Day 15: Rabbits, Chinchillas, and Pigs, Oh My!

Today was great! I got some hands on experience with animals I haven’t previously (I’ve never even TOUCHED a chinchilla before!). First up was another rabbit procedure. There were some bumps in the beginning – ketamine + xylazine should equal a knocked out bunny, but he woke up just after intubation and started chewing the tube – we had to rush him into the surgery suite and hook him up to isoflurane before he was done being prepped – but things went pretty smoothly after that. From there I left with one of the AHTs to help with pig physical exams. I didn’t do a whole lot – just temperature and heart rate – but it was still a great learning experience because it takes finesse to get a young pig to trust you enough to get close and take their temp and heart rate. And I need the experience, because while I’ve done physical exams of swine in the past, they were always sedated. Then the AHTs gave the injections (vaccines), which is a particularly special skill in awake pigs, haha. I was definitely impressed.

There was some down time after helping with the pigs, but before long one of the residents asked if I wanted to help with a chinchilla – yes please! One of them recently underwent surgery and seemed to be having eye issues afterward. She was squinting, there was some discharge, and she was lethargic. So I held her while the doctor performed a fluorescein eye stain to check for corneal ulcers. Happily, her eyes were perfectly clear with no ulcers, so the doctor applied an antibiotic eye ointment and she’ll continue to be under close observation to assess response to treatment. So again, I didn’t do a whole lot myself, but I thrilled to be involved in the process and to restrain the chinchilla. :) After the chinchilla we went back to the rabbit procedure just to check on everything and make sure it was going smoothly (a technician stays with the rabbit the entire time to monitor anesthesia, but the doctors like to pop in from time to time to check in).

After that it was way past lunch time, so I ate my lunch and then… went home!! Dr. Bulldog wasn’t in today, and pretty much everyone left early for the holiday weekend. I could’ve stayed and watched a rabbit necropsy, but since I’ve seen two so far and there will probably be more over the next couple of months, I decided to leave instead and start my three day weekend early. :)

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