Saturday, August 6

Surprise Saturday update!

My last day at Enderlin started with a blood draw so we could spin it down to get serum for a phenobarbital test, which was easy enough. The dog was very good about it.

I ran three sheep fecals today, and I was happy that I was able to identify three different eggs without having to look them up. Each sheep had trichostrongyles, and two sheep had eimeria, while one sheep also had trichuris.

There was also a new puppy exam today, which is always a fun time. This was a little Chihuahua puppy, and it was very nice to work with.

My last patient of the day, and the last patient of my externship, was a 14 year old Norwegian Forest Cat who had not been eating or drinking for two days. His lab results showed that he was in kidney failure, and his owner elected to euthanize him today, as she didn’t want to put more stress on him. Of course, his veins were not being cooperative when it came time to euthanize him, which caused his owner to stress out. She was so worried about him, and it broke my heart. We had to sedate him so he would sit still long enough to administer the euthanasia solution. It’s sad that this was my last patient, as no one likes to end the day on something as sad as a euthanasia.

It feels weird to finally be done with my externships, as they seemed like such a daunting task when I was just starting them. I learned that this is the job for me, and I’ll take all the highs and lows that come with it. So now it’s time to get back to school in a couple weeks and finish getting my degree!

Friday, August 5

Today started off by starting a blood glucose curve on a cat. We did his first glucose test, then gave him his insulin, then offered him food. We measured his glucose level every two hours throughout the day to determine if he was getting the correct dose of insulin.

Next we had an ear recheck on a dog, so I swabbed the ears and did an ear cytology. After that was a dog who needed vaccines and a HW/Lyme test, so I gave three vaccines and drew the blood for the HW/Lyme test. Thankfully both tests were negative, so the dog got to go on his merry way. I also performed two nail trims on two different dogs.

Dr. Andy predicted what was wrong with a dog that came into the clinic next. It was an older dog who had lived in Texas all its life, and it had never been on heartworm medication before. It came to the clinic today with a chronic cough, so the first test Dr. Andy ran was a heartworm test, which showed up positive very quickly. He explained to the owner the cost of treating the dog for heartworms, and since the dog was elderly, she opted not to treat him for the heartworms, so Dr. Andy then recommended monthly heartworm medication to prevent the problem from getting worse, which she agreed to. Dr. Lyons had me put a drop of blood on a microscope slide to see if I could see microfilaria in the blood, and we were able to find several microfilaria, which was really cool to see. This is the first positive heartworm test I have ever seen, which was also interesting.

Next on the list was two dog vaccinations with two very lovely older canines. The first was a 14 year old Chihuahua that was deaf and going blind, but was still full of life. The other dog was a Boston Terrier, and he was also a sweetheart. These two dogs have been living together most of their lives, so they would get concerned when they weren’t right next to each other.

The last animal that came to our clinic today was a mini horse that had randomly shown up on the person’s property, and no one around the area claimed the horse, so they took it under their care. We judged the age of the horse by her teeth, then gave her vaccines and collected blood for a Coggins test. She was a little wary of new people, but she warmed up to us at the end of the appointment, which was nice.

After our last client left, Dr. Andy surprised me with an pie as a thank you for what I had done during my externship. The entire clinic gathered and ate pie while we talked about a wide variety of topics. It is so nice to know that the clinic appreciated my time here, as I learned so much along the way. I only have a half day left tomorrow, then I’ll leave Enderlin for the foreseeable future. It’s been a crazy six weeks, but I know I’ll leave with the knowledge that I have chosen a wonderful career path that is full of so many different opportunities.

Thursday, August 4

I started off my morning by giving the calf that stayed overnight two quarts of milk replacer, mixed with some calf electrolytes and charcoal. I learned how to place a feeding tube into a large animal for the first time, which is awesome! I then drew some blood from the calf and ran a blood glucose level, which read as 54, much higher than last night when the blood glucose machine couldn’t even read the level. I also performed a packed cell volume on the calf, and his PCV was 15%, slightly higher from last night at 12%.

Next we had two new puppy exams in a row, which is always a fun time. One of the puppies was a nine week German Wirehair Pointer, which is about the same age as the German Shorthair Pointer that my family recently adopted, so it made me very excited to go home this weekend and meet my puppy for the first time.

