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Methods Draft

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 19:58

Phytophagy is the act of consuming plants. This can be done in many ways and evidence of this is all around us. Right here on campus at the University of Massachusetts, phytophagy is present in the form of insects consuming leaves. On a warm sunny day in fall around 4:00pm on a Friday I left the BCRC room in Morrill Science Center III south by taking a right down the hallway. At the end of the hallway I took a left and then a left again through a big heavy door into the stair well that has the walls painted with various themes of science. I walked to the bottom of the stair well and opened the door to a new hallway where I took a left. I went through a set of doors, down a short set of stairs and through the last set of doors finally stepping outside. I walked down the side walk to the left and then went down the first set of stairs on the right. I walked down the short set of stairs and crossed the crosswalk located at the bottom of the stairs. I was sure to look both ways before crossing the street and made sure no cars where coming. Once across the street I walked across the east lawn heading towards the library tower. At the edge of the campus pond there are two granite benches. The bench on the left is located between two trees. The tree on the right in-between the two benches has a small shoot growing from the base f the adult tree. Halfway up this shoot is a leaf that has three large wholes in the center of the leaf almost in a clover shape. It also has two smaller holes towards the apice of the leaf one on each side of the main venation of the leaf. On the left side of the leaf there is a series of holes in what looks like a “cancer ribbon” shape. In my left hand I held the leaf and a ruler on the inches side to show that the leaf is approximately 2 inches long which is approximately 5 centimeters. I held the leaf and measured it with the stem to the left and the apice to the right. I took the picture with my phone.

Swamp Sparrow Perfect Paragraph

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 19:36

The Melospiza georgiana, more commonly known as the swamp sparrow, resides in sedge swamps that include cat tails, tussocks and various shrubs. Swamp sparrows eat insects and seeds and can be found foraging on mud at the edge of the water, as well as flying from shrub to shrub; often shrubs are no more than 1.5-2 meters high. They can be found in New England year-round and breeding occurs sometime between April and June.

 Male swamp sparrows singing attracts females to mate. Males will attract a mate to a territory that to which he claims. The male will chase out any intruding males within his territory, often with the help of his female. During the spring months, swamp sparrows can be observed gathering materials for nest making, copulating, and foraging within their territories. Swamp sparrows tend to build their nests off the ground in a low growth shrub. They cover their nest with grasses to camouflage it. With the nest being a little higher than ground level, there’s plenty of room for the water level in the swamp to rise and fall as precipitation occurs. Swamp sparrows usually lay between 4-5 eggs in a nest. Only females incubate the eggs while the male brings food to the female.

After the eggs have hatched, usually after 12-13 days of incubating, both males and females will feed the young. The young are altricial, meaning they are extremely vulnerable, unable to walk, fly or feed themselves. The young may leave the nest after about 10-13 days after hatching. Swamp sparrows may have up to two broods during a season.

Venipuncture

Submitted by nskinner on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 22:16

To draw blood from a canine patient from the cephalic vein you must first gather the supplies you need to collect the samples. You need isopropyl alcohol, a syringe and needle combination; usually with a 22g needle, and the proper tubes to put the sample in. Second, put the patient in proper restraint. A technician should be holding the patient and occluding the vein of either one of the front legs. The technician drawing the blood should then wet the area over the cephalic vein with isopropyl alcohol. With gloved hands you should then be able to feel the cephalic vein by tapping and rolling your finger over the area where the vein should anatomically be; which is usually half way between the paw and the elbow on the cranial side of the leg. You should then uncap your needle. While holding the leg in your non-dominant hand you should use your dominant hand to insert the needle, bevel up, into the vein. A flash of blood should appear in the hub of the syringe. You should then gently and slowly pull back the plunger of the syringe; blood should fill the syringe. Once you have the desired amount, which for most dogs is usually going to be about 3ml, you can place gauze over the area where the needle had entered the skin quickly after removing the needle from the skin. The person restraining the dog should then take over holding the gauze and applying pressure to stop the bleeding. The technician that has just drawn then blood should recap the needle using a one hand technique for safety and remove the needle from the syringe. You should then uncap the desired tubes to place the blood in and plunge the blood slowly into the tube. Replace the cap to the tube.By removing the cap of the tube rather than piercing the tube you avoid hemolysis of the sample. If the tube requires inversion, invert the tube as needed. You then should dispose of the syringe and needle in a sharps container. At this point most patients can now remove the gauze from their leg. If there is still bleeding, you can apply a pressure bandage for about 10 minutes.  

