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Monday
Sep262011

Case Report 

Katherine Gates

Colorado State University

 

I’ve always learned the most about veterinary medicine from my own animals. Most recently, Linus (8 yr, M/C, Germ Shep mix) gave us (I’m married to another vet student) a lesson in acute onset hemiparalysis in an otherwise healthy dog. One Sunday afternoon, Linus was running outside, and ran under an electric wire we have for our horses. I didn’t think much of it, since each of our dogs has been shocked before and usually do just fine after the initial yelp. Within an hour, Linus was walking like a drunk, and couldn’t even get himself up the stairs in our house. Shortly thereafter, he couldn’t get up from lying on his side. Of course, with my own pets, I can never think clearly enough to come up with a reasonable list of differentials. I was worried that he was going to be paralyzed from some sort of spinal cord injury from the shock and I was going to have to put him down. We decided to give him some time, hoping he’d bounce back in a few hours from whatever was ailing him. Hours passed, and if anything, he seemed worse. I decided then to head to the Teaching Hospital.

After a thorough examination by a herd of vet students and one exhausted resident, we had a couple top differentials – intervertebral disc avulsion and fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). They wanted to do an MRI to confirm the diagnosis, since treatment for the two conditions is very different – strict cage rest for the disc, and active physical therapy for the FCE. Being a vet student married to another vet student with one human offspring and several pets in our menagerie, the MRI was out of our budget. Since Linus was not exhibiting any signs of pain (and he is NOT the stoic type by any means), we decided to assume he had an FCE and proceed with physical therapy.

The first few days were difficult – Linus, about 55 lbs, was almost completely paralyzed on his right side. We had to pick him up with a homemade sling to get him outside to relieve himself, and do passive range of motion exercises on his thoracic and pelvic limbs several times each day. His thoracic limb was more severely affected, and completely non-weight-bearing. After just a day or two, we already saw an improvement. Linus was beginning to use his right pelvic limb, but was still extremely paretic on his right side. It took just over a week before he was walking, albeit awkwardly, on his own. He would still occasionally lose his balance and fall onto his right side, but I couldn’t believe how quickly he recovered proprioception and motor function in both limbs. Now, 6 weeks post-FCE, Linus is not back to 100%, but he is walking, running and going up and down stairs happily. His right thoracic limb is still a bit weak, and he does walk with a slight limp, but he is happy and mobile and back to his normal goofy self. If I had my way, I’d learn veterinary medicine at school and come home to healthy, spoiled pets, but I suppose that’s asking too much. I really wish our own pets didn’t teach us quite so much about veterinary medicine.

Friday
Sep232011

Creative Corner- "Greener Pastures"

 

By Brady Thompson

Purdue University  

Sunday
Sep182011

Volume 47 Issue 2 Results 

Thanks to all who submitted to Volume 47 Issue 2 of the Vet Gazette. Submissions were recorded from 19 different veterinary schools and all were excellent work! The winners are listed below. Look for their work and all of the submissions to be published in the coming months. Thanks to everyone for your hard work and encourage your classmates to keep submitting!

School with the highest number of submissions: Cornell University

Overall best entry: Justin Padgett- Auburn

Creative Corner:

     Elodie Huguet- UGA

     Regina Shores-Virginia Maryland

     Eila Susskind- Cornell

Experiences:

      Alexander Robb- Tufts- Best

      Kathryn Benson- NCSU- Honorable Mention

      Joshua Duff- NCSU- Honorable Mention

Life as a Vet Student : Family

     Oneal Peters- Colorado State- Best

     Erica Burkland- Cornell- Honorable Mention

     Chelsea Mason- Virginia Maryland- Honorable Mention

Life as a Vet Student: First Years

     Maite Torres- Kansas State- Best

     Jamie Zhen- Cornell- Honorable Mention

Foot in Mouth

     Julie Kornder-UGA- Best

     Laura Stoeker- NCSU- Honorable Mention

Cases and Abstracts

     Stephanie Silberstang- Cornell- Best

     Katherine Gates- Colorado State- Honorable Mention

     Keiko Petrosky- Tufts- Honorable Mention

Trivia

     Ruthie Reinken- Penn- Winner

     Mark Primiano- Kansas State- Winner

Answer: The first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France to combat cattle disease, specifically rinderpest.

