Archive for the ‘Third year’ Category

We started the Monday by going to a farm which had a very big herd of buffalo. Buffalo are one of the big 5 here in Africa and is though to be the most dangerous one of them. They are very destructive in their path, ruining trees and branches and can be quite aggressive if one come to close. Especially when they have calves. The buffalo bulls could weight over 1 ton. Marius went up in the helicopter and darted them from the air. Then once the animals were falling asleep the trucks came driving up closer to that one animal. Because they were so heavy we only did 1-2 at the time. Once the animal hit the ground we all ran up to the animal to make sure if was breathing ok, keep it head and body upright. The black workers had stretchers that they got under the animals. Then there wee 16-17 people lifting that one animal up onto the truck. The truck drove the animal to the enclosure where it was spending the next days and it was lifted off the truck again

We injected them with antibiotics for the dart wound and other vitamin, vaccines etc. The buffalo skin was measure and injected with avian (on left) and bovine (on right) TB to be tested for TB, by a new measurement in 3 days. Because their skin is so thick it can be hard to take blood form the cephalic vein and we therefore got to practice taking blood from the air vein. After we were done with this, which had taken most of the day because we could only take 2 at the time, the farmer said he had 30 wilderbeest he wanted moved as well. They were darted 4 at the time and transported to the camps they were moving to, then we gave then antibiotics etc and I got to give some of them a reversal to wake them up through the ear vein. The wilderbeest was moved by truck as well, but the workers didn’t really know how to handle the animals and unfortunately one of them died of asphyxiation because of a handler that carried the animal upside down to the truck.

Tuesday we went to Chad place at castle de wilt again. This time we darted 70 wilderbeest, both golden, blue and black to pregnancy check then in addition to the normal injections and blood sampling of the pregnant once. Because the animals were already stressed and heated from the chase to be darted, the pregnancy could be quite fragile. We therefore only felt the once that were very obvious. It was still a very strange experience to feel the head of a foetus wilderbeest.

Wednesday we were called out to a game reserve quite far away (about 2 hours drive there). A 4 month old Giraffe was not putting any weight on it s right front paw and the owner was concerned that it might be broken. A giraffe is very sensitive to anesthetics, it can easily die and its would therefore only be possible to put a cast on the giraffe if the foot was broken. Marius Louw darted the giraffe from a quad bike this time. The mother was not far away from its baby the whole time we treated it. When the giraffe went down, me and Ele had to sit on its neck to keep it down whilst Marius injected it with a antidote right away to wake it, so that it didn’t die. Ele tried sitting on its neck alone at first, but when the giraffe woke up slightly it had no problem standing up with Ele on its neck. Marius had to practically rugby tackle the little thing to the ground and with me and Ele on its neck it still tried to get up a couple of times. It turned out that the little thing had a gotten a thorn in between its hoof. The torn was taken out and it was given antibiotics. The prognosis was very good. The problem with the farm was that it was very little for and too many animals in the area, so Marius was going to talk to the owner about clearing vegetation to make the farm better for the animals there, the concern at the moment was that the animals there now wasn’t in too good a shape and looked rather scruffy.

On the way home  a farmer called about a sable. It had broken its right metatarsal bone (hindlimb). The sable was given painkillers and taken away from its herd. It was quite young and if a sable is taken out of its herd, there is a very large risk of it being killed when put back in again (by the other sables). Therefore this was removed completely from its herd to be sold of later or put on its own after it had healed in an enclosure. The foot was cast with fiber glass cast and given the necessary antibiotic and painkiller injections.

Thursday we were called out to castle de wilt for a lame black Impala, a lame sable and a golden wilderbeest that didn’t look to good. The sable turned out it had a thorn in its foot as well. It was a beautiful animal with huge anthers it being a male. The wilderbeest had had diarrhea the day before, and it was therefore thought it  could have coccidiosis. This is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. When the wilderbeest was darted a faecal sample was taken, but there was no diarrhea anymore. The animal was treated with antibiotics and treated for coccidiosis, plus other parasites and ticks to prevent it being darted again. The condition was poorly and it looked shaggy, so time will tell if it makes it.

