Single most important thing for a veterinarian to remember about the species they are treating



As vets we have to retain an awful lot of knowledge about a bunch of different species in our brain, but I could only impart one factoid onto a new vet for each species, these would be it.

Dog: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, in a German Shepherd

Cat: Species most likely to send you to the hospital.

Horse: Species most likely to send you to the morgue.

Cattle:  Hygiene and lube.

Sheep: Not little cows!

Goats: Not funny sheep!

Deer: Don’t. Just shoot them.

Birds: No diaphragm, if you squeeze them they will die.

Raptors(eg eagles) : Much easier to handle with a sock over their head.

Chickens: If it’s egg bound there is no such thing as too much lube.

Water birds: Projectile feces. Aim with care.

Rabbits:  Drug sensitivities

Guinea Pigs: Lethal penicillin

Rats & Mice: It’s going to be a tumor.

Snakes: Don’t leave them in a cage. They get out.

Lizards: 90% of the time it’s a husbandry problem

Aussie mammals: Don’t wrestle wombats, you can’t win.

Fish: You can MacGuyver an anesthetic rig from two buckets, some tubing, a straw, a clean cat litter tray and some alfaxan. Do not use electro-cautery on a wet fish.

Ferrets: Most of their problems are from the same area; the kidneys, adrenals and ovaries seem to be part of a club to cause havoc for this species.

Pigs: Wear ear muffs, because they scream like you wouldn’t believe, and remember that they’re bred for meat, which is muscle and they know how to use it.

This is not an attempt to condense veterinary medicine into a few dozen sentences. But if you can only remember one thing, make it a useful one.

I love how this seemed to start as a comedy post (but still true) then just got all super serious. Handy things though. and the GSD thing is so true.


This is Samson, and Samson is an 8 year old ottb and he has been through hell only being 8. I bought him 8 months ago and his story is incredible. I bought him as horse to build my confidence once he came home I immediatly noticed his back leg was weird. he looked lame, and his hock looked swollen. the vet came out and said he has a catching stifle and a capped hock. he said I could never show him because of how awkward he moved, but he said I could still do everything else with him like learning to jump and learn dressage. but I was okay with that I bonded with him. we both clicked and we still jumped and did trails and I also taught him to go brideless. sadly samsons stifle got really bad one day and we move him to flat pasture like the vet said. there, his injury got looked better and he was a happy horse and rehabbing. ofcourse I know he will never be sound because when he got injured the person left him there and didn’t take care of the stifle injury. so he has a mechanical gate, meaning he learned to adapt to the injury himself. one day I was visiting him at his pasture home. I was feeding him treats when I noticed a huge red bump in his mouth, I asked the someone what it is and they said it looks like a tumor, and to call the vet out immediately. the vet came out and confirmed it was cancer but we should still do a biopsy. on my birthday we got the biopsy report back and they confirmed it was a rare cancer called ameloblastoma of the mandible it’s a rare cancerous tumor and he got it in his mouth. the vet said he needed to be put down immediately because the cancer was acting very quickly and that it would go into his lungs and he would suffer and die. but our other option was go have the tumor and the part of the bone removed. but he couldn’t be put down, so we called so many equine cancer specialists and all of them said how rare it was and basically it scared us even more. finally we found a vet that was willing to do the surgery luckily it was only a few thousand dollars all together. we brought him to the vet once we made the appointment. he immediately went into surgery. I watched the removal of the bone. the vet chiseled the piece of bone out so he got all the cells of the cancer out. that also ment he had 3 teeth taken out. in the pictures above that’s the bone with the teeth that was removed. a few hours later Samson came out of surgery and he coliced from all the stress, the feed change, and just the medicines didn’t agree with his tummy. so that ment tubing and icu unit. luckily a day later he stopped colicing and was okay. we were also told that Samson would have a deformity due to the jaw being taken out. he looks perfectly normal! just his tounge hangs out a bit like in the picture above, and it makes him unique and we all love his slight deformity. samson finally was able to be brought home and he was so happy to be home he could run again and see his friends, and most importantly I could see my best friend and know for now on I didn’t have to fear of losing him to this terrible cancer. He is now in pasture being a happy and healthy horse. I wanted to share his story because he is the 6th horse in the world to have this cancer. and we got a lab report yesterday from the vet and the vet removed all the cancer from Samson and it shouldn’t come back so he is cancer free!

Didn’t know whether this was of interest to any of you…

I’ve (Emily) just come back from an Army Medical Services familiarisation visit at their HQ at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and have some interesting info about being a Veterinary Officer.
- you can apply for a bursary and receive £5000 a year for the last three years of your degree, plus £5000 for the each of the two years after you graduate, and then a lump sum of £45000 when you commission from Sandhurst 
- it’s a 44 week course at Sandhurst 
- they would like you to do a year to 18months of work in a civilian (normal) vet practice before Sandhurst 
- the job has various different career progression paths that I can go into if you want to message me
- minimum service is 4 years (including the year at Sandhurst) and you can leave if you want after that 4 years.

Message me on here or my own blog ( if you want any more info!

