Day 26: Experience Like Whoa

Today was another of those days that make me realize just how amazing this internship and the people I get to work with are. They all want me to learn, want me to gain experience, and test my knowledge – all things that I need and love.

The day started with some rabbit surgeries. The AHT I was with was the same one that I talked about in this post, and he was grilling me like usual. The difference was that this time the questions were easier and some were the same as last time, so I was on top of it. I also explained the Bain circuit to a husbandry tech who was accepted to vet school and is leaving in a few weeks to start her own journey. Explaining everything made me realize how much I actually *have* learned, which is a pretty cool feeling. In school it usually feels like I’m cramming in the info, regurgitating it onto paper during the exam, and then promptly forgetting everything so I can cram for the next exam. It’s nice to know that some things are actually sticking! So back to the rabbits: he let me give them their preanesthetic drugs and place both catheters (both were a success, yay!), and I helped prep them for surgery (shaving, scrubbing w/betadine and alcohol). I’m getting a lot of rabbit experience this summer, which is great, because I don’t have much prior rabbit experience and it’s obviously important in lab animal medicine.

After the rabbits, I met up with a different AHT and the covered species veterinarian. We had a pig with a leg laceration that needed to be sutured. The vet asked if I’d ever given a pig an injection… not an awake one! So she laughed, handed me the syringe with attached butterfly catheter, and declared that it was a good time to start. So we went to the pig room and I entered the cage. The pig was a bit nervous, so I squatted down and gave her a few moments to adjust to me. Once she calmed, I very quickly placed the needle intravenously in the back of the ham. Upon insertion I immediately pushed the entire drug amount before she could move too quickly or kick at the needle. It went much more smoothly than I expected, with little reaction by the pig to the needle. Yay! That was her preanesthetic, she was then moved to the surgery site in a wheeled cage and I watched the surgery and gave any help that was needed.

Lunch was cut very short, and afterward I went around with the same AHT and veterinarian to care for other animals. We saw the chinchillas, gave them dust baths, and treated a sick one with Critical Care, which he ate right out of the syringe with no problem – cutest thing ever! And of course all of the chins got treats :) It was then off to the rabbits, two of which needed Critical Care because they weren’t eating well. I got to give it to one of them, and he was a dream – greedily ate it from the syringe. The vet was a bit annoyed (playfully) because apparently rabbits are notoriously hard to get Critical Care into. You usually have to force feed them and they fight it – not my guy!

Then I joined the mouse handling class toward the end just to get some practice. I’ve been wanting to practice retro-orbital bleeding but have been scared to do so. I practiced on a euthanized mouse a couple of weeks ago, and decided I should practice on the live training animals. I did it on two mice, and it went well! It’s not as scary as it seems, at all. And both of my mice woke up from anesthesia with no eye issues! Yay! :) I also practiced oral gavage some more, and that’s feeling more and more comfortable.

What a great day! And it’s only gonna get better! Today is mine and Scott’s three year wedding anniversary :) I still feel lucky daily to have won the husband lottery, and I look forward to many more years of laughter, love, and happiness! Tonight we’re going to dinner at Ombra. We’ve never been, but it’s apparently delicious and I can’t wait!

Then I took tomorrow off to go visit the veterinarian who first introduced me to lab animal medicine at Cedars-Sinai, then it’s off to San Diego and Comic-Con until Sunday! Woohoo!

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