Because it was 3 days ago since the buffalo had been injected with avian and bovine TB we went back to that game farm to re-measure the skin. The only problem was that 7 buffalo had escaped from the enclosure they were held at, so they would need to be darted and brought in again. The animal in the enclose was very easy to get to, they were darted from the side and when it was safe to enter, we ran in to measure their neck, take out the dart, spray the dart wound and woke them up again. It was a simple and quick thing to do. Now getting the once that escaped was worse. After trying to drive up to them with the truck, Marius decided that they needed the helicopter again. The only problem was that the wind was very strong and the weather was treating for rain. The first pilot they called didn’t dare to come because of the wind, so in the end Lambert came. You could see that the helicopter was struggling, suddenly turning the opposite direction to what it was meant to etc. it started raining, so me & Ele who were standing on the back of the bucky both to pick up the buffalo and riding with one each on the way back to monitor the anaesthesia (breathing), were soaked wet. At one point I was sitting on a calf buffalo who was about the size of a st bernards dog to keep it down before it was lifted up on the truck, and the little thing almost stood up with me on it, whilst being drugged. They are strung even at that age.  We managed to dart and transport all the missing 7, but when transporting the last two it started hailing. Not small hail like at home, but 3-4 cm large hail. Never seen anything like it. After the job was done we stopped and got hot chocolate on the way home and changed tops. All 3:  Ele, Marius and me were soaked to the skin. Driving back it started thundering and lightning was shooting across the sky around us. The lightning lit up the sky with multiple colours. I swear the lightning stays longer on the sky here and is more powerful than at home. I wish I could have photographed it to show it, it was a sight I won’t forget. The rain continued through the night. The first rain in 6 months, so it was needed. The past weeks it had been a lot of bush fires around the area.

We were meant to dehorn some rhinos on Friday, but because the roads were in poor condition because of the rain, this job was cancelled. Me and Ele decided to go into the clinic to see if anything interesting was going on there. When we got there Erika was finishing a cesarean section on a jack russell terrier. The owner had waited 24 hours before bringing here in, but luckily they managed to save all 5 puppies which were jack russell dachshund crosses. The owner didn’t want the puppies so they were given away at 1 day old. This is normally not the time you can give them away, because they need their mother for colostrums milk etc. the new owner would have to feed them every hour for the first few days. Fingers crossed they make it.  After this we assisted Marius with a bladder stone surgery. The stones retrieved was massive 5-6 cm. Saturday we all went out for a breakfast/ lunch at Spurr to say bye to Ele, which was leaving for Cape town that evening. Going to miss here!

Sunday Blackie took me to Zebula game reserve.  This seemed like a family resort for wealthy people, but you could go there to meet the animals. I saw some baby Tigers & meerkats. I got to pet a lynx which was walked around on a lead and go into the cage to five 2 month old lion cubs. One of the lion cubs started playing with my camera strap, so I got to pet him whilst he was gnawing on it. I almost didn’t get my camera back when I was leaving. After this I went and had a private interaction with two grown cheetah. Jane and Tarzan was their names and they had been pets for a women in Pretoria until they got to large. They were very same, and when I started scratching Tarzan’s ear, he was purring like a cat. We sat on the grass side and I got to rub their bellies and cuddle them whilst they licked each other, me and played. It was an amazing experience to get that close to animals that are normally considered very dangerous. But these seemed like large cats, just wanting some cuddles.


Coming home we all had a braai by the pool. Ciska (Heleens daughter) and husband Louis came with their two kids and we swam in the pool, had wine and enjoyed the rest of the Sunday sunshine. Ending in a small party in the guesthouse bar. All in all a great ending to week number two.




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Ever since I started vet school I wanted to visit Africa and try working as a vet with all the exotic animals there. Vets & wildlife is one of the organizations that allowed this; working alongside an experienced wildlife veterinarian and participating in capture and treatment of wildlife. I was lucky enough to get to work with Dr Marius Louw.

