Feline Allergic Bronchitis

Today is the Physiology test, and one of the questions is going to be about Feline Allergic Bronchitis (the professor said so and if he lied there will be killing).  Because of this, I have decided to write my model answer here, for all of you to read.  That’s right, all three of you get to read the answer that I am going to be writing again in a few short hours, that is how much I love you.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as my darling cat back home in the states has this condition.  My sweet Littl’un has been suffering from it for years, and is the main reason that I am so very good at administering pills to reluctant cats.  Littl’un was diagnosed using a history and chest x-ray, I don’t remember if blood work was done but it is highly likely.  She gets long acting shots once or twice a year when she gets really bad, and is managed with a steroid inhaler and steroid pills throughout the rest of the year.  The poor thing blew up like a balloon thanks to the side effects, but can breathe and we like her breathing.

Feline Allergic Bronchitis is a narrowing of the small passageways of the lungs due to increased sensitivity to an allergen.  The starting process for hypersensitivity begins with a particle encountered in the lungs.  This stimulates a normal immune response, eliminating the threat and setting up specific memory cells to guard against future attacks by that type of particle.  When that same particle is encountered again, the immune response is rapid and decisive.  In affected cats, it is also overblown.  The release of histamine leads to bronchoconstriction, an increase in mucus secretion, and an increase in capillary permeability (allowing more fluid to cross if not limited).  The immune response also increases the amount of prostaglandins, which leads to inflammation.  Esinophils (a type of white blood cell) act to prolong the airway injury by slowing recovery, they are jerks, and affected cats tend to have higher numbers of them hanging around.  The increased mucus secretion (accompanied by decreased cilia movement) causes mucus plugs to form, increasing resistance along the airways.

This immune response also contributes to an imbalance of sympathetic and parasympathetic signalling.  In a healthy animal, the two (which are in direct opposition) are in balance and the airway is open.  When the sympathetic side is stronger than the parasympathetic, the airways are even more open – this is the fight or flight response system.  When the parasympathetic side is stronger, the airways become constricted.  Parasympathetic stimulation causes smooth muscle in the small airways to contract which narrows the radius of the tubes.  Flow is inversely proportional to the radius to the fourth power, so even a very slight change in radius has drastic effects on flow rate.  This decreased radius also increases the velocity of the air passing through, which causes turbulence.  Turbulent air is less efficiently removed and causes problems with ventilation.

Overall, each of these things causes an increase in resistance across the airways which decreases flow of air.  In normal breathing, the diaphragm contracts to increase thoracic (chest) volume, and then relaxes to decrease thoracic volume.  When the chest volume increases it decreases the pressure surrounding the lungs, which causes air to rush in from outside (where the pressure is now higher).  When the chest volume decreases, the pressure inside the lungs increases (until it is higher than outside) and pushes the air back out.  When resistance is too high in the small airways, the passive action of the diaphragm moving is not enough to increase the pressure in the alveoli to overcome the pressure difference.  This triggers the cough reflex and air is forcibly removed by contraction of abdominal and thoracic muscles.

Treatment of this condition is based around opening airways.  Inhalers with steroids and bronchodilators are used for acute attacks, and maintenance steroid pills for longer term.  Steroids work by decreasing inflammation caused by prostaglandins during the immune response.  These are not the anabolic steroids used by athletes and body builders, they are corticosteroids that bind to receptors in cells to reduce inflammation.


Anatomy 1 Final Exam

Well, I survived it.  I will be scraping by with the 1/2 points given here and there, but I should pass.  With the impaired performance I should be ok and not need to sit the supplemental exam.  According to the scuttlebutt there has only ever been one supplemental exam for this class since this professor started teaching it, so that is in my favour.  I took the rest of the afternoon off, got coffee with a friend from my first year pre-vet, and played Skyrim on the Xbox that I got with my bestie last year.  Playing the game is mildly depressing, but I’m working through it.

Tonight was Halloween according to the calendar, so there were a handful of children coming to the door.  The first one I had to send away because I wasn’t expecting any and so didn’t have any candy.  The second set got my Haribo bears because I delved into my own private stash.  The third set didn’t get anything because I didn’t get up from my computer fast enough and they walked away.  All of them were pretty young children, no teenagers and no adults without kids.  It is definitely a different holiday out here.  Of course its also SPRING and so not really the Halloween spirit.  Ah well, no use winging about it.

Tomorrow is the hardcore Physiology study and possibly going to see my friend and his band (he’s a music student at UCOL) play a ‘Country’ gig.  At least they are covering Lady Antebellum for one of their songs which is more country than some of the other songs that I heard suggested for the set.  I won’t go if it is too late because I need my sleep, but the exam isn’t until the afternoon so I have some leeway.

