Arriving in Germany…

First dolphin - germany marine mammal medicine summer school

Well after one of the longest train journeys of my life I have arrived at my home for the next 5 days, Tiergarten Nurnberg in Germany!!! Yes I am staying at a zoo for a week!

So obviously the first thing that we did after saying hi to each other and setting up our sleeping camp was to go exploring the zoo! Even though I am trained as a Marine Mammal Medic I have never met a dolphin in real life yet… So today that changed and I met my first 5 dolphins – and found out just how mischeivious they really are when one decided to try and splash us (intentionally) with its tail!

First dolphin - germany marine mammal medicine summer school

We also took a quick look around the rest of the zoo (we get an official tour in the morning) and tried to find the polar bear (failed here though)! The rest of the evening is a icebreaker social with pizza so I am going leave the diary there for today! Speak tommorow!

Marine Mammal Medicine…

Marine Mammal Medicine trip to Germany

Quite a few months ago now I applied and was accepted on the EAZWV Marine Mammal Medicine 2014 student summer school. This year the summer school is taking place in Germany and I have just finished packing to leave early tommorow morning.

The cheapest way for me to travel was by train, and so I have a 9 hour train journey tommorow through Hungary, Austria and then part of Germany. Now Germany is a country I have never had the pleasure of visiting before so I am a little excited about that, however the thing that has my full excitement already is just what I will be doing.

Now even though the UK is surround by sea, its easy to forget about the amazing animals that live below these waves. I have written in the past about the BDMLR stranding response charity however at present there is basically nothing taught about this marine mammals in vet school. To be given the opportunity to attend this workshop will give me knowledge to be able to take the next steps in treating these animals.

For the week there are only 20 students from across Europe, with us being lucky enough to be taught by 15 of the leading marine mammal vets, behaviourists, nutritionists, conservationists, pathologists and physiologists.

I will be in Germany until Friday evening, however hopefully will be able to get online to update my diary each day as the programme for the week looks amazing! For now however I really must sleep as I am up again to catch my train in just over 5 hours!

Officially failing the year…

I am pretty gutted writting this, yet it also feels like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. As I feared at Christmas with my workload parasitology proved too much and I failed to pass it in time (the deadline was today). This means that I have failed the year and will have to resit the year to repeat parasitology before I am allowed to progress onto the next year. I AM INTENDING TO REPEAT THIS SUBJECT, I AM STILL A VET STUDENT, AND IT MAY NOT BE THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD

So I am disappointed in myself, and pretty embarrassed. Not being the only one to have failed what is labelled “hell year” does make me feel a bit better. I’ve passed so many subjects this past year that I feel I have learnt nothing at all, gained a lot of weight, and had so little sleep its untrue.

On the upside so next year I will still be a 4th year vet student here doing just 1 class a week. There are special arrangements available with the fee’s for doing it so it won’t break the bank. In addition to being able to use the time to complete my thesis and research project and to get extra clinical practice this also means that I will have time to study the things that I skimmed over in depth, I passed pharmacology for example, yet know so little about drug interactions it is untrue! Or physiology and whilst I understand the basics my neurophysiology is seriously lacking! I honestly believe that by spending an extra year studying I will be a better vet at the end of it (especially as I can study stuff not normally on the curriculum like exotics!)!

In addition it will also give me the time to get back to my diary, finish writing my first aid book, and catch up on a lot of other things! Not to mention I will be able to get some exercise!!!

I am gutted, I was so close to being able to do it and with another week I would have, but rules are rules and this way I hope by seeing the positive I really will finish a better doctor!

Thank you to everyone that has supported me, it really has meant everything to me, I really am sorry to have let you down so badly. It was not through lack of trying but lack of time!

A quick look at the science behind vaccinations

What is vaccination

Today’s Diary Entry is Sponsored by Pet Webinars

I wrote this earlier this even in response to a question asked on social media, it is a pretty good quick summary so thought I’d also share it here!

The science of vaccination is that it teaches the immune system to recognise the “markers” of a disease in a “controlled” manner. It takes time for the immune system to recognise and respond to a new disease. By teaching it to recognise a disease it means that the response in future is faster. From memory (I don’t have time to check exact timing atm) the first exposure to a disease takes around a week to produce an immune response to the disease, the second “booster” reduces this to a couple of days.

This is important because there are several stages in the course of a disease, and being able to recognise and start the “fight” against the disease earlier can mean a better outcome.

The problem is that in addition to the physical damage from the disease the disease also increases the stress on the body. This takes its toll and whilst the disease may not itself be fatal, the body can be simply overwhelmed from trying to deal with it. Being able to recognise the disease early before it takes hold means that a serious thing may be just a “bump” in the road.