Extended Project: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

I am currently working on my Extended Project Qualification, and thought it would be interesting to let my blog followers know about what my subject area is. I am writing around both the science and ethics of BSE in cattle and it’s transmissible properties to humans which go on to progress to the human prion causing disease CJD. After much research into BSE I have found a variety of theories that were proposed around the time, one in particular caught my eye with determination and will power as intriguing and admirable characteristics. This is a theory proposed by the organic farmer Mark Purdey, whom believed that one of the causes of BSE in cattle was organophosphates which contained Phosmet. He knew that this OP was administered along the spine of the cow, and was designed to penetrate the spinal cavity of the cow producing a poisonous environment against the marble fly.

Unfortunately this theory underwent such dismissal by the scientific community and after reading ‘Animal Farm’ by Nigel/Mark Purdey I have realised the amount of effort and research this man put into such a concerning matter. I urge any one who is interested in Veterinary Medicine or in fact Human Medicine for the fact CJD is linked within the BSE enquiry to read this book and to read around topical issues such as BSE as there is constantly important breakthroughs that intrigue and enthuse me.The theory was that this OP was causing biochemical changes to some of the protein structures within the nervous and spinal tissue of cattle, in particular it was the Prion protein that is discovered to have been the cause for the neuro-degenerative property of BSE. Purdey proposed OP as causing a misfolding of the prion protein causing it to have infectious properties.download

5th August 2013: Agnew Equine

I have been call all day with the equine vet from Agnew Veterinary Clinic, it was absolutely fantastic and really has widened my knowledge around the equine area.  I saw various call outs some of these included;

  • My first call out was unfortunately to two euthanasia’s on two old horses, although a sad situation I appreciated the fact that this is something vital that I needed to see and found it very interesting. The vet administered a local sedative before injecting with barbiturate overdose.
  • The second call out was a horse that required it’s tetanus and influenza vaccination, the tetanus vaccination after a course of 3 injections over the period of around 200 days can be given every other year where as the influenza vaccine must be administered every year. Other vaccines that can be recommended is herpes which is common among pregnant mares.
  • The next call out was to a livery/breeding stables which was having some of its foals wormed and micro chipped and pass ported, it is absolutely vital that each horse has its own passport for identification purposes. Restraining the foals proved a difficult and strenuous task but once micro chipped felt fully rewarding.
  • We then made our way to a horse that had swelling on its cannon bone, although not showing considerable lameness the vet administered some antibiotics as the owner wanted peace of mind before going on holiday.
  • The final call was to a horse with a rather serious open wound on the inner elbow; the vet assessed the wound and found it went right down to the bone. To diagnose whether or not surgery would be necessary the vet pressed a needle into the other side of the elbow to look if the saline solution flowed through the wound as this would mean that infection will have spread to the cartilage and bone. Luckily this was not the case and this could be treated by flushing the wound and a lot of bandaging.

31st July 2013

31st July 2013

Consultations seen:

  • Dog came in with complaints of irritation to the ears, the vet inspected this and found a minor infection and treated the ears with hexirinse and a course of anti-biotics.
  • Routine kennel cough and vaccinations were given to a variety of dogs.
  • A cat brought in for leukaemia vaccination, but was also found to have servere tar tar build up on its teeth, and required a rescale and tooth removal.

Surgery seen:

  • A cat with a wound on the left hind leg was taken for an x-ray and was found to have a pellet within the arm pit area. It was found out disturbingly that this cat had been shot at with an air gun and required immediate surgery to remove the air gun pellet that had travelled through some of the nerves.
  • A dental was performed on an old cat which required constant monitoring through anaesthesia due to thepr_2045_main1 cat’s old age.

30th July 2013

Consultations Seen: 

  • Routine checks, vaccinations and Aller-vet injections were administered.
  • One dog was brought in with complaints of biting its caudal end after recently being groomed. This can affect the way dogs act having more fur removed etc, however in this case it was in fact due to the anal glands of the dog being full and quite infected. The vet emptied the anal glands and put the dog an injection of synulox(an anti-bacterial injection)
  • An ultra-sound was taken on a cat that has a heart murmur, using various positions of the probe the vet found that the heart was thickened dramatically and the cat required further drug treatment for this.

29th July 2013

Consultations seen:

  • 3 rabies injections on 3 dogs that will be traveling abroad, the chips were tested and confirmed as this is vital if dogs are to travel out of the UK. There is also a 30 day period after the rabies injection before animals are able to travel.
  • 2 boxers examined because of their epulis over growing in their mouths, one of these boxers had a difficult temperament and also had It’s cornea scratched by cat and require surgery
  • A cat was brought in for an eye biopsy.
  • A Manchester terrior was examined and was found to have enlarged prostates, and required a castration.

Surgery Seen:

  • Mammary Strip Removal of a medium sized dog, various lumps had been found within the mammary strip and with the risk of cancer being considerably high the decision was made to remove both mammary strips. However due to the close proximity of both mammary strips, they were done in 2 separate operations with a separation period of about 4 weeks to allow the skin to heal before the other mammary strip can be removed.
  • 2 boxers were brought in with over-grown Epulis(this is particularly common within the breed of boxers), this is an overgrowth of the gum tissue within the mouth. Epulis is a benign growth of the gum tissue, which begins as small bumps on the gums and continues to grow, sometimes becoming cauliflower-like and almost enveloping some of the teeth” Due to the benign quality, this does not spread to different areas but cannot be left due to the risk of bacteria entering the sight and causing infection. The dogs is put under general anaesthesia and the over growth is simply cut away with a surgical blade.
  • One of the boxers that had its epulis trimmed was also found to have had a scratched cornea (corneal ulcer: ophthalmology) due to a cat attack. The first layer of the cornea known as the epithelium and was treated using a special instrument that removes the ulcer without damaging the eye.diamond-burr-web
  • The dog with the enlarged prostates was castrated; this was a fairly quick operation and luckily had no complications.

