I GRADUATED

Dr Roberts!!!

5 years of exams, stress, tears, blood, tantrums, laughs, smiles, frowns and memories have lead me to graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine. I still can’t believe I have achieved a dream I originally thought was so far out of reach. A massive thank you to my family and friends for getting me through vet school. I am so excited for my future ahead in the veterinary medical profession!

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Final year was the most difficult of all. The last exam block would have easily been the most stressful. We had 5 oral exams for each specialty/species of animals. The exams were case based and could test us on anything we had learnt in the veterinary degree. I remember being so nervous and anxious before my surgery oral exam I almost fainted when the examiner finally came and got me from the waiting room. I came out of all of them completely drained, but had to keep studying as there was another one the next day. The structure of 5th year was great for learning. Maybe not so great for my bank account or stress levels. What this year taught me is that I 100% love my career.

I started studying veterinary medicine for the animals

– but god I have loved the humans

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Africa week 3

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What a week! We have been extremely busy with darting impala, nyala, sable, buffalo, roan and wildebeest to relocated to other game reserves. The days have been extremely long and exhausting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! We did a hind foot amputation on a black impala which had a penetrating stick injury, which now had turned both claws necrotic and had compromised blood supply. The procedure went as well as it could have in this situation. Impala are extremely sensitive to anaesthetics and can drop dead at any moment. Lucky for us the impala woke up and now, 1 week later, is starting to move around easier and the other back leg has started to compensate. You may be asking, why the hell would you do an amputation on an impala? The fact that the animal is worth $400 000 is why. I know. I’m guessing the farmer would like to get some offspring out of this impalas rare and valuable genetics. One day we saw a client with buffalo that needed their ear tags taken out, sounded like a bit of a mission for such a short and uneventful procedure. Fortunately for me, the client also had kitties! I’m talking lions, leopards, hyenas, tigers and JAGUARS! They seemed friendly enough, purring and being able to pat them through the fence, although I’m not game enough to jump in to cuddle them (especially after what the black leopard cubs did to me!). It was pretty awesome being so close to them and touch them through the wire though!! We jumped back into the helicopter this week as well, darting a roan bull. Even cooler, was getting to see a baby roan calf that had been born literally just before we arrived. It still had its slippers on (hadn’t walked yet)! It was so ugly it was cute.

Next week is my last week in Africa before flying home. I’m extremely sad that I have to leave! I can’t believe a month has gone so quickly! I’m already planning my return and may have to stay longer next time 😛 This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my degree and early career and it really cements in my mind why I chose this field of medicine. Final year has been exhausting but choosing to come to Africa for my advanced study/speciality has been the best decision I have made. I know my mum and dad are reading this, and I would really like to thank them for supporting me through these 5 years and allowing me get the best out of it.

Once again, if you love what you see and want to experience it for yourself, check out http://wildlifevetadventures.org – you will have the best time, make new friends, memories and best of all, work with amazing wildlife 🙂 

Big Cats!

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Yesterday we got the opportunity to go and check out some cute and cuddly cubs.. HA cuddly! What a lie! They were vicious little buggers! We were too busy defending ourselves to properly look at them – I guess they are okay! Me on the other hand… I came out with some serious battle wounds! Puncture wounds and scratches head to toe! Lucky i’m working with some pretty awesome vets that can drain any abscesses if they form -_- Luckily I just got my 3 rabies shots so my titre levels are high, the kitties also havnt been exposed so thats always a plus right?

Africa Update

Hello again from Africa! 

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The weekend was full of fun and adventures! We travelled to Kruger Nation Park! It is huge, almost 200 million hectares! We drove around and saw most of the african wildlife, heaps of birds, hundreds of elephants and giraffes (yay! my two favourites!), zebra, hippos (so fat and so cute!), nyala, sable, impala, waterbuck, wildebeest and heaps more. We were pretty disappointed to have not seen any of the big cats though 😦 It was an amazing weekend making some great memories with my new friends! And did I mention the sunsets!

The town I am located at is nice too, the animals here are really tame and so cute! These are our nyala friends! ADORABLE!!

Rhino Vet

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WOW, what a day in Africa!

