Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back to kittens.

I have deprived you guys of fluffy adorableness in my anxiety over finals. I intend to remedy that.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I passed! I am a second semester student! I dropped from an A in two classes to a B and a B+, and a B+ in one class to a B, but I maintained a 3.0, which is all I needed to remain lead researcher on my study.

I can enjoy my last day on the island free of nerves. :)


I had my last final yesterday morning. It went horribly. Any future Rossies reading this, you will love and hate Animal Nutrition. It's a really interesting and at times fun class, but the first and final exams have large sections written by a certain unmentioned professor that are comparable to learning the material in English and being tested on it in Greek. Be forewarned.

I went into finals with really good grades and confident, and now I'm on edge, honestly waiting for tomorrow when grades will be posted in a state of near-vomitous anxiety. We all are. My roommates and I had a potluck get together last night with friends, and it's all anyone could talk about. None of us are what you might consider bad students, party-ers or slackers, we all went in doing okay-to-good in all of our classes, and after those exams we ALL are convinced that we failed everything and are going home.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sad news.

Little Andre has died. He took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse over this past weekend. I tried supplementing him with KMR for the first two days but then on Monday night he was still looking terrible so I brought him in to the clinic. They gave him subcutaneous fluids, fed him via a stomach tube and put him on a heating pad and kept him overnight. Even with all of that the vet said that there was a 50/50 chance, and that it was likely aspiration pneumonia, which is common in 3-week-old kittens when they start eating a lot.The vet and I discussed it and I signed a euthanasia form giving them permission to use their best judgment.

After my exam this morning I stopped by the clinic to check on him and the vet informed me that they euthanized him early this morning. Apparently his body temperature just would not stay up, no matter what they tried.

So yes, it's sad, but there are still three happy, healthy kittens who are romping around my room in a hilariously ungainly fashion right now. I still have one final left to go and then nothing but to rest and relax until my flight on Sunday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crunch time.

Finals start on Monday. My first exam is in Gross Anatomy I, a three-hour-long exam consisting of a laboratory practical exam where they'll have cadavers and skeletons out with tags for identification or questions about clinical applications (i.e. "If I sever this tendon, how will the dog present?"), as well as a small animal and large animal palpation portion where structures on live animals will be tagged for identification or we could be asked to show where to take a pulse, do an IM injection, etc.

Today I woke up at 6:15am, got showered and dressed and headed to the anatomy lab around 7:10am. I studied in the lab with one of the cadaver dogs until 10am and then left to go to a LA palp tutor session (which was massively helpful because she told us specifically which questions ALWAYS get asked on the anatomy final, and to know them). After the tutor session I went home, ate lunch, reviewed my notes for 5 hours and then went back to the lab at 6:30pm for two more hours of review with the cadaver dog and buckets of equine and bovine guts. Now I'm going to make myself a rum and coke and study old material (because everything I've studied up until now is new material, but the final is cumulative) until I pass out.

Tomorrow, rinse and repeat. 13+ hour days? You're a vet student now, get used to it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Mama's been neglected amongst all the kitten photos and videos. Which is a shame, because she's a great cat. She hopped up on the bed with me last night for the first time since the kittens were born, and it made me realize how much I'd missed having her all to myself.

You can really hear the coqui frogs in this video. And of course, here's one of all four of the kittens playing. Although Andre is being a big wuss and calling for his momma, don't let him fool you. He's usually right in the middle of the kitten dogpile.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Apologies for the lack of stimulating science-y posts and/or adorable kitten photo dumps. Next week is finals week so I'm alternating between manic study binges and long, unproductive bouts of watching Castle. Every time I start freaking out at how little time is left and the sheer amount of information we'll be tested on I just open up the Word document I made tabulating all of my exams scores, etc. and what grades I need on my finals to get an A, a B or pass. The highest grade I need in order to pass any of my classes is a 54%. The lowest is a 38%. I know I'll at least move on to next semester, but I need to maintain a 3.0 to remain head student researcher on my study.

Which reminds me, over break I need to work on my grant proposal, so no rest for the... motivated? The preliminary literature review I've put together has been predictably frustrating. Not only is there virtually nothing available on handling stress in lab rats, what studies there have been are focused on raising neonates with regular handling vs. unhandled. Which, while interesting and may provide me some useful information for my abstract, isn't exactly what I need. Finding documented, objective measures of stress in rats is also proving pretty fruitless.

