A visit to the RSPCA shelter

I just wanted to make a quick post about a really lovely experience I had this morning. Tom and I had some spare pet supplies so we dropped them off at our local RSCPA shelter (visit their Facebook Page or website). The lady at the desk asked if we’d like to have a look around – I had no idea this was something you could do and was very keen! We started out with a visit to the small animal room. I was so impressed with all the enrichment in the cages and what great enclosures they all had. Obviously it’s a shame they don’t have one-to-one owners but the RSPCA has created some lovely homes for them. A mouse called Pepper climbed up on his water bottle to “talk” to me and I was smitten!

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Honestly, I’m not a vet.

My family are very supportive of my career goals and I don’t mean to offend anyone by writing about their questions; they’ve put up with all sorts of biology trivia and gory detail at the dinner table over the years. I really love it when anyone asks me an animal-related question. However, I am absolutely not qualified to give medical advice and I won’t be until at least 2022. As a result, I have to try and divert their misplaced faith in my animal-healing abilities…

Last weekend I went home for my birthday. My mum hugged me, wished me a happy birthday and told me there was “a problem”. “I found a baby rabbit in the hall,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to be hurt but would you take a look at it?”

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Common health problems in dairy cows

I’ve seen several articles recently which compare dairy cows to high performing athletes. Although they don’t inspire the same awe in the public audience or compete at the Olympics, the lactating cow’s metabolism works at an impressively high rate to convert feed into huge volumes of milk. Unfortunately, this incredible production comes at a cost and our dairy cows do suffer from a variety of common health problems, the most frequent of which I’ve been reading up on.

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A dangerous job – on Countryfile!

My little sister sent me a link to this episode of Countryfile where they talk about the dangers vets face when working with livestock. I think they used a lot of the same references as my post on the same subject. The programme is available for a few more weeks if you want to take a look.

Oh and bonus material with this post….


An update on Olaf

Olaf had a vet appointment today as he hasn’t been improving as we’d hoped. Thankfully since moving here we’ve found a fantastic vet who has paid great attention to my small pets. I had worried about the “little pets aren’t so important” attitudes you hear of but this practice has been wonderful with one of my hamsters and now with Olaf.

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Routine treatments: Dogs

This is the first in a series of posts I’ve put together really for my own reference. My aim is to consolidate what I’ve seen of routine companion animal medicine in my placements so far. Although I don’t imagine I’ll be tested on it at interview, I think it’s probably a good idea to keep it fresh in my mind!

Routine treatments – dogs


The RSPCA recommend vaccination against four diseases:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis

Puppies are usually vaccinated via two injections at 8 and 10 weeks old, followed by a booster 12 months later. Most practices then recommend annual boosters although there is some debate on whether this is suitable for every dog. These injections must all be given by a vet.

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EdiVet – a veterinary MOOC

A few weeks ago I came across a free online course called “EdiVet: Do you have what it takes to become a veterinarian?” My first thought was that this would be a bit gimmicky, but once I saw it was made by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies I reconsidered. I’d never done an online course before and it at least looked interesting so I decided to give it a try.

The EdiVet course is a Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) hosted by Coursera. MOOCs seem to be gaining popularity and if this one is anything to go on, I can see why. I was impressed with the quality of the materials and how engaging it was for a course made up entirely of videos, some reading and quizzes. Like many MOOCs it’s also free unless you want a certificate of completion, which sounds good to me!

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