Today we darted 6 rhino’s from a helicopter! 2 Bulls, 2 cows and 2 calves. For each rhino we had to dart them with a tranquilliser, sedative and opioid; take blood and a small horn biopsy for DNA testing and insert microchips into each of their horns and also subcutaneously behind their ear. We then moved them into crates that were loaded onto a truck and reversed their anaesthetics and gave them a long lasting sedative.

Poaching of rhino’s is a huge problem, hence why we had to dart these beautiful animals today. Sadly, 4 rhino’s lost their lives to poaching at this farm only 3 weeks ago. The owner of the farm decided it would be best to sell his animals to a farm that has higher security in order to save his remanding rhinos lives.

Working as a vet in Africa has gone above and beyond all expectations I had! 

AFRICA!

I have jetted to Africa to work as a wildlife vet for the next month!

I am still pinching myself. Although the flight here wasn’t too desirable (ew 14hr stuck in a squishy seat next to a lady who has stolen any spare room) my time here has been amazing. It’s only day 3 and I have already been so fortunate to have worked with elephants, rhino, wildebeest, nyala, sable and buffalo. I have also been able to get up close and personal to giraffe and zebra too 😀 We have darted from a helicopter, pregnancy ultrasound scanned, done hundreds of injections and been treated to cuddles with beautiful elephants and tiger cubs. We are currently in a country wide shortage of tranquilliser drugs which has limited the amount of work we can do this week, we have some coming next week though so don’t fret! We already have multiple rhino consults booked in for friday! Internet is limited, but I will be uploading photos and posts from my phone when I can – so keep your eyes peeled for more to come!

Want to have an amazing experience like mine? 
Feeling a pang of jealousy? Check out
http://wildlifevetadventures.org

CHEVVY

Meet Chevvy

I adopted her from Australian Working Dog Rescue Australia last christmas. She’s a beautiful border collie crossed with every other working breed, bit of kelpie, bit of cattle and a touch of blue heeler 😛 She just had her 2nd birthday in May. It was inevitable me adopting a doggy (being an almost vet and all). I can’t imagine my life without my girl now. She’s a sweet soul and everyone immediately falls in love with her (except the cat).

If you are looking into introducing a new companion into your 
life, I highly recommend adopting! 

A working dog breed isn’t for everyone, they require A LOT of exercise, attention, love and a big backyard usually with another furry friend. But adopting a dog from a rescue organisation such as RSPCA, AWL or AWDRI saves a life and gives an animal a new chance at life. During my studies we have had to do a couple of weeks of shelter medicine. It was sad to see how many beautiful dogs and cats were surrendered or dumped, I wish I could have adopted them all!

NZ rural vet

I know! It’s been a while since my last decent post… sorry! I do have a pretty good excuse! I’ve been buried under a pile of assignments, 12 hour (minimum) day shifts and then trying to balance surfing, social life and, oh yeah, sleep -_-

Back in January I went to the South Island of NZ to complete 1 month of rural EMS. I asked to go to NZ North Island as I have relatives there, but nope! I swear, the first day I spent in South Island, we got a snow drop on near by mountains! Yeah good one summer! All the locals were complaining about how cold it was! HELLLOOOOOOO aussie girl freezing here!!

Apart from the cold, my placement was great! I was situated at the bottom of South Island (hey Antartica) and was fortunate enough to get to see a lot of cases that we learnt about in lectures back in 4th year. It rained every day I was there, which on the bright side, meant I didn’t have to deal with any drought starved animals. Rural work consisted of sheep, horses, cows, small animals and deer! I had never worked with deer before so that was exciting! It was develveting season, where they remove the antlers off stags. I got to have a go sawing, boy were my arms sore after that!

There was a bit of sheep work, palpating testicles and collecting blood to check for a number of parasites, which can affect fertility of both rams and ewes. Thought the rams would have liked me touching their balls. I was clearly wrong, ending up being kicked and thrown to the muddy ground many times… I sadly wasn’t able to get out of preg testing cows but thankfully my skills from 4th year were still there, better than before actually! I was also dragged along to mastitis test a heard of 2000! For anyone that doesn’t know what mastitis testing involves, you have to squeeze milk from each teat into a 4 dish paddle and then add special solution and swirl it around to see if the milky solution clumps (giving a positive test). So yes, we had to do that for every single cow in the herd. Did I mention how cold it was!?! We couldn’t feel our fingers after the first 100 cows, only 1900 left.

