On Wednesday, I (Bianca, Worldwide Experience’s Conservation Experience Consultant) had the opportunity to join the Vets Go Wild students and what an incredible day it was.
After waking up at 4:00 in the morning, I reached Leeuwenbosch lodge at 5:30 whilst it was still dark and joined the vet students in the bus as we set off for Bucklands Private Game Reserve to do routine work a few female buffalo. After Dr Emily Baxter who is the course facilitator darted the buffalo and they were safely down, the students got to start working on a total of 8 buffalo doing routine checks and making sure the buffalo received their multivitamins and parasite control. The students also got to do pregnancy diagnosis on each buffalo, we managed to do a pregnancy scan on one of the pregnant cows and see her very small calf developing in her tummy. After working on the buffalo, the general manager of the reserve, Ian, took us to the sheds for a quick overview of the feeding systems used at the reserve.
What we thought was an interesting morning, just got more interesting when we were called out to an emergency at a nearby game reserve. On arrival, we saw that an eland bull was running around with its intestines hanging out of its stomach. Dr Baxter darted the disemboweled eland and we carefully watched as the eland went down, we even had two cheetahs watching the scene from a distance.
Dr Baxter got to work immediately, with all the students taking control of something whether it was administering an IV or monitoring breathing, temperature and heart rate. During IV administration a catheter is inserted into the vein to make it easier to administer fluids.
Dr Baxter removed the necrotic tissue from the eland’s intestines while water was slowly being poured over the intestines at the same time. Thereafter, the intestines were gently put back into the eland through the original wound and the suturing began. Students who felt they were confident were given the opportunity to assist in the suturing of the wound at the end.
Once the eland was sutured up and we were all safely on the vehicle, the antidote was given and shortly afterward, the eland was up and moved off into back into the thicket. After a very long and exciting day in the African bushveld, we headed back to Leeuwenbosch lodge where the students got to finally eat their well deserved lunch and prepare for their night out at the Sidbury Sports Club.
To Join us on a Vets Go Wild Experience:
Call: +44 (0) 1483 860 560 or +27 (0) 41 404 9314
By Bianca Eke (Conservation Experience Consultant)