Kakato Scholarship 2020 October's Diary

This month I started shadowing in the rehabilitation and integrative medicine department of NTU vet hospital. This department mainly offers laser therapy, acupuncture and underwater treadmill training to help animals that have difficulty walking due to different kinds of injuries such as neurological or orthopaedic trauma. I have heard about acupuncture and underwater treadmill for dogs before in Hong Kong but it is my first time coming across laser therapy. It uses different wavelengths of laser to trigger the body cells to release more energy thus repairing the injury more quickly. It is easy to operate, safe and effective so I think that more vet clinics in Hong Kong should bring in laser therapy.

– Ernest Yu

This month, there is a new cat, named Xiao He, suffering from urogenital infection coming to our “independent study”. Xiao He was originally living in the shelter, but later on, was discovered that he was unable to pee on his own, so was sent to NTU animal hospital for treatment. As a result of the difficulty peeing, he was inserted with a urinary catheter so as to collect the urine. The nervous system, moreover, is injured, leading to paraplegia of both hind limbs. Later the biochemistry report revealed the infection of mould and bacteria in the penis, of which part of tissues even underwent necrosis.

On each day, we have to take shifts to take care of Xiao He. The jobs include cleaning the wound, replacing the bandaging, as well as electrotherapy and rehabilitation, in hopes of stimulating the nerves on the hind limbs. After weeks of care, prominent improvement is seen on Xiao He, such as healthy granulomatous tissues found on wounds at the penis. What’s more, instead of complete immobility, Xiao He now could manage to stand with 4 legs on his own, sometimes could even step forward with the hindlimbs! Seeing how Xiao He strives to improve, there is no more excuse for me to get lazy!

– Linda Lau

October was an internship in the section of Large Animal Disease and Economic Animal Disease and hospitalization, each lasting for two weeks.

For the section on Large Animal Disease and Economic Animal Disease, we were assigned to the shrimp farm in Yilan for one day. Our main task was to collect samples, carefully observe the size of the shrimp, the hardness of their shells, whether there were abnormal spots on the shell, the colour of the midgut gland and the tail, etc., And to understand the breeding methods and environmental observation of shrimp farms. After the journey, the pathology section had been analyzed and the report had been submitted to the owner of the shrimp farm. The internship format this time was very special. It let us know that veterinarians are not just the work format seen in clinics or hospitals.

After that was the internship in the hospitalization department. Our job was to take care of the hospitalized animals in accordance with the doctor’s instructions issued by the veterinarian, such as hot and cold compresses, feeding, walking, regular physiological index monitoring, etc. Working hours are 9 am to 9 pm and 9 pm to 9 am respectively. There were little differences between the morning shift and night shift, but there were less staff on duty in the night shift, so there was usually more workload. On the other hand, since we had to work overnight, we worked three consecutive days of day shift then followed by three consecutive days of the night shift. Adjusting the jet lag was one of the challenges. After getting used to the night shift then I had to adjust it back again. Also, there were no owners in the hospitalization department. There were only animals instead. This internship should be the closest form to my intention of becoming a veterinarian.

-Yoki Chau