Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sorry, I'm probably a little too excited.  We have a turtle case this week.  Judging just from the picture we were given online on Monday (since we didn't have class,) I'm going to assume that the turtle our case was based off of has been subsisting on a diet of iceburg and ground beef. The poor guy's in terrible shape.  I did quite a bit into different nutrient deficiencies yesterday, as well as common viral and bacterial infections, and I should probably look into it even more today, just to be prepared.

Instead, I am completely side-tracked by random turtle stuff that is never going to find it's way onto the test, but is driving me batty.  Apparently, turtles (along with most reptiles, amphibians fish, and some birds) have one or more lymph hearts.  It's in such a wide variety of species, so it should be easy to find more information on, right?  No such luck.  Depending on which source I find, it either consists of smooth muscle, or skeletal muscle that resembles cardiac muscle in some ways (aargh, way to be completely non-specific, while covering all your bases!)  Nothing really describes the appearance - is it just constricted musclature around a lumen, or are there some forms of chambers? I found studies talking about the end diastolic volume in the lymph heart, so is that possible to have without chambers?  It seems pretty important - some studies I found showed that up to 20% of a turtle's plasma is contained in the lymph heart, and if it's disrupted or removed, it quickly leads to fatal edema - so why isn't there more information about this?  The most frustrating thing is many of the papers I'm finding were either written between 1880-1920, or cite papers that were that old.  I really need to just let it drop - I've already spent about 3 hours looking into it, and it's not going to help my grade in any way, but there's something about not being able to find a good answer that makes me reluctant to give up. 

Other than me wasting hours on something insignificant that I could have been using to do something useful, like review limb anatomy, this week's looking to be pretty freakin' fantastic.  I've got my VACS rotation on Thursday, which is hands down my favorite rotation - and this year, depending on how convincing we are that we know the surgical anatomy and procedures, we'll be able actually do parts of the spay/neuter surgeries.  This time we'll just be monitoring anesthesia and observing, but if all goes well, I should be able to get some decent hands-on experience during the last 3 rotations. 

We also have a reptile handling lab on Friday morning.  Last year's handling lab was kind of dissapointing, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this year's will be a little better. 

Anyway, since I'm on a reptile streak this week, this guy has been showing up on my porch for the last few days.  Anybody know what he is?  I'm thinking some sort of skink, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

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