Thursday, March 8, 2012


Okay, so first things first - I got a C on my MOD exam the other day. Which means straight A's is no longer possible for me this semester. I still have a B in the class, but an A is 1 point out of reach. It's my fault, I procrastinated and didn't study enough. It's okay. I'm still doing remarkably well this semester.

Right now I'm studying for my Clin Path exam next Thursday. Like I've mentioned before, this class is the first one where we actually start doing medicine. Right now we're studying cytology and biochemistry profiles. The previous exam was hematology. This class is teaching us how to take signalment, patient history and clinical pathology and put them together to reach a diagnosis.

So when I came to a clinical case in the notes with a signalment of an 8-year-old male German Shepherd with a history of acute weakness and lethargy and pale mucous membranes, alarm bells started going off in my head. That's the classic presentation for hemangiosarcoma. The next slide confirmed my preliminary diagnosis with a blood smear showing acanthocytes, a diagnostically characteristic red blood cell change in hemangiosarcoma patients. The next slide showed macrophages that had phagocytized RBCs in an aspirate from the abdominal cavity (meaning that the fluid in the abdomen contained a lot of blood). The next slide showed neoplastic spindle cells from an imprint of the liver (a common site of hemangiosarcoma).

Basically by this point I'm just grinning like an idiot, because for the first time I feel like I'm actually doing my job. I'm putting the clues together and reaching a diagnosis BEFORE being told what it is. I almost cried when I read the summary with a confirmed diagnosis of hepatic hemangiosarcoma. Yes, I'm that lame. I almost cried over my notes because I was so happy that I knew something.

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