My evidence-based medicine club is coming along, slowly but surely. I have two faculty members who are interested in sponsoring/being involved. I just got the email from my class reps on how to go about starting a new club, which I'll have to read through after finals.

Gaahhh! Stress!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Learning to play.

Amelia is predictably the first of the bunch to exhibit play behavior. This little girl is seriously after my heart.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day nine.

Time for a picspam! So Quatro went and died and sort of messed up the naming theme, so I've been trying to come up with names as they grow and their personalities develop.

The name "Dolly" was a no brainer for this lovely lady. She's beautiful, quiet and never makes a fuss, unlike her loudmouth siblings.
Roman, the greedy little runt!
I wanted to name him Carol, because he reminded me so much of the monster from "Where The Wild Things Are", but then I realized no one would understand that Carol is a boy. So his name is Andre aka "The Giant."
I still can't think of a name for her, suggestions are welcome! She's got the most personality of the bunch. She wanders off on her own, she's loud and her eyes opened several days early. This one is fiercely independent. (ETA: And "Amelia" has it!)

Kitten down.

So little Hulk, the runt of the litter, isn't doing so well. Yesterday when I came home from class I checked on Mama and the kittens as per usual and when I picked up Hulk his belly seemed very distended. I flipped him over and he had some bruises on his abdomen. He is very constipated and not responding to my attempts to stimulate him. His appetite is still excellent, as evidenced by the video in the previous entry. He's the one slapping the shit out of his much larger brother.

I dropped everyone off at the clinic earlier this morning and they'll attempt to get little Hulk's bowels working. However, it's also possible that there's nothing that can be done and we'll have to put him to sleep. Fingers crossed, ya'll!

ETA: Hulk wasn't constipated at all. His belly was so swollen and bruised because, get this, he's eating too much. This little fool actually gorged himself until blood vessels in his abdomen burst! His name is now officially changed to Roman. Oh well, at least the little freak is holding his own amongst siblings that are twice his size.

One good thing came out of this trip, though. One of the technicians at the clinic wants to adopt a kitten! She's got her eye on Roman's brother, Andre (as in "The Giant") and I'm supposed to give her a call once they're weaned.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm going home.

I went though three titles and they all turned out to be Rocky Horror lyrics.

We've got two weeks left in the semester before finals. Everyone's pretty on edge. Luckily I'm in a pretty good spot right now. My grades going into finals are two As, one B+ and one B, so I'm not worried about failing out or having to repeat a semester. At the same time I really want to keep those two As, raise the B+ to an A and raise the B to a B+, but that might not happen and as long as I don't drop to a C in anything I suppose I'll be satisfied if not exactly happy about it.

The reality is that 20% of our starting class won't graduate with us. Ross has a high attrition rate, for a number of reasons, such as the stress of living thousands of miles from home, friends and family. But the majority will leave because of academic reasons. I've heard a lot of speculation on how ethical it is for Ross to take in the lower GPA students that couldn't make it into U.S. vet schools, and most of it is pretty nasty and suggests profit as a primary motivation. As far as my opinion goes, I like that Ross gives those students a shot, but that is exactly what it is; a chance. Quite frankly some people can't succeed in a professional degree program as rigorous as vet school. That isn't to say that they're stupid, just that they're not cut out for this. Ross gives them an opportunity and if they can't make it then at least they had a fair shot.

It'll be interesting to see who comes back next semester and who doesn't.

Anyway, I'm heading back to Indiana the weekend after finals for two weeks. I've got a pet sitter arranged for Mama and her babies. I'm extremely disappointed that I'll be away from them between the ages of 4-5 weeks, so I'll miss out on the wobbly kitten phase.

The first week I'm home I'll be heading up to my alma mater to give a talk to the Purdue Pre-Vet Club about Ross and what it's like being a Ross student. I'm really excited about it. It's something I wish had been available to me when I was considering applying to Ross, so hopefully it'll go well and might be something we could do every year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day four.

This is nothing put a picspam post. I hope you can all find it in your hearts to forgive me. ;)

"Uh, bruhder? Ur on my hed."
*slurp slurp slurp*
Gratuitous calico shot for Jen. You can see my enormous Dorland's Medical Dictionary on the desk. The giant stack of papers on top of it is the material for my second micoanatomy midterm.