Erin Stein, Bristol, England, June 20, 2014

My very last day in Langford as well as my last day in Europe! It is incredibly hard to believe that the time has flown by so quickly. It seems as though I just arrived in Europe, let alone in Langford. I have learned so much both about myself as well as about veterinary medicine and its role in public health. This has been an opportunity of a life time and one for which I will be eternally grateful. I have made so many new friends and incredible contacts. I can only hope that I will be able to return one day.

As with last Friday and every Friday, the Langford abattoir receives and processes sixty pigs. These pigs were for the most part relatively clean. Eva and I did not note anything on the ante mortem examinations. During the post mortem examinations, we did note several cases of severe pericarditis and exocardiitis. There were also quite a few cases of enzootic pneumonia as well as several cases of pleuritis. Also of note were milk spots.

After finishing with the inspections, Eva and I worked together on her master’s project which involves Hepatitis E that is thought to be spread through undercooked sausages since it has been found in people in the UK who do not have a history of travel to an endemic area such as Mexico (previously, Hepatitis E in the UK had only been found in those who had recently traveled). Now, it is thought to possibly be spread through undercooked sausages, so Eva is trying to compare the risk associations. We basically worked on looking for usable data on some of the feed industry websites. After working on the statistics, it was time for me to say goodbye to Eva and the rest of the staff of the abattoir.

I sincerely loved my time in Langford. It is a very peaceful and sleepy little village, but more than that, the people at the University of Bristol, Langford have been incredibly welcoming and open. It has been a wonderful learning opportunity. When I first scheduled the rotation, I expected to just be doing the same thing over and over again: inspections. I could not have been more wrong. While I did learn to do many inspections, I also received a refresher crash course in parasitology, pathology, microbiology, etc. since everything that we learn in vet school is absolutely applicable to carcass inspection. Everything that I learned through my current three years of vet school must be applied when I do inspections because it is important to know what is ok and what is not ok. What can humans eat vs. what can pets eat vs. what must be condemned all together? Is it more of an aesthetic reason for condemning or is there a public health risk? How do I protect the nation’s food sources? What is a welfare issue? What can I do if I see a welfare issue and how do I back up what I am saying? All this and more have been the culmination of my learning experience at the University of Bristol abattoir in beautiful Langford, England. It has been an unforgettable experience that I highly recommend to anyone.