Our one surgery of the day was sedating a rabbit and using a gas mask to keep him under while Dr. Lyons removed several purulent abscesses from the rabbit’s neck. Rabbit purulent abscesses tend to be very thick in nature, so they are more difficult to express and clean. Dr. Lyons used a scalpel blade to make an incision into each abscess, and then she expressed the pus and flushed the abscess with sterile saline to remove more pus.

I then got to watch as Monte and Dr. Andy worked on a bull with a hoof abscess. Dr. Andy makes his hoof blocks by hand, which was interesting to see. Monte trimmed down the hooves, and Dr. Andy set to work on exposing the abscess and applying a mixture to help the healing process.

The last patient of the day was a cat who is boarding at the clinic for the next week, and she needed her rabies and distemper vaccines. She was angry that there were dogs in the same kennel area as her, so she was difficult to work with.

We didn’t have many patients in the afternoon today, so we spent most of our time trying to update more patient records and organize client folders, which is a job that seems to never end. I’m currently working on files from April 2016, so there is still a long ways to go before we get caught up on paperwork.

Wednesday, August 3

I started off today by examining a dog who had some facial wounds from the night before. The owner wasn’t sure what happened, but she wasn’t worried enough to call in for an emergency last night. The dog had some scrapes on his muzzle which were starting to scab over, so Dr. Lyons gave him some antibiotics and sent him on his way.

We also had four new puppy exams today, which was fun. I did three ear smears, which led to two ear cleanings and two ear medications. While I would work on one puppy, the other three would play with each other on the floor, which was downright adorable.

I worked on a dog for a dental and dental radiographs with Dr. Lyons, and this time went better than the last one. I took most of the radiographs with some pointers from Dr. Lyons, and then I examined, cleaned, and polished the teeth. Dr. Lyons would examine my work and point out some areas that could use more work, and then I would go after those areas. When I was done with the cleaning, Dr. Lyons removed the bottom six incisors as the radiographs showed poor roots, and the teeth were mobile at the surface of the gums.

Next we had a sick calf come into the back of the clinic. Her front legs, neck, and bottom jaw were swollen and looked like they had a large amount of insect bites. Her blood smear showed destruction of the RBCs. I placed a jugular catheter and we started fluids, including a glucose drip, as her blood sugar was low. She was also given a drip set for bicarbonate once the glucose drip ran out. I ran a fecal on her, but we couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She will be staying overnight on a fluid drip, and Dr. Andy said she will either be better or dead in the morning, since we can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. He will be stopping back into the clinic later tonight to check on her.


Tuesday, August 2

Today I started off by autoclaving surgical packs and pouches, as well as folding more surgery drapes, as our supply was running low.

We had no appointments in the clinic this morning, as Dr. Andy was out trimming goat feet all morning. Karen and I worked on updating patient records and organizing all the paperwork in the office.

In the afternoon, we had a new puppy exam, which led to a UA and the discovery of a bladder infection. The puppy was well-socialized, so he was a pleasure to work with.

The next appointment was two canine wellness exams with vaccinations. The first dog was timid, but she was not aggressive in the slightest, so her checkup went without incident. The owner warned us that the second dog would need a muzzle, as she had an attitude at the clinic before. Once the muzzle was secure, she was alright to work with, even though she opposed to taking her temperature. The rest of her visit went well, and they were out the door soon afterwards.

The next appointment was a euthanasia of a black Lab who had large tumors all over her body. Her owner wanted to be in the room with her while it happened, and he showed us how she liked to be picked up, and he even brought in her favorite blanket to lay on. It always makes me grateful when senior dogs are taken care of by people who really care for them.

My last patients of the day were two Dachshund mixes that were in for wellness exams and vaccinations. These two were some of the most well-behaved Dachshunds that I have ever met, and although they refused to eat our treats, they were nice to work with.

Monday, August 1

Wow, it feels really weird to type the word “August.” I can’t believe the summer is almost over already, and I can’t believe I’m also on my last week of externing!

