managed. For me that’s really interesting. But today was the first time I was able to get hands on and really involved. There were some mice that were a bit sick and needed SQ (subcutaenous) fluids, and the AHT asked if I wanted to give them. I was pretty nervous, since the only time I’d given SQ fluids to a mouse was in the mouse handling class. I let her know that but was willing to give it a try. And I ended up giving fluids to¬† 5 mice! They all went smoothly without me getting bit, haha! It seems like such a simple task, but I was proud of myself and thrilled to do it! I also trimmed some teeth on a mouse with malocclusion, which was a bit daunting but not as hard as I thought it would be and another thing I’d never done before but was really happy to do it. The remainder of the rounds were uneventful but interesting. After rounds there wasn’t a whole lot going on, so the AHT I was with took me to see the primates. I was blown away by their facilities. Some of them are in indoor/outdoor cages, so they can get sunlight if they want or hang in the shade. The cages were enormous, with tons of enrichment and toys. The ones housed indoors were also in huge cages, the largest ones I’ve ever seen for indoor housed primates. And they were housed in couples, with enrichment and toys. They don’t have very many primates, but the ones they do have are happy and well taken care of, and are only involved in behavioral studies. It’s great to see different facilities and how the primates are treated and taken care of.

After lunch, I went to see Dr. Bulldog to see if there was anything he had in mind. The AHTs spent most afternoons on paperwork, updating cases in the internal database, answering e-mails, etc. He had some slides to read for an investigator and said I could come along. But first, he had to do two rat necropsies. So I happily went with him. Once we got to pathology, he quickly necropsied the first rat, discovering the cause of death pretty quickly. He then went to meet with the investigator and left me with the lab tech to finish that necropsy and perform the second. So I helped the technician, recording weights of organs and placing tissue samples in formalin. Everything is saved, so that they can take a look at every single organ and determine exactly what happened to this rat in order to help it not happen to any other rats. For the second necropsy, I got to start it but due to time constraints the technician collected all of the organs. I still need some training and a lot of guidance, and it was getting late in the day. He promised me though that I would get the opportunity to perform necropsies at some point during the summer. I look forward to that! By the time we were done with the necropsies, Dr. Bulldog was done with the slides and we finished up in pathology by dropping some blood samples off at the clinical path lab. By then it was the end of the day, and I went home, happy to have had some actual hands-on experience treating mice. :)

And now I’m headed to bed nice and early, since I have to wake up at 4am (!!!) to be at work at 6am!

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