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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