*NEW Vet Life Blog* Life as an Ambo Vet

The new Vet Life blog picks up after I completed a year long equine internship, and landed a job as an associate veterinarian at an equine-exclusive ambulatory practice.

Life as an Ambo Vet follows my first year in private practice, building a collection of stories, lessons, reflections and more.

#veterinarian #vet #vetmed #vetlife #equine #horse #equinevet #ambulatory #mobilevet #veterinarypractice #dayinthelife #doctor #ambovet

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Life after Vet School

This final entry is a bit belated, as I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging. With the conclusion of the 4th year of Vet School, I decided to stay on the blog bandwagon. The new blog will chronicle life after vet school, focusing on experiences, lessons and thoughts stemming from my first year of life as a veterinarian.

I recently accepted an internship position at an equine exclusive medical and surgical center. As I enter the ranks as an intern, I’ll be blogging as time allows. I’m stoked about starting this new chapter in my life. Learning curve, here I come!

Thanks to all for reading!

For those who want to check out the new blog, it’s  The Equine Intern.

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#equineintern #vetintern #veterinarymedicine #vetmed #vetinternship

Chupacabras, bordellos and other things to think about

I compiled a few particularly interesting scribbles from the four pocket notebooks I filled while working as a small animal assistant at a busy two doctor practice. While mostly communication logs, exam notes, check-lists and reminders, there was an occasional scribble that caught my attention.

Not to poke fun at clients, or cast a negative shadow on techs, not to point fingers….but just to share. Some made me chuckle, and others brought about a bit more reflection on the underlying issue at hand.


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“Vaccination appointment – client requests bordello vaccine.”

“Wellness exam – 7 year old NM lab. Wellness bloodwork recommended to establish baseline and assess organ function. Client asked ‘if something was wrong with the orgasm, wouldn’t there be signs?’”  More awkward than being caught off-guard, was the moment the client realized what they said.

“3 year old SP cockerspaniel. Strange mass in gluteal region. Diagnosed cutarebra and informed client. When client asked ‘tell me more about this chupacabra,’ Dr explained a chupacabra is a mythical blood-sucking beast from South America. Owner interrupts, how ithis chupracabra ended up to Oregon.’

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“Boarding facility requests bordello records for patient.”

“Client requests second distemper vaccine (previous distemper given three months prior), because the first one didn’t work. Patient still misbehaving at home.’

“Euthansia of 3 yr old emaciated intact male, hx of seizures, ADR. Financial concerns, diagnostics and treatment not  an option.. Client hostile and goes to get purse from car. Doesn’t return Client calls siix hours later to ask if patient made it to heaven. Tech says i don’t know but he made it to the cooler just fine.”

“Client brings “Bug” found on family dog. Diagnosed human louse,”

“5 month old F Kitten- wellness exam and schedule spay. Client declines spay, requests neuter because the surgery is less expensive.”

“Anonymous caller asks if people are cremated at the same facilities as animals. Would cremation facility take an enimal’s remains that was buried 3 years ago. If the remains are submitted in plastic bin, will the cremation facility look inside the bin? Can a request be made to not have the bin opened?”

Nostalgic notes and stories from the last 4 years

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Wrapping up my life as veterinary student inevitably meant I would have to face the formidable accumulation of veterinary school “stuff.” I took to sorting mountains of binders, notebooks, papers, posters, publications, illustrations and whatever else had accumulated in my den over the past four years. Sorting, then packing, saying goodbyes, tying up loose ends…all part of the moving out and moving on process.

And while paging through case logs, rotation notebooks and externship journals, I might as well have been flipping back pages in time. While most notes are typical medicine notes (TPRs, PE, differential diagnoses lists for cases and treatment protocols..), I also relived some long-forgotten memories of the past four years.

Some entries were random, vague, disorganized, occasionally only a single word was written on the notepad, underlined for emphasis and punctuated repetitively…obviously important to never forget things like “prednisolone” or “CRYO.” But amidst cryptic scribblings and drawings resembling hidden treasure chest maps (more likely illustrating aberrant migration of a parasite) I found some nostalgic gems. Hopefully I can find time in the very busy upcoming weeks to get five or six of my favorite entries posted.


The DIY Client

I’m going to call him Mr. DIY, though I don’t mean that in a condescending or disrespectful way. He is the client you are happy to see on the schedule. Mr. DIY is as personable and friendly as they come. He adopted his Australian cattle dog mix, Heeler, from the local shelter five years prior. He showed up to appointments in his work truck, Heeler riding shotgun. As a home-renovation contractor, Mr. DIY swore to me that he didn’t take a job if he couldn’t take his dog.