Forum

     Stephanie Silberstang- Cornell- Winner

     Keiko Petrosky- Tufts- Honorable Mention

 

 

 

Thursday
Sep152011

IVEC Scholarship Winner Post Travel Essay 

 By Ariel Grubb, Scholarship Winner- SAVMA International Veterinary Exchange Committee

Washington State University

There’s a skinny street dog with mucus globbed onto its eyelids and partially occluding its nostrils.  It is bobbing its head up and down as it shakily scurries around the terrace with the other puppies. I can tell that this dog has distemper and there’s another in the corner with early signs of the same disease; ocular-nasal discharge, lethargy and occasional premonitory musculoskeletal twitches.  There is no isolation ward so these dogs have exposed the virus to dozens of their non-vaccinated shelter mates. It’s a disturbing thought, but in this resource poor hospital, reducing viral cross contamination is low on the list of medical priorities. 

A third, emaciated distemper dog is lying in a kennel on the patio below. It has a 105˚F fever, cannot stand or sit up and has been violently contracting its entire body and pumping its jaw open and shut for ten days.  The fur has been rubbed off and its raw skin is sticking to the rag lining its cage.  This organization does not elect euthanasia as a first option for a suffering animals, even those with horrendous injuries that most US vets wouldn’t even bother treating. They are inclined to hold out hope for recovery, despite their inability to consistently offer adequate care. Many of their patients (with viral and bacterial infections, fractures, internal injuries, etc) could recover if what they need (24hr/day IV fluids, monitoring, soft bedding, temperature control, pain management, etc) were available.  But with one doctor, 2 nurses, a $10,000 per month budget, electricity that cuts out at random times during the day, a mostly illiterate staff, a labyrinthine set of laws from a dysfunctional government and 200 animals, this kind of care is not yet possible and morbidity is very high.

 The staff is confident that this dog in the final, neurologic stage of a severe case of canine distemper can recover without fluids, antipyretics, anticonvulsants or pain medications.  I suppose there is always a chance and it is my Western minded training that makes me want to bust into the Euthasol supply and put this dog out of its misery.  This is a country that values ahimsa (non-violence, kindness to all living things) and where the concepts of karma and reincarnation of all living creatures influence the care of these animals.  To some, euthanasia disrupts a soul’s cycle of death and rebirth, so use of “the pink juice” doesn’t have the same merciful rationale as it does in the US.

It took two weeks of constant convulsion but they eventually decided that the dog would be put to sleep. Sitting on the concrete in the Rajasthani heat, holding its skinny, weakly spasming body in my lap, I was awash with loss and pity. But I wasn’t comforted by my usual internal mantra of “it was time, we did the right thing, she was suffering” that normally allows me to accept this procedure in good conscience. This little Indian dog was already on its way to a natural death and it did not seem merciful to speed it along.

Tuesday
Sep132011

IVSA Chapter Scholarships Available! 

Attention all members and officers of International Veterinary Student Associations!

Do you think your school's chapter is fantastic, active, and financially deserving? Here's your chance to apply for the IVEC Chapter Scholarship! See Below:

The International Veterinary Exchange Committee of the SAVMA HOD will once again be awarding a $500 scholarship to a deserving International Veterinary Students Association associate chapter.  This award will be awarded on the basis of financial need and the excellence of the proposed activity or trip.  Remember that as SAVMA members you are automatically members of IVSA so all you have to do is form a chapter or an IVSA committee as part of your SAVMA chapter to be eligible.  Formation of new chapters, chapter events, and group travel are all eligible for consideration for this award.  Application information and scholarship guidelines can be downloaded from the SAVMA website (http://www.avma.org/savma/).  Log on and follow the links to the IVEC committee section of the website.