The internal medicine internship started in September. Since we did not have to assist during operations and anaesthesia, it was relatively easier than the surgery internship. The internal medicine internship allowed us to have more time and energy to learn basic examinations, such as measuring blood pressure and touching lymph nodes. We had to arrive at the clinic at 8:30 a.m. every morning. After preparing for what was needed for the clinic, we started to consult and perform physical examinations for patients at 9 a.m. Then, we reported the patient’s condition to the doctor.
The internal medicine clinics are divided into general internal medicine clinics, respiratory clinics, oncology clinics and behaviour clinics. The respiratory clinic is responsible for illnesses concerning cardiopulmonary function. Cardiopulmonary function tests and cardiac ultrasound are performed in the clinic. For the oncology clinic, as the name suggests, it is a tumour specialist and chemotherapy is performed in the clinic, while the behavioural consultation is to improve behavioural problems by training and drugs.
In the internal medicine clinic, blood tests, x-ray and ultrasound are done to improve the accuracy of differential diagnosis. Doctors patiently explain the reason for the examination to the pet owners. Thus, it is very important to learn how to make the pet owner better understand the various examinations. If it is not explained clearly, the owner may refuse some paid examinations, which may result in the animals not being able to get the most suitable treatment. After the examination, its results should also be explained to the pet owner in detail. For example, a blood test can tell whether the animal has anaemia, and whether its liver and kidney function and its body is inflamed or not; X-ray results can tell whether their lungs are abnormal, whether their organs are enlarged or shrunken, or whether there is a tumour; and ultrasound is a more careful examination of organs, such as the size of the kidneys and bladder, the thickness of the intestines, and even the condition of the organs. Therefore, each examination method has its own importance, and none of them can be replaced.
In this academic year, I took a course called independent study, which consists of a TNR day per month (basically means neutering day), taking care of stray animals and taking part in stifle joint research by the master students. Hence, it provides me with the opportunity to contribute to helping these little lives, which I have been really interested in.
As part of the curriculum of NTU, the way of us carrying out TNR resembles that of any other normal surgery in the animal hospital, therefore we could be able to learn the skills and knowledge in veterinary surgery and give a helping hand to the stray animals at the same time. That means, remarkably strict sterility, gas anaesthesia, etc are still involved in our TNR surgery. A single neutering surgery generally takes more than 2 hours (Indeed, in reality, many steps are in neutering stray animals and it usually lasts for half an hour for the sake of limited resources) Moreover, the teacher and the master students are really strict to us. Job assignment is based on the scores we obtained in the exam at the very start of TNR day. Still, I did learn a lot as a result, including anaesthetic medicines, side effects, sterility, procedures, tools, and skills, etc.