Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Extracorporeal Shockwave 101

Fall 2013

The history of what we today know as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy or "ESWT" or often just "Shockwave" was actually first discovered in wartime. In the 1940s, during the course of World War II, submarine technology was being used quite extensively and submarine warfare was pretty common. One of the weapons used against submarines was what was called a "depth charge." It was found sometimes, that this weapon would leave submarines intact, yet the people aboard the ships had pretty serious injuries. Most notably, severe lung hemorrhages. It was found that these injuries were caused by incredibly strong sound waves.

So in the 1970s and 80s they decided to try to harness this energy for good and ESWT was born. I should probably mention that "Extracorporeal" means "outside the body" referring to the fact that its non-invasion. However, Shockwave's first uses in medicine (human or veterinary) were not of  musculoskeletal origin. Shockwave's first application in medicine was to break up large calcium oxalate stones in the kidney which could not be passed on their own. At this point in time, the only other option for such patients was surgery, so you can imagine how a non-invasive option, called "lithotripsy" in the case of it's use for kidney stones, was welcomed by many (because let's be real, who among us wouldn't go for the non-surgical option every single time, whether for ourselves or for our animals!)

It was noticed, during this time, that patients who were having shockwave treatments for kidney stones were also feeling the affects in other tissues (bone, cartilage, soft-tissue) and that it appeared that Shockwave had both analgesic and healing properties for some of these people. So they started looking at shockwave for musculoskeletal issues.

In the early days, the biggest problem with shockwave as a therapy was that the intensity of the waves was very high in early machines and wasn't particularly adjustable. General anesthesia was used for kidney stone patients, which seems worth it if it meant a chance at avoiding surgery. However, for a therapy, anesthesia adds a whole extra layer to the equation and when looking at it in terms of a cost benefit analysis, the risks of anesthesia often seemed to outweigh the potential gains received from shockwave as a form of therapy.

Thankfully, today's machines have intensity that is significantly more adjustable and anesthesia is not necessary. Therefore, Shockwave has really started to grow in popularity. While more research is being done, the idea is that a powerful acoustic (sound) wave is aimed at a specific, concentrated area, and, in turn, the waves increase cell growth and circulation, which leads to increased healing.

The vet that I work for, uses Shockwave a lot in her practice for both equine and canine patients a like, and has seen a great deal of success in it helping said patients. We tend to use it the most for soft tissue (tendon/ligament) issues, though we certainly have used it for healing in bone and cartilage.

Obviously, its not a be-all-end-all cure, by any sense of any one's imagination, but we've seen some really awesome success. Just something to keep in mind to talk to your vet about should such a need ever arise. It's a really interesting concept and I find the story of how it came to be rather fascinating. Just something I was thinking about because we had an equine shockwave case on Sunday...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Equine Affaire 2015

It was almost an Equine Affaire-less year for me...it would have been the first in a very long time. It's just a weird year...a transition year from a life that was all horses all the time to one that has other interests and goals and commitments. It's a strange thing...plus, my usual EA partner-in-crime, Margy, got stuck working this weekend. Nevertheless, I was still tempted to drive over for Jane Savoie's clinic on Sunday. I must have mentioned this to the fabulous ladies at work and they said they would be going today and asked if I'd like to go. So I did and had a great time! The company was fabulous and we laughed and it was a really fun EA...prob one of my best ever...and the only money I spent in all that glorious shopping was a $4 bumper sticker...my how things have changed haha!

I'm going to help Doc with a shockwave case tomorrow and then back to school for 24 more days...finals are coming fast, but then, so is summer (we just won't talk about all the work that needs to get done before then!)! It's going to be a busy one...so looking forward to it!!!



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kenai's Surgery

The blogging community is a wonderful place and I've been lucky to meet some really amazing people since I started blogging in '10. One of those really awesome people is Liz from over at In Omnia Paratus. Liz is a fellow West Virginian and Mountaineer, and we've been blogging for roughly the same amount of time. I'm sure most of you wonderful people read her blog (if not, get to it!)...you know that Liz is a super caring person with some pretty awesome animals.

