New! This week! And all future weeks! Introducing…..Eliana! Eliana is a rising second year veterinary student who recently joined Team Beardie with Bryce and me. Scroll to the bottoms for a GREAT picture of her. She is a delight, and helped me this week with my personal research project on pet rats. We did physical exams and took temperatures on 4 rats. Only at least 15 to go!

Ivana practicing her physical exam skills on a client-owned rat. Part of her study includes making sure all rats given a full physical exam

It was also a big bearded dragon this week. Dr. Keller started her pharmacokinetics study on Terbinafine. Woah, that was a lot. Don’t worry; we’ll break it down. In pharmacology, we learned that pharmacokinetics is a study on what the body (in this case a bearded dragon body) does to the drug (which in this case is Terbinafine).  Terbenafine is a commonly used antifungal medication. So basically, she wants to see how the bearded dragon’s deal with Terbenafine in their body and what concentrations are present in the blood at what times.

The black arrow points to where blood was safely taken from our bearded dragons: the ventral tail vein

But before she gets into studying any of the drug stuff, she needed to figure out what the normal blood concentrations are in our bearded dragons. That led to her TWENTY-FOUR (in total) blood draws this week on three of our dragons. It was quite a day. Eliana, Bryce, and I switched out from the time she needed us (8am-9pm), but Dr. Keller was doing all the blood draws the whole day. Did we mention that we keep that room at a balmy 75-78 degrees? So! The first step (normal blood drawing) has been done. Now it’s time to send out the samples for analysis and we’ll go from there.

Are you thinking, “Wait! That is A LOT of blood. Are the beardies okay with that?” Good question. The quick answer to your question is yes! We would NEVER take more blood than we needed to. The rule of thumb for reptiles is that their blood volume is about 5-8% of their body weight and you can collect 10% of total blood volume in a healthy patient. So, you could take 0.8mL from a 100g animal! These calculations have been done for ALL the studies our beardies participate in.

Eliana handling a bald eagle in the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic. Do not worry! She loves our beardies more!!

Until Next Week!