I know I’ll be having a lot of these types of days in the near future, but today was just a lot of fail. Not in a totally horrible sense, but in general it was just frustrating.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning to get ready for class and to help my friends James and Belle get their dog for a pre-operative examination since we had a class at 7:30. This week our surgical procedure is a simple tartar removal procedure. Which you think would be easy to find here in the Philippines because you have tons of them running around the streets. But it’s not as easy as it seems.

Different Types of White Blood Cells

Getting this dog into a cage was not pretty and when I went to Pathology lab that morning, he broke out of the cage and almost escaped! After that, we figured the dog was not nice enough to perform tests on, so we opted to take my landlord’s dog Whitey into the surgery lab. Turns out that he didn’t have enough tartar on his teeth to run the procedure! At that point we had two hours before our surgery laboratory lecture started so we had to try to find another dog. My friend Andrea suggested that we could try one of her soccer coach’s dogs so James drove all of us to the place so we could take a look. There was a wonderful small white mix breed dog who was sweet and had lots of tartar on her teeth. But the owner informed us that she was pregnant and we aren’t allowed to use pregnant animals in our procedures. There was another dog (a Dachshund) that had some tartar as well, but had a nasty temperament. We ended up taking a huge boxer that had a decent amount of tartar but was indeed large and somewhat hyperactive.

This is what Ancylostoma looks like.  No wonder they're blood suckers, right?

I am the anesthetist for our procedure so it’s my job to run all of the preliminary examinations before the procedure. All physical examinations turned out well, but when I started examining the feces and blood I found many anomalies. In the fecal smear I performed I found some Ancylostoma ova (which are a type of parasite that are blood suckers). During my White Blood Cell count I found out that the dog (whose name was Uno) had an abnormally low count. I ran the test four times with different Thoma pipettes and different hemocytometers and it all came out the same. The lab technician even tried twice and the results came out similar. (If you want to know, the lowest range for WBCs in canines ranges around 11,500 cells/microliter. Our WBC counts for this dog came out around 6,300-6,500 cells/microliter, which is well below the normal WBC count). And since the WBC count was so low, it took me awhile to determine the Differential White Blood Cell count because there weren’t many WBCs to begin with in the smear I made. Turns out after my test that the dog has an abundance of lymphocytes as well.

A hemocytometer, which contains a counting chamber which you can use to count either red blood cells (RBCs) or white blood cells (WBCs).

To read WBC count on a hemocytometer, you count how many cells you see in the boxes with letters after mixing some blood with a specific WBC diluent in a WBC Thoma pipette.  Sum up the cells in those four boxes and then multiply by 50 and you have the total number of WBCs per microliter. Simple, no?

So what happens when you have a dog that has blood sucking parasites, a low WBC count (indicative of a possible viral infection) and an excess amount of lymphocytes? A dog that cannot be used for our procedure. So essentially, my team and I failed three consecutive times to find an adequate dog for a simple tartar removal! And we need to have one by Thursday afternoon. Aish, I wonder what the heck we are going to do…

And to add onto it all, I need to send pictures to my Physiology lab groupmates for our post-lab questions that are due tomorrow and my internet’s down! As I’m typing this I’m actually at an internet shop because I needed to get all of this stuff done.

Needless to say, that I’m exhausted today… just like yesterday. The only difference is that I am overly frustrated as well. Seems like a lot of things are going wrong today. The one thing good that happened was that the Physiology exam I was supposed to take was postponed for another week because our professor was not able to complete it due to her busy schedule. But that still pales in comparison to all of the “fail” we dealt with today.

Let’s just hope the rest of the week goes well. I’m crossing my fingers.

Physiology... III
The Days Just Keep Getting Longer!