Common Cold

Submitted by nskinner on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 19:57

It seems that every year at the start of a new semester there is a cold that gets circulated throughout the entire school community. The common cold usually consists of congestion, cough, sore throat, rhinorrhea, and low-grade fever. Most common colds are caused by rhinoviruses and often caused by contaminants on the hands rather than airborne aerosols. The cold is usually caught 1-2 days after being exposed to the pathogen. Common colds typically are resolved within a week but not before reaching a peak at about 3-4 days after becoming symptomatic.

            Not smoking, being exposed to preschool at a young age, drinking red wine, and reducing physiological stressors can all help prevent an individual from contracting the common cold. Surprisingly, after conducting a fair amount of research it has been discovered that vitamin C intake does not seem to help reduce the length of colds. In some studies, daily vitamin C intake, especially natural intake through diet rather than supplementation, seemed to decrease the amount of colds a person caught during cold season.

            The common cold has been a bit of a mystery when it comes to treatment. Still to this day, the only real treatments are treating the symptoms rather than the virus itself. Antihistamines are used to reduce sneezing. Anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, like ibuprofen, are used to help decrease inflammation and pain in areas like the throat or sinuses. Nasal decongestants can be used to help with congestion. So remember, as the first semester of school goes on, wash your hands.  

Kombucha

Submitted by nskinner on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:58

Kombucha is a fermented tea, usually black or green tea, that has a very low alcohol content of less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. In many cases, it is used for supplemental or medicinal purposes and due to the low alcohol content is commercially sold in many grocery and convenient stores. Kombucha is fermented with several different species of yeasts and acid bacteria such as such as Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium gluconicum, Saccharomyces ludwigii, Saccharomyces apiculatus varieties, Schizosaccaromyces pombe, Acetobacter ketogenum , Torula varieties , Pichia fermantans (Gharib, 2009). Research has shown that the organic acids, enzymes, and vitamins produced by the fermentation process have some health benefits. Kombucha may aide digestion, avert cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation, aide in immune support and even divert some forms of cancer. Overall, kombucha is a new health fad that has some research to support its health benefits.

 

Gharib, Ola Ali. "Effects of Kombucha on oxidative stress induced nephrotoxicity in rats." Chinese Medicine, vol. 4, 2009, p. 23. Gale OneFile: Health                      and Medicinehttps://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A213497834/HRCA?u=mlin_w_umassamh&sid=HRC.... Accessed 17 Sept. 2019.

Swamp Sparrows

Submitted by nskinner on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 19:10

The Melospiza georgiana, more commonly known as the swamp sparrow, resides in sedge swamps that include cat tails, tussocks and various shrubs. Swamp sparrows eat insects and seeds and can be found foraging on mud at the edge of the water as well as flying from shrub to shrub; often shrubs are no more than 1.5-2 meters high. They can be found in New England year-round and breeding occurs sometime between April and June.

 Male swamp sparrows sing which attract female mates. Males will attract a mate to a territory that to which he claims. The male will chase out any intruding males within his territory, often with the help of his female. During the spring months, swamp sparrows can be observed gathering materials for nest making, copulating, and foraging within their territories. Swamp sparrows tend to build their nests off the ground in a low growth shrub. They cover their nest with grasses to camouflage it. With the nest being a little higher than ground level, there’s plenty of room for the water level in the swamp to rise and fall as precipitation occurs. Swamp sparrows usually lay between 4-5 eggs in a nest. Only females incubate the eggs while the male brings food to the female.

