Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still alive!

Apologies for the lack of vet-school-related blogging recently. We had our first round of exams of third year, and rather than starting gradually, they came in one big burst (three in-class exams and four take-home exams within 5 days!). Just like classes, the exams are making me feel a little bit more doctor-ish as they feel more clinical than previous years. You know- instead of "Name all the hormones produced in the adrenal glands", we get questions like, "How do you treat acute vomiting in the dog?". Much more practical!

We also have gotten our hands dirty in lab, learning how to repair a fractured tibia, reattach a tibial tuberosity avulsion, and perform an extracapsular repair to fix a rupture cranial cruciate ligament (or a torn ACL in human-medicine-ese). We also got to practice placing urinary catheters, performing a chest tap, and honing our skills on the all-important physical exam. Everything we get to practice makes me feel one step closer to being a doctor, and makes the hours that we spend in class feel a little less tedious and little more relevant.

As soon as our exams were over last week, I headed out to Reno for the AHVMA annual convention with four other classmates. We stayed at a house near Lake Tahoe (and saw SNOW- and a bear!). We never did get to see Lake Tahoe itself (except when we were flying over it on our way home), but our morning drive through the mountains was lovely. We didn't see much of Reno aside from the casino where the convention was being held, but since a classmate from California called Nevada "the ugliest state in the country', I don't feel like we missed much.

The conference itself was wonderful, and it was really fun to meet up with people that I met last year. The entire first day was devoted to pet foods (both commercial and homemade), which is a big interest of mine. It's always great to hear vets who don't uniformly decry the feeding of homemade and raw foods, but instead have an informed and intelligent discussion about the pros and cons of alternative diets. Dr. Susan Wynn (the animal herbal medicine guru) is now working on her nutrition residency, and she gave a great talk about formulating diets for three common diseases (kidney failure, obesity, and food allergies). All we ever hear in school is that these pets should be on prescription commercial diets- it's good to know that there are resources for those pet owners who would like to have more control over what their sick pets are eating.

The second day was a little more varied, and I attended a lot of herbal medicine talks. Traditional Chinese Medicine is still a hard concept to grasp for me, but I'm starting to appreciate how TCM practitioners approach cases and come up with diagnoses. There were a lot of talks about essential oils, and there was even a vendor for animal aromatherapy oils. The clinic I work at uses a lot of lavender to help keep animals calm, and I've seen essential oil diffusers in the teaching hospital at school, so it's definitely becoming a popular concept. And why not- it's evidence-based medicine!

As usual, everyone was super friendly and excited to see students at the conference. AHVMA is great for rekindling the feelings that we do great things for people and animals as vets. Sometimes it's easy to get depressed with all the cancers, kidney failures, neglect, and trauma that we deal with, so it's nice to be reminded about all the good we do too.

We got back from Reno on Monday, had another exam Tuesday morning, and life has gotten back to its normal swing since then. Chris and I are realizing that we haven't thought about wedding plans since we visited Valley Grove last month- yikes! Time to get cracking... maybe after all the election distractions are over?

Until then- Yes We Carve!


1 comment:

Gayle said...

Just ask the rabbits about their longevity and they will tell you that a high quality food, carrots, apples, bananas and the occasioanl Frosted Mini-wheat will prolong your life far beyond normal bunny expectations. babette still behaves like she is a baby bunny. Romping outside in the leaf piles also puts a spring in the hop.