Sunday, August 30, 2009


I guess I haven' t posted for a few days so I should probably put up the answer to the Merck Monday question: The answer is Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus! This is a disease process that large breed dogs get sometimes when their stomach fills up with air and twists on its own axis. By doing so, it also cuts off its own blood supply and then parts of the stomach and spleen (the spleen may rotate out of position as well) can start to die off! The gas filled stomach rotated on its axis with displacement of the outflow tract (pylorus) is what makes the characteristic bloated and compartmentalized stomach appearance on radiographs. As you can imagaine, this is a pretty serious condition that usually requires surgery to de-rotate (is that a word?) the stomach and remove any parts of it that might have died off.

So the radiolgy exam went as well as could be expected, there were a few radiographs that got me the "Seriously, that's your answer?!?!" face from the professor, but overall I think it went all right.

Since then, I have rotated to Food Animal Medicine, which is the part of the teaching hospital that deals with cows, sheep, pigs, goats, alpacas and llamas, etc. So far, we've had quite a few cases which is good for us students! :)

My favorite thing by far three days into the rotation has been calf pulling... we've had 2 pulls so far, both of which I was able to help out with. Ending up with a live calf and a healthy mama makes me feel good, and I love watching mama cows lick their babies clean :) Corny, I know, but soooo cute :)

One tip I learned the hard way about calf pulling for anyone who may have to pull a calf in the future is don't sit or stand directly behind the mom for awhile after you get the calf out, because there's a good chance she may try to expel the rest of her placenta and fetal fluids from her uterus. This doesn't occur in a slow trickle either, it's more like an explosion of nasty gooey sticky membranes and what seems like gallons yellowy-red fluid. I happened to be tube-feeding her calf directly behind her, so there was no chance for escape! The only good thing was that my face was turned to the calf, and so I only got this junk all down my side and in my hair, and not in my mouth! Gotta think on the bright side. The fluid itself was pretty warm, so I guess it might of felt good if it had been 20 degrees in some farmer's field at midnight. That being said, we were in the nice air-conditioned teaching hospital, so really it just felt pretty darn narsty.

Hope you all are doing well, see ya later!


Monday, August 24, 2009

This week's Merck Monday question is in honor of my radiology rotation coming to it's inevitable end. Tommorow we finish up our rotation with the traditional ORAL exam (YIKES!). We are given 10 radiographs to figure out the night before, and then we have to explain what is wrong with each radiograph (one-on-one!) to the infamous Dr. Lattimer. Dr. L is famous for falling asleep while you're explaining your radiographs to him, and/or sighing loudly and discontentedly whenever one says anything incorrect about a radiograph. Kinda nerve-racking!

SO, in honor of all that, we'll have a radiograph for today's question:

It is a hot sunny afternoon in your clinic in Dell, Indiana, when one of your clients brings in her German Shephard, Klaus. Apparently, her dog Klaus was catching a frisbee when he immediately went down. Klaus is breathing very hard and fast, has pale mucous membranes, and his stomach feels very distended on abdominal palpation. You take a right lateral radiograph, and immediately have your diagnosis...what is wrong with Klaus's stomach?

A. Gastric Bloat
B. Gastric Dilitation and Volvulus
C. Gastric Adenocarcinoma
D. Obstructed Pylorus

Good luck, remember this dog is about to die, so don't be wrong! (haha juuuuuuust kidding!!)But, that is a slight hint, this is a pretty serious condition!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yay colostrum and wal mart antics

Good job to everybody who participated in Merck Monday this week!! You are all right!

The correct answer to the question was D. Colostrum.

First of all, welcome back undergraduates!! Glad to see that jam-packed parking lot at Wal-Mart again!
Seriously though, I am glad to see them back. It really made me smile in Wally World when I heard one guy exclaim, "WOW! Now I really know what it's like for parents to go grocery shopping!" and his buddy said, "What are we gonna buy?". The response, of course, was "Whatver's cheapest!"