After the eggs have hatched, usually after 12-13 days of incubating, both males and females will feed the young. The young are altricial, meaning they are extremely vulnerable, unable to walk, fly or feed themselves. The young may leave the nest after about 10-13 days after hatching. Swamp sparrows may have up to two broods during a season.

Daily Routine

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:26

Morning Routine: 8am-10am

  • I woke up
  • I grabbed my dogs’ leash and put her collar on and walked my dog
  • Brushed teeth
  • Fed all my pets
  • Made a cup of coffee and drank coffee
  • Replaced the seat to my bike
  • Showered
  • Got dressed for work
  • Made myself a lunch to bring to work.

Errands 10:00am-10:20am

  • Drove to PetSmart.
  • Stopped at PetSmart along the way.
  • Purchased bird seed at PetSmart

Work Routine 10:20am-8:45pm

  • Drove to work
  • Clocked in at work
  • Started to look at appointments on my schedule
  • Saw several appointments
  • Took lunch
  • Saw more appointment
  • Cleaned the hospital treatment area
  • Drove home

Nightly Routine 8:45pm-11pm

  • Showered again
  • Ate dinner
  • Wrote for about 30 minutes for this class.
  • Watched Netflix
  • Went to bed

 

My morning routine starts with waking up and ends with getting ready for work. In between those activities are various things that I need to get done every morning as well some as to-do list activities that get done occasionally. On Thursday morning this week I woke up naturally without an alarm clock at about 7:00am. I brushed my teeth. The first thing I do every morning after brushing my teeth is grab my dogs’ collar and leash and put them on her and take her for a walk. I then go back inside with her and take her leash off. I feed her, my cats, my birds, and lastly my tortoise. I then made a cup of coffee from a pot of coffee that was already made by someone else and drank it. Once I finished my cup of coffee I went out to my garage and replaced the seat to my bike with tools that were located in the garage. I then went back into my house and showered. After showering, I got dressed in my scrubs for work. It then packed my lunch by grabbing a tuber ware of left overs out of the fridge and putting it in my work bag.

Tortoise Care

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:52

Owning a pet tortoise is a long-term commitment. Many species of tortoises live to be 50+ years in age including horsfields tortoises. The first thing you need for a horsefields tortoise is a habitat to live in. It should be at least the equivalent to a 40-gallon tank size. Tortoise boxes, which are wooden boxes with a mesh top designed for tortoise habitats are preferred. Glass tanks can be confusing to the tortoise since they like to burrow and may dig at the bottom or sides of a glass tank for hours not getting anywhere. This can lead to stressing the tortoise and stress can lead to bad health. The substrate in the habitat should be something the tortoise can dig into. It should not have too many rocks pebbles and sand should be avoided so the tortoise does not scratch up the bottom of its shell. Coconut fiber substrate works well because it soft but still good for digging and burrowing. It is holds in moisture better than sand substrate which is ideal for the humidity requirement of 50% that the tortoise needs. The coconut fiber substrate is also, in most cases, digestible in case the tortoise accidently ingests some while eating. Tortoises should have a bowl to eat out of so that they do not ingest their substrate. They should also have a water bowl that I big enough for them to walk into and submerge about half of their body in water. Water should be changed daily since tortoises often soak themselves and defecate or urinate in the water. The habitat should also have a hot side and a cool side. The hot side has a UVA heat lamp hovering over it and should keep the tank around 90 degrees on that side. The other side of the tank should have a UVB lamp and that side should stay around 70-80 degrees and should include a shelter that the tortoise can hide in. The UVB light is important for the tortoises health. It provides the UVB light needed for vitamin D and also helps them metabolize calcium. The tortoise should have a calcium supplement in their food twice weekly. The food requirements are 75% leafy greens (kale, carrot tops, parsley, mustard greens etc) and 25% commercial pellet diet. Most tortoises enjoy mixing up their greens so they get a variety of different greens. Iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce should be avoided because it is not as high in nutrient value as the darker greens such as kale. Fruits can be given as a snack but in small moderation because the sugar content is too high and can cause digestive issues. The tortoise should be offered fresh food daily. Food from the previous day should be cleaned out of the habitat daily and replaced with fresh food. Any stool should also be cleaned out daily. The substrate should be completely changed every 6 months or sooner depending on how good a job the daily cleaning is. The UVB light should also be changed every 6 months to ensure the quality of light is enough to keep the tortoise vitamin D requirements at optimal levels. Overall, tortoises are neat creatures that make lovely pets but do require daily work and most likely a lifetime commitment. Depending on the owners age, the owner may consider putting in their will who will take care of their tortoise after their passing since they live for so long. With the proper care, hopefully they do live a long 50+ years.  

