societea
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Did my first day of work experience at a vets today and saw my first surgery, a really gory investigation of a massive cranial lump on a dog, pus and tumour everywhere (nice I know). They told me it was totally normal to feel faint and sure enough I nearly blacked out 😂 pretty annoying as I'm not at all squeamish and I wanted to watch the whole thing but now I'm wondering - what is it that causes faintness when watching surgery for the first time, why is it our body reacts that way?


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SummerStrawberry
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There are two main physiological responses to this sort of stimulus:
  1. Activation of a parasympathetic nervous system (which can cause a drop in heart rate);
  2. Deactivation of the sympathetic nervous system (which can cause vasodilation).

Those two factors combined lead to you fainting. It is believed that this was useful in evolution, as fainting when you see blood (or similar) is an effective way to 'play dead', and also reduces the volume of blood loss (due to the lowering of blood pressure).

I hope that answers your question!
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suofei
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The vets at my placement told me that staring at the surgery site for a long period of time makes you feel faint because it's such a bright light - the vet and nurse are both doing things and not continuously watching like a work experience student is so they don't feel sick but it's normal for you to! My vet told me she fainted when she saw surgery for the first time so nothing to worry about!
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Lizziefickling
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I'm a third year student and sometimes I have to sit down during ops. It's a combination of factors, what you eat beforehand, bright lights, temperature of the room. I've nearly fainted before and I'm not squeamish in the slightest. I can do an op for an hour and im fine stood up but when you're actually taking part it's different and your mind is focused on something. It can become psychological which then makes it worse because the more you think about it the more likely it is to happen. Try asking questions or talking to a nurse or something during a procedure (if it's suitable) and if not then just ask them if you can sit in the corner and watch on a little stool if you're feeling a bit funny. It happens to a lot of people so don't worry!


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Banana fana
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(Original post by societea)
Did my first day of work experience at a vets today and saw my first surgery, a really gory investigation of a massive cranial lump on a dog, pus and tumour everywhere (nice I know). They told me it was totally normal to feel faint and sure enough I nearly blacked out 😂 pretty annoying as I'm not at all squeamish and I wanted to watch the whole thing but now I'm wondering - what is it that causes faintness when watching surgery for the first time, why is it our body reacts that way?


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A friend of mine fainted and blacked out after seeing a tooth extraction at a dentist - the mixture of the heat of the room, the blood and saliva made her collapse, BUT she is in her last year of dentistry.

It takes time...
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