I got to spend almost three days at the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association convention at the Minneapolis Hilton! It was a lot of fun. On Thursday, I wasn't planning to go at all, but one of my friends convinced me that whatever I'd learn there would be more interesting than what we were going to learn in Neurology (not a hard case to make). So, I went and learned about avian radiology and the avian gastrointestinal tract. Very very cool. I love the way they alter cat/dog medicine to make it work for exotics. For cats and dogs, you have two traditional x-ray views- either the animal is on its back or tummy, or it's on one of its sides. But for birds there's a third view called "bird in a box". You literally put the bird in a box, just small enough that it can't turn around, and take the x-ray horizontally, so you get a nice image of a perching bird and you don't have to anaesthatize the birdy.
Friday, I had to work the coat check for SCAVMA in the morning, but I did get to go to a really good talk about separation anxiety in dogs. Winnie exhibits almost all of the common signs of separation anxiety (pacing, panting, excessive vocalization, yawning, drooling). The only symptoms she's missing is the one that's worst for humans (destruction of property) and the one that's worst for dogs (self-mutilation). The speaker described how to teach a dog with separation anxiety how to be alone, so I've already started working on it with her. Winnie has always been crate-trained, and crated when we leave her alone in the house, primarily because of her housebreaking issues. However, dogs really shouldn't stay in crates more than 3 or 4 hours at a time, which is why I've opted to bring Win to school instead of leave her home. But since we can finally offically declare her housebroken (knock on wood), Chris and I Winnie-proofed my bedroom and fixed the doorknob so that the door can be firmly shut. The hope is that, eventually, Win can be left in my room during the day while I'm a school. We're going to have to work up to it slowly, but hopefully soon she'll be able to be like most stay-at-home doggies. I think the next few months will be filled with stuffed Kongs and thinking dog toys and plenty of exercise (once we can go outside without risk of death by windchill).
So anyway, that was Friday. Saturday morning I got to hear Dr. Steve Marsden, one of the most well-known holistic veterinary practitioners, talk about the use of Western herbs in veterinary medicine. I wish I could have stayed to hear his afternoon talk about Chinese herbs, but alas, studying for immunology had priority (what's that about not letting school get in the way of your education?). Anyway, he was a good speaker, and really blew the myth that there's no research to support herbal medicines right out of the water. Honestly, they've been around a lot longer than drug companies- why wouldn't there be any research about them? Since I don't know much about diseases yet, most of what he said was over my head... but, plants are cool. That's the gist of it.
I also got to see Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald at the lunch on Saturday, which was really cool. If you've never watched Emergency Vets on Animal Planet, you won't understand... But eek, he's a famous vet!! He also happens to do stand-up comedy (every week for the past 25 years). This one made me giggle:
A man goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor, you have to help me. I'm 88, my wife's 87. She's really vain and won't believe that she has a hearing problem. Can you make her a hearing aid?"
The doctor replies, "Yeah, I'll tell you how to do the Home Hearing Test. Start from 40 feet away, and ask her something. If she doesn't hear you, walk to 30 feet from her, and ask again. Then 20 feet, then 10- however close to have to get until she hears you. Tell me how close you had to get, and I'll make her a hearing aid."
The man thanks the doctor and goes home to do the Home Hearing Test. He starts from 40 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. He gets 30 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. 20 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. Finally, he gets 10 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" She replies, "For the fourth time, chicken!"
Anyway, I had fun schmoozing with exhibitors and talking to grown-up vets and pretending I knew what everyone was talking about. It will be interesting to see how much more I get out of these conventions the farther I get into school. For now, it is back to studying my -ologies (immunology tonight) like a good baby vet. Still 10 1/2 hours til the test- plenty of time!