20th July 2013

Consultations seen: 

  • Wolfhound from last week was brought back in and overall looked to be a lot better in his self. He was given another injection of Rocephin.
  • A miniature poodle was brought in, the owner informed us that it had been throwing up and also had diarrhoea. The vet checked the temperature and diagnosed the poodle with a strong case of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, usually stomach and intestines. It can be caused by bacterial infection, viral infection or an allergic reaction to certain foods. The poodle was given an anti-bacterial injection of Synulox and put on a small course of anti-biotics.
  • gastritis_2_2009_2We had regular customers throughout the day bringing their dogs to routine vaccinations and Aller-vet injections which I have mentioned in previous posts.
  • A severely obese Jack Russell came in for a routine check on its heart problem; this brought to my attention the importance of diet to a dog. As this dog weight was putting pressure on its heart to the point it was killing him and the worrying thing is the amount of owners who are not aware of the damage their perceived kindness is doing to their pets.

13th July: Work Experience

Consultations seen:

  • Today an old irish wolfhound was diagnosed with pneumonia after an ultrasound of the lungs. Some symptoms of Pneumonia in wolfhounds include; difficulty breathing, continual coughing, high temperatures and the lungs being clear on an x-ray.
  • An English bulldog with severe dermatitis. Dermatitis can also be referred to as hot spots with constant exposure to sun causing further inflammation. The dog was treated with extra doses of steroid and anti-inflammatories.hotspot_on_dog
  • One of my most interesting and exciting veterinary observations was today as I went on call with the vet today to a Rhea owner whom had one of its Rheas put to sleep as the joint had become very septic. The vet did propose the possibility of antibiotics but explained that this condition would be incurable and would keep reoccurring.  The area on the photo that I have circled is where the septic wound was on the Rhea that I saw.


29th June 2013

Consultations seen:

  • Gave my first injection today of Synulox (which is an anti-bacterial infection and aims to prevent further infections) to a dog that had just been x-rayed and was diagnosed with narrow airway disease.
  • Dog came in with an Alopecia which has caused hair loss on both the dog’s nose and the dog’s tail (commonly known as rat tail) diagnosed with Alopecia areata. The typical course of treatment for allergies consists of antihistamines and the elimination of the allergens

- External parasites will make the dog scratch and lick the irritated skin and the hair loss is self-inflicted. However, if the dog is allergic to the parasite bites, he may lose hair in the affected areas

-  A ringworm infection, which is caused by fungi and will cause round shaped bald patches

-  Thyroid gland function issues and the production of thyroid hormones in excess. The hair -becomes easy to pull out and the dog will often chew on his coat, leading to bald patches

-  Allergic reactions to various inhalants or topical creams and shampoos

-  Stress, which can make the dog inflict hair loss

-  Cushing’s disease, which is an abnormal function of the adrenal glands

-  Treatment with certain drugs such as chemotherapy.

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  • Shia Tzu came in struggling to breathe and constantly wrenching, the vet then carried out an xray. This confirmed his thoughts that the dog had narrow airway disease. Its treatment as yet is under question.
  • Dog brought in that had had all of its claws removed in a previous surgery, two of the areas where the claws had been removed has begun to grow back with keratin. The vet suggested removing them surgically and explained that the dog had recovered successfully and this was to be expected.

15th June 2013


Saturday 15th June 2013


  • A duck was brought in having swallowed a hook attached to a fishing line.  The duck was put to sleep (which proved to be a difficult task as the vet was stuck between putting the duck to sleep enough to operate and not overdosing the duck of anathesia enough to kill it) The vet made a small incision into the neck of the duck and went about removing the hook, before suturing up the incision, an antibiotic was administered shortly after to ensure no further infections were caused.


  • Dog came in having a limp on its left leg, the vet then felt at the ligament and decided upon an x-ray to be booked for the following week.


  • Another dog came in with supposedly painful anus (and was continually scratching and rubbing its rear end on the floor); the vet investigated the anal glands of the dog and saw that they were relatively inflamed. The vet also came to the conclusion that there was a possibility that the dog had anal cancer, as the anus had closed up and had made excretion exceptionally difficult. The vet recommended surgery in which the tumour would be removed. Anal Absceses

8th June 2013


  • Dog given Allervet injections, is close to the course being fully over now and have made excellent progress on the treatment.
  • King Charles came in for x-ray and was found to have had hip dysplasia, along with damage to the spinal cord. Due to the age of the dog and the absence of insurance the vet is administrating pain relief to comfort the dog.
  • Dog come in that has a gingivitis-complex and is being treated with anti-inflammatory injections to ease the soreness along with Metacam for paPet library - hip dysplasia x-ray norm & dysplasiain relief.
  • Cat came in to have its blood pressure checked, I assisted in checking the blood pressure which was of 120 and was seen to be an improvement from earlier high recordings.