I met Heeler the same day that Mr. DIY happened to earn his nickname. In the middle of coaxing Heeler onto the scale, another client (soaking wet from the waist down) came rushing up to let me know that there was “water exploding from the toilet.” I headed toward the bathroom, noticing the evidence of the exploding toilet that was streaming down our hallway and pooling in our treatment ward. Mr. DIY didn’t hesitate and he had the water shut off before I got to the bathroom. He gave the toilet an exam of his own, and gave our one-toilet hospital the bad news. For reasons we are all aware, some things should not be flushed down the toilet…and consequently, our shut off valve in the pipe behind the toilet had broken and that had lead to the water “explosion” or geyser. Having 14 employees, a full schedule and no toilet caused some distress amongst our staff.

Mr. DIY said nothing as he paid the bill and loaded Heeler into his work truck. 20 minutes later, Mr. DIY returned and promptly replaced the broken plumbing. He had the toilet up and running, refused payment and became the hospital handyman hero instantly.

So, when Heeler appeared on our schedule a couple months later, I was surprised to find that the presenting complaint was for “a tick more stubborn than my ex-wife.” Mr. DIY had removed many a tick from dogs and people during the 20 years that he spent as a volunteer maintaining hiking trails in parks and wildernesses. In the exam room, I was starting to feel embarrassed when I couldn’t locate the tick. My. DIY kept assuring me I couldn’t miss it, especially because this tick became epically larger after each removal attempt.

Mr. DIY explained how he usually plucks the tick out, no complications. Occasionally, he has to light a match to coax the ticks. But after trying many different tactics per day for several days, even using the end of his cigarette failed. And every time Mr. DIY attempted, Heeler would whine or cry in pain. The tick only grew, and it looked infected according to the concerned owner.

I combed over Heeler methodically with my hands. No tick. Mr. DIY enthusiastically rolled Heeler onto his back and immediately pointed out the tick.

I didn’t say anything because I was surprised and triple checking my mental assessment. I was certain that I was not looking at an engorged black tick, but a swollen, inflamed black nipple. I looked at Mr. DIY at about the time he noticed something else. He pointed caudally a couple inches and said “Shit, there’s another one right there!”

Another nipple. I did not laugh, purely because I was envisioning Mr. DIY’s three-day history of his failed attempts to remove the tick, and how Heeler just whined and fussed.

Careful on my approach, I said it didn’t appear to be a tick (or two), but rather Heeler’s nipples. Mr. DIY laughed at what I presume he thought was a joke, “Heeler’s a boy.”
I was caught between an awkward and more awkward. Instead of stating any more facts, I said nothing as Mr. DIY face contemplated. I could tell the exact moment when we were both on the same page. Guilt and embarrassment followed as Mr. DIY was probably rewinding his memory to replay the last three days…while I was reminded by the award dinner scene from the film, Meet the Fockers…

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What we’ve all been waiting for

The first vet school reality TV show airs tomorrow. Tomorrow, September 19th at 10/9c. I surely wasn’t expecting to make this sort of discovery when reading a NEWStat e-mail from AAHA. How I hadn’t this exhilarating news until now…not sure. But, I may not be the only one so I’m spreading this gem of news with the blog community.

I think I’m still in shock that this reality show exists (they already completed the first season of filming). Since first year, my classmates and I have been swapping pitches for a vet school reality show. Nat Geo made it happen.

Cornell, the “chosen one” amongst vet schools, is no doubt feeling a world of pressure having been selected to represent such an integral peice of the Veterinary world. Reflecting on my own vet school experiences, I cannot imagine a filming crew being right along side the whole way. Not sure if Nat Geo has one planned, but the only thing I’d want to watch more than the reality show itself, is the behind-the-scenes “making of” footage.

The TV show follows 1st and 4th year students throughout the day-to-day life of veterinary school and is divided amongst six episodes. Per Nat Geo’s blog, all six episodes will be available for binge-watching pleasure on the following platforms:

Nat Geo TV app
Hulu
iTunes
Amazon

And binge-watch, I will. My emotions are currently rampant. While absolutely exhilarated by this TV shows creation, I am also nervous for our community. I can only hope that Nat Geo has chosen to assemble footage that most accurately captures the heart of our profession and that there’s no alterior motive spins. Having been alerted to the social decline of the Veterinary profession by clinicians and professors, I hope this may adjust the public’s view of our field.

According to my professors and clinicans, studies done every year pool the attitudes of the public toward particular professions…and attitudes about veterinarians have been going downhill. We were told that for over 50 years, the veterinarian was consistently rated by the general public to be one of the top ten esteemed professions in the United States. We lost our rank in the top 10 a long time ago. It’s up to us to change that, and publicizing the intimate world of veterinary medicine might be our saving grace. Or, with the wrong spin, this might hurt us more now than ever.

Regardless, I can’t wait until tomorrow night’s vet school TV show binge-session.

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