E xxx


The dog-days are almost upon us.  Keep your kitties (and even goggies) safe in the heat.
Some other tips:
Put out multiple water bowls for easy access.  Consider freezing one, or adding ice.
Tie ribbons to the grill of an oscillating fan to encourage your cat to play and cool off at the same time
Place some frozen cooler packs in a rolled up towel, then in your pets favorite bed
Make sure access to the bathroom is clear.  All of that porcelain, enamel and cold water plumbing can keep bathrooms a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house.  Basements too, if available


The dog-days are almost upon us.  Keep your kitties (and even goggies) safe in the heat.

Some other tips:

  • Put out multiple water bowls for easy access.  Consider freezing one, or adding ice.
  • Tie ribbons to the grill of an oscillating fan to encourage your cat to play and cool off at the same time
  • Place some frozen cooler packs in a rolled up towel, then in your pets favorite bed
  • Make sure access to the bathroom is clear.  All of that porcelain, enamel and cold water plumbing can keep bathrooms a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house.  Basements too, if available
Anonymous asked
What measurement of time do I put my work experience in? Like I have done 6 working weeks on a piggery but 4 full weeks lambing... Should I just put it in hours?

Depends what you are filling it out for. Personal statements I’d just say 6 weeks pig farm, 4 weeks lambing. Some work ex questionnaires will ask for it in hours, others, like Liverpool, will say one day is 0.2 weeks so you can work it out from that :)

E xxx 

Anonymous asked
I want to write a blog about my work experience. Are there any websites you think may best suit a blog of this description?

Most people I know use tumblr, or maybe wordpress? I’m not sure how word press works though. Sorry I can’t be more usefull :(

E xxx


The black liquid was aspirated from a growing mass on the shoulder of a 2y.o. male neutered crossbreed dog. After sending the sample to the labs, it was suspected to be a pigmented basal cell carcinoma, so we made the quick decision to book him in for surgical excision.

After removing the mass, we sent the mass to the labs again for histopathology analysis, which came back and said it was a benign follicular cyst!

This highlights the importance to always perform histopathology on masses you remove!


Our Three (Brain) Mothers

Protecting our brain and central nervous system are the meninges, derived from the Greek term for “membrane”. You may have heard of meningitis - this is when the innermost layer of the meninges swells, often due to infection, and can cause nerve or brain damage, and sometimes death.

There are three meningeal layers: the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. In Latin, “mater” means “mother”. The term comes from the enveloping nature of these membranes, but we later learned how apt it was, because of how protective and essential the meningeal layers are.


  • The dura mater is the outermost and toughest membrane. Its name means “tough mother”.

The dura is most important for keeping cerebrospinal fluid where it belongs, and for allowing the safe transport of blood to and from the brain. This layer is also water-tight - if it weren’t, our cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) would leak out, and our central nervous system would have no cushion! Its leathery qualities mean that even when the skull is broken, more often than not, the dura (and the brain it encases) is not punctured.

  • The arachnoid mater is the middle membrane. Its name means "spider-like mother", because of its web-like nature.

The arachnoid is attached directly to the deep side of the dura, and has small protrusions into the sinuses within the dura, which allows for CSF to return to the bloodstream and not become stagnant. It also has very fine, web-like projections downward, which attach to the pia mater. However, it doesn’t contact the pia mater in the same way as the dura: the CSF flows between the two meningeal layers, in the subarachnoid space. The major superficial blood vessels are on top of the arachnoid, and below the dura.

  • Pia mater is the innermost membrane, which follows the folds (sulci) of the brain and spinal cord most closely. Its name means “tender mother”.

The pia is what makes sure the CSF stays between the meninges, and doesn’t just get absorbed into the brain or spinal cord. It also allows for new CSF from the ventricles to be shunted into the subarachnoid space, and provides pathways for blood vessels to nourish the brain. While the pia mater is very thin, it is water-tight, just like the dura mater. The pia is also the primary blood-brain barrier, making sure that no plasma proteins or organic molecules penetrate into the CSF. 

Because of this barrier, medications which need to reach the brain or meninges must be administered directly into the CSF.

Anatomy: Practical and Surgical. Henry Gray, 1909.

Anonymous asked
For work experience what should I bring? Is there anything I shouldn't bring/wear? Anything I have to know before going to an Veterinary Clinic/Animal Hospital/Veterinary Surgery?

Most importantly a pen and paper. Make sure you take notes of things you find interesting and even the basic things like vaccinations as they’re important. Aside from that just dress smartly and appropriately. Bring enthusiasm and interest. I would say no as you’re there to learn but some basic concepts such as vaccinations and some surgeries would be useful. I would use it more as a place to learn more if it’s your first placement though. 

Ask questions as many times as you can, no question is too stupid. Before a placement try and have an idea of what you want to take away from it. Do you want to know how to castrate an animal, learn the joints and diseases that go along with them. the major organ systems etc etc. and try make sure you pick up as much as you can about them.

Anonymous asked
I'm sixteen and I want to be a Veterinarian but I have no experience at a veterinary clinic but I'm going to be applying for work experience, will the journey into becoming a Veterinarian become harder because I didn't start experience younger?

it shouldn’t be harder per se, you just have to make sure you get enough varied experience. Try and get work with most of the main species (cows, sheep, horses, and smallies). Provided you’re organised and make the most of the experience you are at no disadvantage. :)