Today started off with mammary gland tumor removals, which turned out to be cysts. I was working with Dr. Lyons, and it seems that the breakthrough I thought we had no longer exists. She criticized everything I did today, and I just don’t know how much more of her I can take. The tumor removals turned into a spay instead, as she and Dr. Andy believe the cysts are a result of a hormone issue. After the spay was completed, I waited in the dog’s kennel until I could remove the ET tube, and I sat back there and cried because Dr. Lyons stresses me out so much. I hope I don’t have to do any more lengthy procedures with her, because I cannot take much more of her. She’s fine when it comes to regular office visits, but she gets so nit-picky in surgery that I want to scream.

Next I helped Dr. Andy do a fine needle aspirate on a dog that had several lumps on its body. The dog was very sweet throughout the procedure, which made my job of restraint much easier.

After that I helped Dr. Lyons give distemper vaccines to six kittens who all had names relating to Star Wars, which brightened my day immensely. All of the kittens were so well-behaved as well, so I loved every single one of them.

Then, I got to restrain a dog which was having diarrhea, and it was trouble from the second we tried to take its temperature. The dog screamed and tried to break out of my arms as soon as Dr. Andy touched the thermometer to the dog’s rear. Luckily I was prepared for this to happen, so I was able to keep my hold on the dog. Next Dr. Andy attempted to remove some feces from inside the dog, which resulted in another episode of screaming from the dog. There were no feces inside the dog, so Dr. Andy did a wet fecal mount with the small amount of fecal material he was able to get.

My last patient of the day was a dog who had been hit by a car and was having trouble breathing. We were unable to get a lateral radiograph, so we went DV and found that the dog had pneumothorax. We immediately shaved areas on both sides of the dog’s chest, and Dr. Lyons placed a butterfly catheter into the chest wall. She gave me a 60ml syringe and a 3-way stopcock, and I pulled over a liter of air out of the dog’s chest. We then took another radiograph and saw that there was more air in the left side of the chest, so we placed another butterfly catheter and I pulled out another 700mls of air out of the chest. We took another radiograph and found that almost all of the air had been removed, so we placed the dog on oxygen and waited for him to start breathing normally. An IV catheter was placed as well, as we would be sending the dog to the Fargo ER clinic once the owner came to pick him up.

It was a crazy and tiring day, but what else did I expect from a Monday? It feels good to say that I only have 5 more days of externing left, and then I can take a little break before school starts back up. Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, July 30

Surprise Saturday update!

Today was only a half day, so we didn’t see many clients. Today also happened to be a cat day, as all of our clients who didn’t cancel brought in cats.

Our first cat was just in to get a booster vaccine on his distemper, so it was an easy enough appointment.

The second cat was a female who was unable to urinate and had been straining at the litter box. We took an ultrasound of her bladder, but her bladder was empty, so we were unable to run a urinalysis. Andy suspected that the cat had a bladder infection, so he gave the owner some medications and changed the cat’s diet to Hill’s c/d food.

Our last cat of the day was a mama cat with a broken foot. She was very sweet, and she let us put her leg in a splint with no objection. Her kittens were in the carrier with her, so her main objective was to get back to them as soon as possible, and she laid down next to them when we let her back in her carrier.

A week from today will be my last day at Enderlin, which is hard to believe. However, I’m ready to get back to school and finish my degree, then I can get my certification and become a full-fledged veterinary technologist!

Friday, July 29

Today we had another incredibly long dental. I worked with Dr. Lyons to clean and polish the teeth, and although I still don’t like the way the dentals are done here in Enderlin, I did finally have a breakthrough with Dr. Lyons, so I feel more relaxed and comfortable with her. The part that took the longest was extracting two fractured canine teeth with healthy roots. Each tooth took 45 minutes to extract, as the roots were still strong and healthy. It would seem like the teeth were never going to move, but then the ligament would suddenly break and the tooth would practically fall out, which we rejoiced about. The dental took a little over three hours, but I wasn’t done with cleanup until 2pm, so the total time I spent working with the dental dog was around four hours.

We had a dog come in that was urinating all over the house, including on his owner’s lap. We were able to get some voided urine from a walk outside the clinic, so I ran the urinalysis, which didn’t show anything abnormal. I also got a blood sample and ran a CBC and full chem panel, which were reviewed by Dr. Lyons.