Running and Appointment

Submitted by nskinner on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 21:44

As a veterinary technician one of my many jobs in the hospital is to run appointments alongside a doctor. The very first thing that I do each day is go through the entire schedule and review what each pet is coming in for and make sure that their medical record matches their appointment notes for that day. For example, if a dog has an appointment for a wellness exam and a rabies vaccine, I want to ensure that the dog is actually due for a rabies vaccine. When the client checks in for the appointment, I then walk to the reception area, obtain a clip board that has a check-in sheet on it and call out the name of the patient that is here for the appointment. I then bring the client and the pet into the exam room. I always introduce myself as “Nikki, one of the technicians here” so the owner of the pet knows who I am and what my roll is in the hospital. I then begin by confirming the patient is there for the correct thing. If the pet is there for a wellness appointment I may say “I see you’re here with your pet to get a wellness exam and up to date on vaccines.” If the owner confirms this is correct, I then ask a very open-ended question “How is (lets say fluffy) doing today? Any concerns?” This opens the floor for the owner to tell me about anything they can think of that may be of concern to them. Sometimes concerns can include that their pet has been itching a lot lately. Sometimes the owner states they have no concerns at all. I then ask a slew of detailed questions as I am searching for very particular information about the pets well being that the owner may have forgotten to mention, or possibly they didn’t realize could be a negative aspect to their pet’s health. I ask if their pet has had any coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea. I also as if their pet has any increase in drinking or urination. I will also ask how their pet’s energy, activity and behavior has been. I want to know what their pet eats and how much. I also ask if their pet goes to boarding facilities or daycares or any other place where they are exposed to other animals. While I am asking these questions, I will be watching and accessing the pet’s behavior. A dog that is fearful may sit quietly. They may be panting, or lip smacking, which is basically licking their lips. Many people do not know that lip smacking is a sign of anxiety for dogs. Some dogs are happy to be there jumping up on me wagging their tail. Cats generally are sitting quiet with their legs tucked in underneath themselves. Their tail may be twitching at the end. Cats like that are generally not happy and possibly anxious, fearful, or stressed. Cats that are lounging around with their legs out or walking around bunting items in the exam room are comfortable and not afraid to be there. After asking questions and documenting them in the medical record I weigh the patient and record their weight. I then exit the exam room to round the doctor on how the pet is doing, what they are due for, and what the owner would like to have done. I will then draw up vaccines and get their invoice for the visit all set in the software system that we use. I enter the room with the doctor and restrain the pet for the physical exam and vaccines. If they pet is do for lab work I will then take the pet to the treatment area in our hospital while the owner discuses any questions or significant findings during the pets physical exam. I will draw blood, collect urine if needed, trim nails, then bring the pet back to the exam room. At this point the owner is usually finishing up talking to the doctor and will be heading to the reception area to then check out for their appointment. Of course, not all appointments run like this because not all appointments are just wellness visits for vaccines. Some appointments may include giving injectable medications, subcutaneous fluids, or even in extreme cases life saving procedures such as CPR.  

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