:) :) :)
What I wouldn't give to be a freshman in college again!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gator and Merck Monday

Last week, I introduced my cat, now it is Gator's turn. Gator came from one of my classmates who lives out in the country. She had a pregnant poochie show up on her property and produce 5 puppies! She wanted them all to go to good homes so I got Gator, six months later. From what she tells me, he is half-beagle, half-blue tick coonhound. I named him Gator for 3 reasons:
1. I LOVE blue gatorade
2. I like alligators
3. My grandma used to drive one of those 5-wheel John Deere gator things.
I think beagles (and beagle mixes) get a bad rap for being dumb, hard to train, and howling alot. I think they're actually difficult to train because they're so darn hard-headed (at least Gator is!) . To me, he seems very intelligent, he picks up words very quickly, it's just that it's usually up to his mood whether or not he decides to listen! He knows what I want him to do when I say"upstairs" and "downstairs" and he's getting to the point where if I say "go get Ducky", he'll go pick his stuffed duck out of a pile of toys and bring it back to me!
My favorite thing about Gator is that he's a very emotional dog (snicker...even I know that sounds goofy)...but seriously! When he's happy, his whole little face lights up, and his ears perk up! All I have to do is get out the jar of peanut butter and he's golden! However, when he's sad, it's heart breaking :( His eyes look down at the ground, and his tail stops wagging :(
Something tells me he knows I'm a sucker for the sad face, though. It never lasts long.

So here is today's question of the week. I decided this week would be a large animal topic since last week was small animal.

You are called to a small dairy goat farm outside of Feta, Montana. As you examine their goats, you notice swollen carpi (knees) and hard, firm udders on the nanny goats, and that one farmer's one-week old baby goats doesn't seem to be able to walk or stand. A few other of the nanny goats are coughing. Thinking back to the knowledge you gained while in food animal medicine, you realize that the goats may likely have Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus
What is the most common transmission route for this virus?

A. Fecal-oral
B. Trans-placental (ie mom passes to baby while in the womb).
C. Virus passes through respiratory secretions
D. Virus contaminated colustrum of nanny goats, which the babies ingested.

Remember, this is just for fun. Unfortunately, this is not the Prime Time Return of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, so all you win is public congrats (and bragging rights, of course ;)

Good luck, and have a good night!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Progression of A Sunburn

My family and I recently went on a float trip on the Meramac river, which was super fun. We floated all day down the river and then at the end hiked up into a super, super cold spring (BRRRRRRRRR), and jumped off a rope swing. The rope swing was pretty hard for me, because I'm slightly afraid of heights, but I still did it, mainly just to prove I could. The actual swing part turned out to be pretty fun, but balancing in the tree trying to catch the rope was not fun at all. Anyway, all together I think we had a great time on the float trip. Unfortunately, float trips always come with some unfortunate consequences (hint: whether I use sunscreen or not). Here is a picture of me pre-float trip:

Here's what I looked like 6-hours post float trip:

And here are a couple pictures of what I look like 1 week post float trip (today):


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I thought I'd introduce my furry four-legged family members tonight. Let me start by introducing Marley, my cat, by showing you what I foudn waiting for me in the kitchen when I came home from work this afternoon:

An entire roll of toilet paper, shredded to bits all over the kitchen floor. I love Marley to death, but this wasn't her proudest moment. I've had Marley since she was just 2 weeks old. My classmates and I bottle fed her from the day she was born, because she was born at a spay-neuter clinic. Her mother was being spayed, and the pregnancy was so far along that the kittens (there were 3!) were breathing by the time they got them out of the uterus. Basically, the surgery ended up being a pseudo-c-section, because the students couldn't put the kittens down. They rubbed them dry, and took them back to Columbia. The first time I met Marley was when all three kittens sat through an exam with us in their little kennel (it was finals week). At this point, they were small enough to fit in the palm of your hand! I remeber I could hear their tiny little meows throughout the exam, but I didn't mind ;)
Marley has developed into a very much a 1-person cat. She likes me well enough, but anyone else had better watch their back, or they're likely to get attacked! Oh well.
By the way, the answer to the Merck Monday question was choice D, Saddle Thrombus! Good job to ieatblueflamingo, whoever the heck you are, and thanks everybody else for playing!
A saddle thrombus is a clot that lodges itself between the bifurcation of the arteries that feed blood to the back legs. That explains why the back legs feel cold, because there is compromised blood flow to them.