Physiology Midterm 2

That test can die.  It can burn to death and then crawl into a hole and DIE.  There was way too much information and not nearly enough time to study it and definitely not enough time to actually take the test.  We will see how that turns out.  No use worrying about it anymore. Ska is the word of the day.

In better news, I got my Animal Handling test back today with a grade of 80%.  Definitely not bad for being sick for a full week of lectures and making up answers on the spot for parts of it.  It’s been a big confidence boost for just about everyone in the class.  For the question that I made up answers for half of it, I got 8/10 points.  I’m impressed with that alone.  It might be below average but I’m happy with it.  For the amount of study that I put in and the fact that one question was on something that I didn’t study at all, its a respectable grade.

Lectures today were sparsely attended as quite a few people chose to stay home and study rather than attend lectures that are relevant to the final exams.  I don’t understand that mentality at all. Why would you sacrifice your final grade for a few extra study hours on a midterm?  It makes absolutely no sense to me.  Then again one of my flatmates attends almost none of her lectures and is still passing so I guess its a viable strategy.  Just not the strategy I prefer since I tend to learn better when I hear information while reading it.

So in Animal Handling this morning we learned about sheep handling, which was the same as last year’s sheep handling but much quicker.  In Physiology there was more on respiration which included more math but still seems pretty straight forward.  In Anatomy there was more locomotion focusing on gaits of horses.

After Anatomy was RADIC (Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Club)  where we went through a few chest X-rays of dogs with various problems and then voted for next year’s club representatives.  Only one person ran for each position so it was an easy vote.

The test was two hours earlier than I expected so while I managed to study Endocrinology pretty well, I didn’t get anything done in Cardiology and only barely covered Histology last night.  During the test I left a few of the histology questions blank, but feel confident in about 80% of the answers, rushed through endocrinology but only guessed on about 20%, and gave myself extra time for cardiology where I guessed a good 50% of the answers.  Luckily cardiology was multiple choice so I have some chance of still getting it right.  I thought through as logically as I could each answer, we will see how it goes.

When I got home I comforted myself with another Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and Reel Big Fish.  Now it is bedtime.  Hopefully tomorrow isn’t too draining.

First day of classes

Today I woke up (not so) bright and (very) early.  I was ready to go by 7:30am, but the flatmate who was taking us all to class wasn’t ready until later.  I got a ride to school and even managed to not be late to my first lecture.  Take that stupid nightmares.


First lecture (Animal Behaviour, Handling, and Welfare) was pretty crusey, mostly an introduction to the program as a whole and the class more specifically.  Second lecture was Psysiology and we had intro stuff as well as a short lecture.  Third lecture was Biochem which was mostly introductory, and finally (and thankfully in the same building as the lecturer ran late) Anatomy.  I’m really excited about Animal Behaviour, and the Anatomy professor seems really nice.  I’m not so sure on the others.  Biochem shouldn’t be too difficult as I passed a 100 level biochem paper this time last year, but physiology seems like it might give me a bit of trouble.  Some of my earlier papers covered a bit of physio, but this is more in-depth and the professor has a monotone voice.


After classes there was a short break where my lonely introverted self had lunch all by my onsie.  Then there was an introduction EXTRAVAGANZA where just about every part of the vet school came out to congratulate us and tell us what to expect.  We all filed into a big lecture theater with the vet tech students and sat while we were talked to from 12:45 until about 3:00pm.  Informative if not entertaining.  After they were done talking at us they took our school pictures and we were released onto the world.


I got a ride home from my other flatmate’s partner and then settled in at my desk to wait for my bestie to come help me assemble my bookshelf.  He was about an hour later than expected since he fell asleep after I finished texting with him around 3:30 when I escaped from the photo session.  When he finally did arrive, we found that the bookshelf was broken.  As in the big long side pieces were snapped about a foot from the bottom.  Nothing we could do but get it exchanged for a new one.  Only problem was that I didn’t have my receipt.  We went to the Warehouse Stationary anyway to see if they could help me out.  They were able to look up my receipt on the computer since it was only just yesterday and the shelves were exchanged with no problem.


The new shelf was brought home and assembled in about 2.5 hours.  It is now hulking in the corner of my room at the end of my bed holding everything from my new loom to my dry groceries to my various bookly bits.  He also helped me assemble the smaller shelf to go next to my desk.  It is now holding various things that are small enough to fit on it.  I’m not very organised but it works for now.


Once the bookshelf was set up, I moved things off of my dresser and was able to put up the TV and Xbox.  Which means that I am now fully moved in.  No excuses.  Tomorrow the real study starts and I pack for VLE.  I won’t be able to post while I am away but I will try to remember to jot down little notes in a paper journal while I am away so that I can post a mondo-post-of-doom upon my return.


Now is time to get ready for bed.  Another early start tomorrow.

