Today was a tiring but productive day. I got up at 7:30 in the morning and was picked up by James at 8am to go to our college to meet up with the rest of our group for our morning of parasite collection. There my friends Jeza, Nini, Rosebelle, and Faye met up with us. Once everyone was there we distributed supplies. You know, things like fly nets, alcohol, plastic containers to put the specimens in and some RAID to help neutralize the specimen’s movements before we immersed them in the containers full of alcohol.
We split up into two groups to scan and collect parasites from four farms. James, Nini and Jeza were scheduled to collect from the IAS Swine Farm and also from the Tabon Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Those were places far from us so they had James’ car to travel there. Meanwhile, I headed a team with Faye and Rosebelle to get to the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and to the Dairy Research & Training Institute (DTRI). Those two were close to the college and were within walking distance, so we covered those two by foot. I put on my scrubs, some rubber boots, filled my backpack with insect repellent and some snacks and we headed on our way.
Faye and Belle and I decided to head to DTRI first, where we collected from mainly the different types of dairy cattle stationed there. Belle and I had the rubber boots on so we did most of the collecting. We scanned everything from the feces, the roughages given and even went into the pens to examine some of the animals. We found a lot of parasites, including some lice and ticks on one cow we found. Dairy cattle are usually quite docile so we were able to pick up a lot of different type of specimens from this one animal that seemed to have been infested around the vaginal/anal area.
The heat was killer, so after we hit up DTRI, we made it back on foot to the main route where we were able to pick up a pedicab (basically a person who rode a bike connected to a seat) to get to PCC. Once there we scanned the carabao for any type of parasites. Carabao are not as docile as dairy cattle, and with their huge horns and their somewhat aggressive temperament we were not able to get very close to them.
So we picked our targets and found a somewhat docile one eating. We found that there were many type of lice on the hairs on its back so Belle, Faye and I started picking them off the carabao and put them into the containers. We also found some flies that we could not identify and a distinctly green insect that we had not seen before in the lab. It’ll be exciting to see if it turns out to be a parasite as well.
After that, we got in contact with James’ group and found out that they were only done with one farm by the time we finished with both PCC and DTRI. We decided to all break for some grub. They picked us up and we went to lunch at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which has the nicest cafeteria in UPLB (in my opinion), and is conveniently located nearby Tabon, the farm the other group still had to hit up. After about four hours in the immense heat in our scrub suits, we sat down to a good lunch and a couple of cold sodas. (The meal tasted really good at that point… haha!)
After that I helped the other team at Tabon to collect from sheep and horses. Over there it was a kind of painstaking process since the only things we could find on the horses were flies and the only thing we could find on the sheep were very small (I’m talking very tiny) lice. Once we obtained 10 samples of each specimen we decided to call it a day and go home. We had been out in the hot sun for more than 6 hours by that point. I even took off my scrub top and worked in my undershirt for the duration of the visit since it was just too hot.
The rest of the group and I headed back to the college where we dropped Jeza and Nini off and then James and I headed to the local store to pick up some drinks. We were parched by that point and had pretty much used up our stocks of drinks in the last few days. Then I went home where I took a nap. It’s now around 6:45pm (I just woke up) and I’m going to be off to dinner with James in a bit. In the coming weeks we’ll be starting the process of mounting these specimens onto slides and displays for our presentations. We’ll be setting up an appointment with Dr. Baticados, one of the parasitology lab and lecture professors to help us with the procedure. So yes, we’re only partly done with this project… that just means we have more work to do! So that’s been my crazy day so far. I hope we don’t have to go back into the field anytime soon. Haha… Alright, I gotta head out to dinner. Until next time, see you guys on the flip side!