Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh, rats!

Hi everyone. 
Today's big job at the Sydney Royal Easter Show (at least for the small animal vets) was the vetting of around 475 rats and mice before breakfast. This was a somewhat challenging task, on account of the fact that most exhibitors entered multiple animals - presented in groups like this.
The rats were relatively easy to count. But mice? Not so much [NB these are not the containers the mice and rats were displayed in - they were just used to hold during the vetting process].
We were checking for general health concerns - dermatophytes, lice, traumatic injuries or respiratory tract disease. The condition of the entrants was excellent. Clearly the exhibitors are passionate about their pets. One observation is that naming pets when you have 30 or 40 becomes an excercise in creativity. Entrants clearly trawl TV and movie credits, novels and the bathroom cabinet to come up with names like "Moriarty" and "Midnight Mojo".

Containing the entrants was at times tricky as a few wanted to explore.
Vetting mice before the show.
As a vet I can declare that I've never met such a number or variety of rats and mice in one session. 

Every one of these mice had an individual name and exhibition number which had to be cross-checked.
This kind of set up made identifying and catching mice much easier.
Dr Chris Tan and veterinary student Jess Graham inspect some rats prior to the show.
It was another educational day. Professor Rosanne Taylor and veterinary neurologist Dr Georgina Child attended to observe the vet student program (if you are a vet student and have the opportunity to volunteer at the show, take it up!). Its always interesting discussing conditions like syringomyelia and neuronal ceroid lipofucinosis with the experts (even if one's own participation is more at the listening end of the spectrum).
Professor Rosanne Taylor (far left) with Dr Chris Tan (second from right) and neurologist Dr Georgina Child (far right).
The big shock of the day was a meeting in the dog pavillion with a representative of the breed that Phil most closely resembles, according to a DNA test. The Maltese. Believe it or not, Dr Phil is related to this lady (pictured below), although his haircut wouldn't suggest that.
Indiana the Maltese.
Dr Phil. See the resemblance? Neither did I!!!