Thursday, March 24, 2011

A week in the life: pathology rotation

I am in my first week (of three) of my pathology rotation. This is known as the laid back rotation: only 8am to 5pm five days a week, with some on-call time. Mornings are clinical pathology. We read slides, learn to make blood smears, discuss lab test result interpretation. At least so far, none of these have been real cases, but it has been interesting, and I’ve learned a lot.

Afternoons are anatomic pathology. We are learning to do necropsies, on real patients when they are available. So far I have seen: a massive hemangiosarcoma tumor on a dog’s heart; a kidney completely lost inside a mass half a foot long (probably also hemangiosarcoma); a pacemaker inside a dog (not the cause of death, but very cool — and before you ask, it was indeed in the heart, not, say, inside the stomach); several yards of horse intestine that was dead due to a strangulating tumor that had cut off blood supply to it. I have a guilty feeling that I should be enjoying this part of the rotation more, but I am  having trouble getting past being disturbed by the necropsies themselves.


  1. Why are they called necropsies with non-human animals and autopsies with humans? Oddly I was just reading a book where I wondered this question and now I can find out!