Warning: The following post has been rated R for explicit sexual content. Read at your own risk.
Let's look at each of these 'highlights' with a little more detail:
Yesterday morning, we experienced the last of three hours of lecture by a certain professor we'll just call Dr. Surgeon.
Dr. Surgeon was tasked with lecturing to us about gastrointestinal surgery, specifically gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or 'bloat'), small intestinal surgery, and peritonitis.
We had had no previous contact in the curriculum with Dr. Surgeon.
Suffice it to say, Dr. Surgeon is the guy who gives a bad name to the non-stereotypical 80% of surgeons who are actually very nice, personable, humble individuals.
Dr. Surgeon embodies the famed arrogance, egotism, and condescension of many people's images of "surgeon." He is more concerned with making the class laugh than by teaching us actual material that is really important to our future careers. He confuses the laughter of a minority of the class at his antics and wisecracks with an ability to effectively and efficiently teach.
We are all glad that Dr. Surgeon is now gone until clinics.
At the beginning of the semester, our Clinical Sciences class commenced with a series of lectures about methods of clinical reasoning and how to develop good reasoning skills. One of the lecturers was an exotics clinician from the VTH - a nice guy and effective teacher (unlike Dr. Surgeon).
In apparently every vet school class, there is a "back row." The back row is the group of students (usually mostly males) who sit in the back row of every class and are notoriously mostly from a farming or ranch background. They aren't interested in small animals or exotic anything, and they never speak up or ask or answer questions.
Dr. Exotics claims that when he was in vet school, he was a "back rower" himself. So he knows the deal. He thus challenged our back row to participate in his lecture, daring them to speak up with the promised reward of a pizza party for the class if they did.
Well, the back row came through, and so did Dr. Exotics. Somewhat unbelievable, he provided pizza and soda for the entire 135-person class yesterday. Nom nom!
Our last class on Fridays is theriogenology. Consider that by 2 pm on Fridays, I have already sat in class for 30 hours that week, have been at school by 8 am four times, have suffered through multiple nights with less than ideal quantities of sleep, and am ready for the weekend. Hence, you can understand how attempting to have a serious and thoughtful discussion about reproduction may not go so well.
Thus far this semester, we've been mostly talking about male reproduction.
Yesterday's topic was ejaculation.
Up to this point, we've generally used the tasteful term "collect" to refer to the process of forcibly obtaining semen from an intact male animal. Example: "Sometimes it is necessary to 'collect' a male several times in a single day in order to get a good sample." Rather, we've spent our time defining terms like "rusty load," a phrase that is both charming and descriptive. (I will not define it here unless you really want to know.)
But we could no longer avoid getting down to the nitty-gritty (no pun intended) details of ejaculation.
After a brief and basically uninteresting explanation of the basic events that occur when an animal ejaculates, the lecture devolved into a discussion of techniques for semen collection.
In the world of veterinary medicine, especially food animal and equine medicine (but even for purebred dogs and cats), artificial insemination is becoming an increasingly central part of animal reproduction. So the idea of efficiently and competently obtaining semen from an animal is unfortunately not a moot topic.
There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this. The four we discussed were:
-- manual massage (exactly what it sounds like)
-- artificial vagina (simulates temperature and pressure that that particular species 'likes' in order to induce erection and ejaculation)
-- chemical stimulation (basically shooting them up with drugs that tend to cause ejaculation)
-- and everybody's favorite, the electro-ejaculator
Maybe you're thinking, Manual massage doesn't sound so bad. I can see where even desperate people would consider an artificial vagina. Chemical stimulation? Not totally great. But electro-ejaculation? Run the other way, quick!
I can't blame you. The basic concept is that you insert a large probe into the rectum of the poor male who produces such coveted semen. Said probe has electrodes on its surface that, when positioned internally over the male reproductive organs (accessory sex glands, etc.), deliver an electric current that stimulate and induce contraction of the reproductive tract, resulting in ejaculation.
Horses apparently don't like it. Go figure.
After explaining the technique, our very smart but socially inept therio professor made a brief mention of how one of our ethics instructors really hates electro-ejaculators and thinks they cause undue pain to the animal. We then had a collective awkward moment following Dr. Therio's statement that, "I don't know how or why Dr. Ethics thinks this is painful. I wouldn't know."
Like, TMI. Can we leave now??