Three months in and Karen Pickering from Bovey Tracey is settling in well to her new veterinary role at the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary, helping to treat sick donkeys or those with on-going medical conditions.
Karen graduated from The Bristol School of Veterinary Science in 2008 and travelled to Egypt shortly after to work voluntarily for the Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) charity. Whilst there she treated sick, overworked donkeys and found her passion to help these humble creatures.
Following 18 months working in a mixed practice in Totnes, Karen joined the specialist donkey-welfare charity and now works alongside six other veterinary clinicians and surgeons at the Sanctuary’s UK veterinary clinic.
Karen is the newest member of an important team delivering veterinary care to the 5,000 donkeys and mules cared for by the Sanctuary in the UK, Ireland and Mainland Europe.
She says: “I’m really enjoying my role. Starting this month, I am the duty vet for Woods Farm, one of six farms the Sanctuary has in Devon, and among the donkeys under treatment is a 13 year old gelding, Donald, who has a sarcoid (a skin growth) on his nose. I am also the liaison vet for our Derbyshire Centre in Buxton so it’s always busy!
“What I love about donkeys the most is that they have huge characters; even if they have been abused they seem to be the most forgiving creatures. And when treating one donkey, ten others will be crowding around to see what’s going on – they are very friendly!
“The Donkey Sanctuary has a wealth of experience when it comes to donkeys and I hadn’t appreciated the complete difference between horses’ and donkeys’ feet – it wasn’t something we focused on during my studies.”
The Sanctuary’s clinic, where Karen is based, has RCVS1’s Tier 2 Hospital Status and its facilities include an operating theatre with closed circuit anaesthesia and diagnostic equipment including endoscopy, Xray and ultra sound. A free full haematology, biochemistry and parasitology analysis and referral service is also available.
To find out more about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary or for advice and support on the care and veterinary management of donkeys call 01395 578222.