Liz's  original partner-in-crime is her Husky, Kenai. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Kenai when I visited Liz last fall, and he's such a sweet sweet boy and it's oh so clear that he truly enjoys the active lifestyle he lives with his Liz. Unfortunately, Kenai is having his third surgery is two years at VMRCVM in the coming weeks...and that's where we come in!  Us bloggers gotta stick together and I can't think of any two individuals who deserve a little bit of help more than Liz and Kenai...

Saiph, over at Wait For The Jump, started a GoFundMe page (FIND IT HERE) to contribute to Kenai's surgery. You and I both know that every little bits helps and it all adds up!

 Lets get Kenai back on his feet and back out there adventuring with his favorite human!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Seven Years.

Seven years ago today, this amazing mare entered my life and changed it forever. There's not a day that goes by, that I'm not so incredibly thankful. I am who I am, in large part, because of that wonderful wonderful horse. I miss her every single day...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

#ThrowbackSunday Happy Easter!!!

I didn't actually go home for Easter this year...I was just home for Spring Break and I have a ton of work to get done (we are getting awfully close to the end of the semester...). Kinda lonely, I won't lie, but that's life for ya!

I was being all sentimental and reminiscing...I found these pictures from Easter two years ago...oh how the time flies! I remember when fellow boarder, K, told me to put those ears on...I thought she was crazy lol but it's these kinda a pictures that make me laugh and remind me of all the good times I had with that fabulous mare. Wouldn't trade my memories for anything in the world!

The best part is Missy's expression in these pictures..."Oh the indignity!" haha

Happy Easter, my friends, hope you are spending it with those you love. Nuzzle some muzzles for me.

This is what I am having fun with today...because I have two exams this week:/ 

32 days until summer break!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fear, Riding, and Lessons Learned

Not the subject of this post...this mare taught me an insane amount, though...

There has only been one occasion in my life when I've been scared to get on a horse. Part of this is, I'm just not naturally a very fearful rider, part of this is I'm just young and stupid, and part of this is that even the greenest horses I've been around have at least been mostly sane...if not, I just say no. I have a pretty firm grasp of what I can and cannot handle and I have zero desire to ride dangerous horses.

So that one occasion involved a pony. Long time readers have heard this story (because I was writing this blog when I was also riding this pony...this was several years back, in the earliest stages of this blog, before I even owned Missy). It was at this point in my life that I did NOT have a firm grasp of what I could and could not handle and I often let peer pressure dictate my decisions (the perils of youth).

So this pony... He was a medium size, cute little B and W gelding...I think he was 4 going on 5 and very very very green. I was working at a barn back then and had a lot of different jobs, from stall cleaning to being a pony camp instructor to being a drag guide on the trails. Jack of all trades, master of none.

My boss wanted to use this pony as a drag horse and he had been designated as my summer project. In the beginning, things were fine...but that really didn't last long. He became very very hard for me to control on the trails and even started bolting in the arena,to the point that no amount of anything would get him stopped, to top it off he wasn't very balanced so I was terrified that he would just trip and fall over when galloping around like an idiot at top speed.

I was terrified of this horse, but too scared of my boss to say anything, so I kept getting rides on him. The last straw should have been when he ran away with me down trail and dumped me in some bushes, completely scraping up my face, but the REAL last straw didn't happen until the end of that summer, when he bolted and I sustained a pretty serious concussion. To this day, I have no memory of really any part of that day. Never rode that damn pony again after that, but the fact of the matter is, it should never have come to the end that it did. I've thought about that summer and that pony many times since then and for the life of me the only thing I could have done differently was said NO, but I didn't...I learned that lesson a very hard way.

I said all this to get to this point. I know MANY riders, both those who own horses and those who don't, who struggle with fear issues...and a lot of it has to do with the horse they are riding (though not always). They aren't having any fun, they are scared to get on the horse, but yet they keep on keepin' on with said horse. Why?!

Now, I'm not one to throw in the towel easily...I'm pretty hard on myself and anything I deem to be "failure-eque" is not easily accepted (even when, in reality, it isn't even remotely close to failure), but I truly feel bad for my friends who are in this kind of situation because there ARE horses out there that will build your confidence instead of destroying it. You CAN love riding and not be constantly fearful. IT IS A THING.

No one should have to learn this lesson the way I did either...yeah things happen with horses, but there is a huge difference between a freak incident ('cause at the end of the day, horses ARE horses) and something that was a long time coming and could have been prevented.