Last day before classes

Today started off wonderfully.  I slept all the way to my alarm, was warm and snuggled in my bed, bonded with the cat, all wonderful things.  I even had a lazy morning on the internet.  It all went perfectly until I decided that I needed a bookshelf.


I love books, in fact I may have a book addiction.  I have a hard time selling back books at the end of the semester.  I have books that I will likely never read again.  I have school books, leisure books, cook books, how to books, any kind of book.  None of which I can part with.  Out here in New Zealand my book collection is much smaller.  My kindle has given me the ability to hoard books in the aether where they take up much less space.  Unfortunately for my bookshelf needs, that means most of my books are honking huge text books.  Not just any text books, 2000 page biology text books and similar ilk.  I put all of my books into a large backpack that I own and it easily outweighed my two fully packed suitcases that I brought with me from home.  So when I go buy a bookcase, it needs to be sturdy, and large.


Around 3:00pm I texted my best buddy out here and had him come round with his station wagon.  We hung out for a bit and chatted and then I asked if he would be so kind as to go shelf shopping with me.  He is my enabler.


We first went to the Warehouse (which is kinda like Walmart for Kiwis) but their selection was not up to my standards.  Next stop was the Warehouse Stationary (where they have all kinds of things including desks, chairs, and bookshelves).  There I found a lovely 6ft+, sturdy, beach coloured monstrosity.  I was in love.  To be fair, I looked at all of the other offerings and concluded that none were as perfect for my under $100 budget.  After looking through them all my friend pointed out that they were having a sale and all of the shelves were 10-40% off.  With that knowledge, I picked up another smaller shelf to go next to my desk since I don’t have enough drawers for all of the things i want to put in it.  Hurray for organisation!  And all for under $100.


We asked a sails associate for assistance and purchased the hulking shelf-in-a-box and mini shelf-in-a-box and got it to the car.  Just slightly too long to fit laying flat, so the associate and my buddy turned it sideways and slid it between the front seats and it fit great.  popped the other one in beside it and we were ready to go.  Instead of heading home though, we wen’t to the market because my buddy wanted his “gas money” to be spent in candy.  After getting me a few things, and him his candy, we headed back to my flat.  As soon as we pull into the driveway I realise one terrible thing.  I forgot my key in my room.  We are locked out of the flat, and my flatmates won’t be home until late.  We tried the back doors but this place is locked down solid so I texted my friend who’s flat I had crashed at last week and she let me come stay till someone got home to let me in.  My buddy went home and promised to help me set up the bookshelf sometime later in the week.


At my friend’s place I hung out while she was cooking and met another future flatmate (when I move into that flat next year) who is the same year vet student as my friend (who I will call Hawaii).  The new person I will call Tennessee (in true Zombieland style).  Tennessee is really nice, he is also as much of a neat freak as Hawaii.  Living with them will be interesting to say the least.  After dinner, Hawaii took me back home and I greatfully put down my groceries and petted the cat.


Tomorrow classes start, I’m excited and nervous.  I really don’t want to screw this up.

Earth Girls are Easy

Managed to wake up this morning before my alarm (probably due to going to bed super early again last night) and get quite a bit done before noon.  One of my friends (who succeeded in being accepted to the program the first year that I tried) has been letting me crash at her flat while one of her flatmates is away.  She also found me a flat with other vet students that was looking for a flatmate for the semester to move into (which I will be doing tomorrow).  She has been a most gracious host, driving me places and finding me things.  Anyway, she took me to campus where I bought one text book and picked up my study guides from the printery.  After that we went to the warehouse so she could get a cover for her new futon she picked up yesterday.  Then the bike store, but the bike wasn’t ready so we crossed the street and bought food and then took Magnum the Chihuahua to the petstore for snackums.  Apparently vet students spoil their animals something chronic.  Finally we went back to the flat.

At some point while we were out, I mentioned needing a crock pot.  One of the vet students my friend knew was trying to sell a brand new one (never been out of the box) for $40 cheaper than I’d be able to get it at the store.  My friend arranged for us to go pick it up and I paid cash.  I now have a slow cooker for stews and such.  I am very pleased.

You may be wondering about the title of today’s post.  At some point in the afternoon my friend was bored and wanted to go rent movies.  So we drove to the video store and rented some classically terrible 90’s movies to watch while eating terrible american candy.  Then while discussing our favourite terrible 90’s movies she mentioned that she had previously ripped a copy of Earth Girls are Easy.  The name stuck in my head.  So there you have it, a reason for the title.

Tomorrow is moving day (hopefully) so I may not post until super late if I manage it at all.  Then comes the weekend, then first day of school.  I am pretty excited, though I have already had a dream about missing classes.

“Time Not Important, Only Life Important.”