Have a good night, everyone!
:) Rachel

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dating in the Dark

Hello again!
Today I've decided to make my post about this goofy show that I've been watching recently, called "Dating in the Dark" . On the show, 6 participants (3 men, 3 women) are placed in a pitch black room and allowed to "get to know each other" without ever seeing each other in the daylight. After the initial get to know everybody group date session is over, each individual picks a person that they feel they got along with especially well to go on a single date with in the dark room. They can pick more than one person and go on multiple dates if they like. Usually what happens is they end up finding somebody they feel they have a "connection" with and they'll go on more than one date with that person.
At the end of the show, each person picks one person that they would like to see revealed in the light before they decide whether or not they're going to continue seeing that person at the end of the show. They only get to see that person for like 2 seconds total, then the lights are out again. They also do not see each other while they are being revealed, so they can't see each others facial expressions when they see who they've been dating the whole time. Sometimes, their expressions are pretty comical!
Being as this is a reality TV show, I'm pretty sure it's just a big set up of wanna-be Hollywood actors and actresses, but it does kinda make you think about dating in general! When you remove the superficial aspect of what people look like, all the participants have to go on is whether or not they like each other's actual personality, and then in the end, you can see how superficial a person is or is not based on what they decide after their "date" is revealed in the light. Sometimes it works out surprisingly well and the "hot guy" ends up going out with the goofy looking glasses wearing girl, but definitely not always! Last night, for example, a girl dumped a guy that she felt she had gotten along really well with because he was too short!
I think that the show is alot like dating in a bar's dark in there, your senses are likely somewhat impaired, and you're taking your pick from whoever in the world just happened to show up that night! Anyway, even though it's most likely a set-up (it's just waaaaaaaaay to cliche, for example, all the self-proclaimed crazy red-heads, blonde surfer girls, and good little catholic girl brunettes) I still get a kick out of watching it. It's on ABC monday nights if you feel like checking it out too!! Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hey Everyone! I have officially decided to start my own blog. I have decided to do this because things in my life are actually getting to a point where they might be interesting to read guarantees, though! Anyway, let me introduce myself.
If you don't already know me, my name is Rachel. I am from a small town in northeastern, Missouri, which I thought was a pretty good place to grow up actually.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a veterinarian. I remember the first time I saw a spay done on a dog...all I could think was, "man, I wanna do that!" Here's why I consider myself a very lucky person...10 years later, I'm actually in my senior year of vet school! How many people do you know that for one thing, actually know what they want to do with their lives, and for another thing, actually get to do it? In my opinion, it doesn't get much luckier than that, and I'm grateful every day to be one of the few...even if I may complain every now and then ;)
I guess it should be no surprise then that this blog may be saturated with veterinary stuff...starting with my own spin on my good friend Abbie's ( Monday theme called "Menu Monday". I like the idea of having activities on blogs, so my version of this is going to be called "Merck Monday". The Merck Veterinary Manual ( ) is sort of like the veterinary Bible. It may not be the most complicated or in depth of all veterinary related text books, but it, in my opinion encompasses the most species, and includes the most need-to-know basic info for veterinarians. In light of this, and the fact that my classmates and I are going to be taking the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Exam) in less than 6 months, I've decided to post a vet-trivia question every monday. You can all vote on it then, if you like, and I'll post the answers on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Here is the first question:

A 10-year old, male castrated tabby cat comes into your clinic, in Holiday, Indiana, crying in pain. His owner reports that "Garfield" initially was seen straining to urinate in the litterbox while yowling mournfully, and has just had an episode of acute collapse in his hind limbs. His hind limbs feel cold and he doesn't seem to be able to put any weight on them.

What is the most likely differential?

A. Urinary Tract Infection
B. Idiopathic Cystitis
C. Obstructive Urolithiasis
D. Aortic Thromboembolism (Saddle Thrombus)

Good luck, remember this is just for fun (and secretly to help me study for boards just a little bit...;)
Hope you all have a great night,