Just like in any relationship, you shouldn't have to settle. You deserve better, you do.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Observation:

 One day while I was working over spring break, Dr. J  was having a conversation with one of her clients about feeding her dog. Doc asked said client how much she was feeding the overweight pooch and the client really didn't have any idea how much the dog was eating...she, as SOOOO many people do, would just stick a big bowl of food on the ground and refill it every time it was empty. Dr. J was trying to convince said client to work on changing the dog's diet and to start feeding him a couple separate times a day instead. She said something like "he's not a cow after all, he doesn't need to eat all day, everyday."

Something  just totally went off in my head and after the consult, I was chatting with Dr. J and I said "you know, I've never thought about it before, but there's some irony to how us humans feed our animals. With horses, we try to feed them meals twice a day with a bunch of grain when they should be constantly eating forage as hind-gut fermenters. But then with dogs we just want to leave food out and let them eat and eat and eat, even though it's better for them to be fed in meals..."

She laughed at me and said, "pretty messed up, isn't it?"

Yeah, that's humans for ya. Screwing things up.

Moral of the story? Stop trying to feed your horse like a dog and your dog like a horse:)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How To Fit a Four Year Degree Into Three

May 2011

The first and most important requirement is that you must be either A) Crazy or B) Stupid lol

I guess first, I should give a little background. This was never my plan. When I started taking college classes my freshman year of high school it was mostly with the idea that "ehhh I'll just take some harder classes." I really didn't have an end goal at fifteen. Really, the only thing I cared much about was horses and it actually came at a great shock to me when I passed my first AP exam (seriously, learn to stop underestimating yourself wayyy sooner than I did. You won't regret it).

I finished high school with 28 college credits, but to be completely honest I had absolutely no clue what that meant. I pretty much just took the classes that were available to me, I didn't really consider how they would translate later. Turns out, I came to college with all but one GEC (general education curriculum...AKA the really boring classes you have to take before getting into your major) class covered. It seriously could not have worked out better in my favor.

At my advising meeting last semester my adviser brought up the fact that many of the vet schools do not actually require  an undergraduate degree to be accepted as long as you have the prerequisite classes completed. While that didn't really appeal to me because I do want a degree (I don't know, just something about finishing something that I've started...), it did get me thinking. I wonder if I could finish my degree in three years?

One of the biggest factors for me is that I would HAVE to do it in fall and spring terms only. No summer classes for this girl. Not only would that be the most sure-fire way to burn myself out, but I have to work in the summers both for financial stability and for veterinary hours (many people don't realize that vet schools require extensive experience before they are likely to accept a DVM candidate: there are stories out there of 4.0 students not getting into vet school because they have fabulous grades and not much else).

So I sat down at my computer and powered up Degree Works (basically a beautiful program that lists all the classes I need to finish my degree and checks them off as I go) and also the prerequisite pages of some of the vet schools (I've looked at every single vet school on the East Coast and several on the West Coast and have managed to narrow "my schools" down to four: The Ohio State University, Virginia-Maryland, Mississippi State, and Tufts). This is the part where I tell you the second very smart thing I did without really realizing it: to get into vet school you don't *have* to be a certain major, as long as you have the prerequisites. You could major in Music Appreciation if your heart so desired. Originally I was planning on being a Biology major. But one very brave day last summer, I changed my mind and switched it to Animal Science (and then DIDN'T tell my parents this until a couple months ago...haha).

Prerequisites for OSU:

Mississippi Prerequisites:

 This, along with my AP credits is what is allowing my plan to work. A degree in Animal Science and the prerequisites for Veterinary School are pretty much one in the same . If I had stayed in Bio there would have been no way this would work...but, like I said, I really wasn't thinking in this frame of mind when I made that decision.

The last big hurdle has really just been mental. Can I physically handle this? And the answer, I am learning, much to my shock, is yes. My motto is that I don't have to be the smartest, I just have to work the hardest, and this philosophy has panned out pretty well for me. I don't care to compare my intelligence to the other people around me. It doesn't matter if I'm smarter than them or they are smarter than me. I just work damn hard and get the grades. My schedule has worked so that I'm really only looking at 16-18 hours per semester for the next four semesters, which is totally doable (Except right now, right now I have 19).

Here's my schedule (work of art that which it is) in case your feeling curious haha

By the way...I definitely pick crazy;)