The animal work wasn’t all that bad! I was taught how to ultrasound mares for pregnancies which was a great learning experience. At one of the vets, all the farm calls I went on, the vet put me on the spot and asked me what I thought of the animal, what my diagnostic plan was and my treatment plan. That was pretty cool, some cases I remembered learning about in class, other cases… I found out my bulls#!%ing capabilities still proved excellent 😛

I was very fortunate to be given the ability to travel around South Island whilst on weekends. The lady I was staying with let me borrow her car and I road tripped up to Milford Sound along the southern coastline. Yes it was raining, but it was so beautiful! There were waterfalls in every direction you looked. I went on a boat trip and whilst everyone sat inside staying dry, I was the crazy one frolicking around the deck in the rain. Nature at its finest! I also got to go up to Dunedin and check out the ‘Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve’. Whilst in Dunedin I had the bright idea to go surfing. Don’t mind the icebergs floating past!

To finish off a great month of vet work, my parents flew down to visit, bought the warm weather and a decked out camper van! We road tripped around the west coast and saw the beautiful sights the Catlins had to offer. The stand out was by far Nugget Point! The photo doesn’t do it justice, and yep, I took that photo! We also visited Slope Point, the most southern point of NZ, the closest land point to the South Pole!

If you’re interested in rural work especially with cattle and deer, I suggest you head to NZ! I had a great time and was very lucky to see cases that I had learnt about in lectures 🙂

A TIP TO ASPIRING VETS

A word of advice I wish I was given!

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As many of you know, I am in my final year of vet school. Our final year is comprised of 48weeks of placement, in a huge variety of veterinary fields. So far I have completed 10weeks of my placement, it’s exciting, but daunting! And many times I think to myself.. am I ready?! How the hell did I get this far! Yes, I still have 4/5ths of the year left, but I can’t help but think – what the hell have I been doing in the last 4 years of vet school!

We constantly get asked questions through our rotations. I feel like half the time I’m trying to scrape my brain for something…ANYTHING! Are they asking these types of questions because they know we fell asleep during that boring as pharmacology lecture during 3rd year? I hope so… I know I’m not the only one, and we get told a lot ‘ you’re not expected to know everything’. But sometimes I wish I could go back to when I was a first year, and have someone tell me what I’m about to tell you.

Don’t go through vet school just trying to get through exams!

And yes! This is what I, and many others, spent our time doing! Vet school is difficult! It is so easy to fall into the trap of ‘I’ll just learn the practice/past exam questions’. To be fair, it is not entirely our, the students, fault. The amount of content we are expected to learn is phenomenal! Unless you are extremely gifted and can read something once and remember it for the rest of your life (I envy you)… you will run out of time to try and learn everything you are taught.

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I wish I could go back and tell myself to learn the basics, the reason you get those pathological lesions in the liver. Not just learn lists, which were required for exams. Because, if you are like me, thousands of lists don’t stay in your memory for very long! Think broad! Try and relate things you learn together. Don’t just rote learn the steps of wound healing, understand them, understand how each step relates to the process. It makes it a hell of a lot easier when you get to 5th year! Another tip – don’t ignore the content that only comprises 5% of the semesters marks, because i guarantee that you will need to know it at some point or another, and it really sucks when you don’t even know what the heck the vet is talking about!

I am, however, very thankful that the vets are asking these difficult questions. Almost like they know what it was like, to boycott that series of lectures because the lecturer guaranteed the exam questions would be the same as last years, and not remember a thing about them. At least I know the answers to those questions now!

Now, please excuse me whilst I go bury myself in textbooks and engorge on ice cream!

Disclaimer: vet school is also extremely fun and the best years of 
your life! And also, rotations are exciting! I got to scrub into a 
spinal cord decompression surgery today! Super awesome!!!

“We don’t do it because it’s easy, we do it because it’s hard” – JFK