There are lots of things that you need to know when you enter your clinical year of veterinary school that will not yet be well-established in your brain from the classes you have taken. Some facts take years of hands-on experience before they become second nature. For me, some of the hardest things to remember are numbers. I have less trouble remembering what drug to use, or what signs of a disease to look out for, or surgical techniques. For me, numbers have always been a bit of a thorn in my side. It takes lots of repeated experiences before a dosage is in my head, but once it is there, I have it for good. Luckily, in the meantime, we have some tools at our disposal that can really help us out in a pinch. Our tablets, phones, and Ipads can all download the Merck Vet Manual App, which has just about any topic you could want to know about in the clinic. Here are a few of my favorites that have come in particularly handy so far during my clinical year.
- Chocolate toxicity calculator: This clever calculator is useful for me when a client calls in and says that their pet ate some chocolate and they are wondering how serious the situation is. The calculator takes a few simple factors into account such as patient weight and the type of chocolate that was consumed. The type of chocolate matters because it will determine how much of the toxins, theobromine and caffeine, were ingested by the animal. After consulting the calculator, it is easy to make a call that we may be dealing with a benign ingestion of a bit of milk-based chocolate by a large dog, or we could have a serious situation involving a lot of baker’s chocolate ingested by a little dog.
- Anesthetic Drug calculator: This is especially helpful since we use a lot of different anesthetic drug combinations in school, some of which you do not normally see out in practice. It is also incredibly helpful for when you are first learning the dosages. The dosages of uncommon drugs are hard for me to remember, so this calculator can help with that.
- Exotic Animal Diseases: While exotic animals are covered in the veterinary curriculum, I did not have much experience with them other than having them as pets. I had a leopard gecko, hamsters, rabbits, and a chinchilla growing up, so I knew a thing or two about general husbandry for exotic animals. I was lucky to get some more hands-on experience on an externship, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn. The exotic animals’ section on the Merck Veterinary Manual app is SO helpful for a quick reference when you encounter an exotic animal that you have not had much experience with. Nutritional deficiencies, husbandry issues, and infectious diseases are all within reach in seconds.
If you are a vet student or aspiring vet student, it would be worth your time to check this app out and see if it could be helpful in your day to day work. It really is the equivalent of walking around with hundreds of textbooks in your pockets.