The only other dogs I worked with today were two dogs who needed vaccines and one dog who needed vaccines and suture removal. The suture dog was a sweetheart, but she kept trying to eat the sutures as they were cut off and fell on the floor (she is a Lab though, so I expected that).


Thursday, July 28

Today I spent the first half of the day in my favorite place, out in the field working with livestock. We were vaccinating cows and calves for pinkeye and foot rot, as well as treating cases of pinkeye. For his pinkeye cases, Dr. Andy gives 2ml of gentamicin and 1ml of penicillin into the conjunctiva, then sews the third eyelid over the eye to help keep flies away and aide in healing. Each affected cow was also given LA 300, which is a broad spectrum antibiotic. I love getting the opportunity to leave the clinic and take care of animals outside.

When we got back to the clinic, it was time to settle in and get some paperwork done. Whether we were updating patient records or organizing files alphabetically, there was a lot of work to do, and it has kept us busy between clients for several days, and the end is still not in sight.

A dog came into the clinic and was experiencing reverse sneezing, which is something that i have never witnessed before. Dr. Andy suspects it might be allergy-related, since it started around the time the owner switched dog foods. He sent the owner home with some amoxicillan and instructions to change dog foods.

The last patient of the day was a Chihuahua that was having coughing spells when it got excited. Dr. Andy palpated the throat, but there were no signs of tracheitis, and the dog was not showing any coughing at the clinic. However, once we set the dog back on the floor, she started coughing, so Dr. Andy was able to diagnose that the dog most likely had a partially collapsed tracheal ring. He sent the owners home with a medication they had been using previously to treat the coughing.

Wednesday, July 27

Today started off in the worst way possible.

We had a spay and a dental to do in the morning. I’m used to starting with actual surgeries and moving on to the dentals afterwards, but Dr. Lyons decided to start with the dental first instead. I had already been setting stuff up for the spay, so I was in trouble with her for not working on setting up the dental first. First we started with dental radiographs, which decided they weren’t going to work today. We called the company and spent the good part of an hour trying to figure out what was wrong with our dental radiograph machine. Dr. Lyons started working on the dental while we tried to figure out the radiograph problem, but the dental scaler decided that it wasn’t going to work either, as no water was coming out of the scaler. We brought in Monte, who is our tech that’s good at fixing everything in the clinic, and he couldn’t figure out what was wrong either. Dr. Lyons had to clean the teeth manually until Monte could bring in and set up the old dental machine. When we finally got the dental radiograph working, the radiographs went by quickly, but Dr. Lyons didn’t tell me when she was moving on to the next section of teeth to be radiographed, so I had to be watching her while watching the radiograph while also watching the patient and bagging the patient, as he was shallow breathing throughout the surgery. I also got scolded by Dr. Lyons if I looked away from the patient for longer than a minute, which got really irritating after awhile. By the time this dental was done, it was already noon.

Immediately after the dental, I had to clean up the dental area and also work on setting up for the spay surgery. What I didn’t know before the surgery is that this was also an entropion surgery, so what I thought would be a short spay surgery turned into a surgery that lasted until 2pm. Both of these surgeries went without a hitch, but oh boy was I tired.

After the spay/entropion surgeries were done, I cleaned up the surgery suite and started working on cleaning all the instruments we had used today (a spay pack, a suture pack, and a pack of dental instruments). After all the instruments were cleaned, I helped take radiographs of a cat with a swollen front foot. This was one of the most beautiful cats I have ever seen, with a coat color that was light silver and black, and I have never seen a silver that looked that pretty. The cat was very nice during the radiographs, so it was awesome to work with this cat.

Just when I thought I could take a quick break, I found myself removing IV catheters and filling prescriptions for a variety of pets. The next thing I know, it’s already 3:15pm.

After my “lunch” break, I set to work on taking the dry instruments and putting them into their respective packs. Each surgery pack at this clinic has to go through the autoclave twice, so I started the first round of autoclaving for the first pack.

My last patient of the day was a cat who was experiencing some pain on its back right foot. Dr. Lyons was unable to find a location where the cat was in pain, so she sent the owner home with some pain medication to see if it would clear up in the next couple days. If it doesn’t clear up, the cat will be brought back for some radiographs to find the source of its pain.