Here in the Vet Department there is always something interesting going on but we thought you might like to hear about how we are trying to encourage the next generation of vets by sharing some of our day to day experiences with them. For the past 3 years we have been running something called Junior Vet Day. This is usually held during school holidays or half terms and is for children aged 11-15. The day runs from 9.30-3.30pm and is jam packed with as many veterinary related activities as we can muster! So far we have had over 250 children attend with lots of positive feedback about how much they have enjoyed the day, the hands on time with the donkeys and the veterinary experience gained.
The day starts with learning to take a case history and how to clinically examine a donkey as these are some of the most important aspects of being a vet. This is followed by some practical scenarios where the children have to think about what might be wrong with a donkey and choose the correct equipment to deal with it. This gives a great insight into some of the most common conditions we see each day as donkey vets. Learning about medications and anatomy comes next - complete with our ‘draw the life size donkey skeleton’ competition!
Then a particular favourite of the day: donkey grooming! Time for lots of cuddles and a chance to practice the clinical exam from earlier on very willing patients! After lunch comes a tour of the veterinary hospital, a chance to see behind the scenes, look around the theatre and hear about donkey surgery. Next it’s back to the donkeys, finding out all about donkey dentistry, feeling inside a donkey’s mouth and having a closer look at their teeth. Moving to the other end the children then get to practice their leg bandaging skills and have a closer look at the bones that make up a donkey leg, alongside some of the problems that can occur with the legs and feet as foot problems account for around 40% of our caseload. Finally we are back in (simulated!) surgery to practice dressing up as a surgeon in real scrubs and gowns... have your cameras at the ready!
Each day ends with a completion certificate to take home and a sense of achievement at having managed all the tasks set. As well as all the practical experience the day is also a great chance to chat to The Donkey Sanctuary’s vets, nurses and equine dental technicians about their jobs, what is required to end up in that field of work and tips on how to achieve it. What a day!
Next year we will be hoping to run four Junior Vet Days over the school holidays so do contact us on 01395 578222 for more information and to get on the waiting list. Places cost £60 per person and fill up fast so give us a ring before they get snapped up!