Welcome to the first of our blogs! We thought it would be good to share with you all a little more of what happens in the department as we realised many people may not know about the variety of our jobs and what we get up to on a day to day basis.
We have 6 clinical vets based here in Sidmouth (Karen, Alex, Vicky, Elena, Karen(Kaz) and Becky) to look after our resident herds of around 2,500 donkeys. Each vet takes responsibility for the veterinary care of one or more of our seven farms (including our new arrivals unit) where all donkeys spend 6 weeks before being transferred to a farm). As well as the emergency calls and individual sick animals, we work closely with the farm managers and grooms to implement herd health management to ensure our donkeys are looked after in the best way possible.
We also run a referral service which consists of giving support and advice to any vets in practice with donkey related problems and occasionally taking in donkeys from the local area for treatment if this is not possible at their own vets. We are also passionate about spreading the word that ‘Donkeys are Different’ and so run Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for vets, lecture at the vet schools and farrier colleges and take in students and vets (including European and overseas vets and farriers) to ‘see practice’ and gain donkey experience. Never a dull day!
Anna is our welfare vet and although based in Sidmouth she is often to be found around the country supporting our team of welfare officers as well as looking after one of our new arrival units.
Our team of 5 vet nurses (Sue, Maxine, Vicky, Nicky and Hayley) and 2 vet grooms (Sharon and Lauren) are responsible for the care of any hospital in-patients as well as assisting with treatments out on the farms. They support the vets during procedures such as anaesthesia and surgery, endoscopy and ultrasound and are often to be found taking x-rays of donkey feet to assist in lameness diagnosis.
Lee and Gemma are our qualified Equine Dental Technicians (EDTs) and ensure that each of our donkeys gets a thorough dental examination and treatment at least once a year. They also provide training courses for EDTs wanting to take their exams, vet students and overseas vets seeing practice and email and telephone support and advice for vets and EDTs in practice.
All of this is co-ordinated by our great office staff (Jane, Kate, Julie, Shelley, Katherine and Alison) who keep everything running smoothly. They are the first point of call for our grooms when they have a sick animal and so can direct the vets to where they are needed, as well as ensuring that external vets needing advice get a friendly voice transferring them through or taking messages. They also have a large role in making sure all the paperwork gets sorted and reminding the vets to eat during a busy day for which we are eternally grateful!
So that’s a little bit about us, we shall be back every month to give you some more insight into what goes on at the veterinary department... stay tuned!