To get cheap flights I had to travel quite the detour. My journey started in Oslo at 8 am going to London. I was meant to leave London to Cairo, Egypt at 15:00 but the flight was delayed 2 hours. We were meant to reach Cairo, Egypt at 21:00, but didn’t get there until 22:30. My last flight to Johannesburg was boarding at 23:10 so I literally had to run through the airport to make it. I was very worried that because of this my luggage wouldn’t get there with me. I arrived at Johannesburg at 7am the following morning and was greeted by the host family; Heleen & Blacky Swart, who drove me to where I was staying in Modimolle two hours from the airport.

I got places in the Limpopo province, South Africa, in a town called Modimolle or Nylstroom. This is on the southern edge of the province. I’m staying with a lovely host family here in Modimolle at the Lekkerbly chalet Guest house with Blackie and Heleen. It’s a very friendly Guesthouse where I got a large double bedroom to by self with an en suite shower/bathroom. The room had a separate entrance so that I could leave in the early hours of the morning without waking anyone. There was a large fence around the house, that I had my own key for in addition to a fridge in the room where the guest house made a lunch that was ready for my days adventures when I left. In the garden there was a Jacuzzi and a small pool. There was also a small bar on the premises, so all in all I was pleasantly surprised by the standard.

The first day Marius Picked me and another student names Ele (from Cambridge) up at 5.40 to leave for one of his largest clients. They had a lot of Wilder beast they wanted to Microchip, blood sample and move to another site. Marius also has a vet nurse named Jozelle who came with us today. The vet went up in a helicopter with a very good pilot “Lambert” and darted the animals from the air. Then a buckie (truck) drove after the Helicopter and black workers jumped out and lifted the animals up in the buckie back to the camp where we were, which was not too far away. Me and Ele both had responsibility for two drugs each. I was to inject the large animals with 5ml biosolomine and 4 ml kyrolego and the younger once with 3ml of each, and Ele was giving them 3ml duplosilin, which is a penicillin for the dart wound and 8ml anti parasitic dip on the back. Jozelle gave them 1.5ml ivermectin sub q. We also had to blood test them, so we both got to practice blood sampling quickly in the field. All in all we worked until 6 pm and did 106 wilder beast that day, which was a new record according to Marius. At one point I was allowed up in the helicopter whilst they darted the animals. I thought I’d be terrified of the heights, but it was actually a lot of fun, so I really hope I get to do it again.

The second day we were picked up at 5.45 again and were really feeling the work we did the day before. In the mornings it was quite cold, so you had to wear a fleece. We went back to the client of the day before. This day they had some Golden wilderbeest they wanted to move and blood test to get their DNA profile to see how their genes were. The Golde Wilderbeest had a lighter colour than the “normal” blue Wilder beast, which makes them worth a lot more money. A gold wilderbeest could get sold for 200 000 Rand compared to 1500 R for a blue wilder beast. The atmosphere was therefore a bit tenser that day. Everything went in a lot slower tempo to make sure that the animals were treated with care. After the last wilder beast was treated, they darted some Impala from the helicopter as well. These are a lot harder to dart because they jump when they run. The impala was given smaller doses of drugs; they were also given smaller doses in the dart because they would die quicker. The vet often came running out of the helicopter to give them the reversal drugs to make them not go into cardio arrest.

The next day we worked with Impala which is like a medium sized African antelope. Dr. Louw had to dart them from the helicopter again, but these were much harder to dart then the wilderbeest because they jump from side to side and also reach a running speed up to 90 km/h. The impala was injected with penicillin for its dart wound, and moved. One of the Impala ran into the fence when darted and got a nasty wound on the head about 10-15cm long. It had to get stitches before it could be moved on. One of the impale there was black which is very rare.

Erika Senekal is another vet at the Practise Bos en Wild animal hospital. We worked with here on the Thursday to TB test cattle as well as pregnancy rectal examine the cows and check the semen quality of the bulls. It’s amazing how friendly the farmers are here. They let us students try a lot more than at home. Me and Ele took turns rectal examining the animals, so we got a lot of experience just in this one day. Erika was very helpful and would explain what she was doing and why, as well as answering all out questions. It really made me want to come back to practice in South Africa to learn more.

Friday didn’t start off as we thought it would. Me and Ele was told that we would be vaccinating buffalo that day, but when we got in the car with Marius he said that the plans had changed slightly. A wild male lion had escaped from a game reserve and they had been looking for it for 2 days and finally spotted it at a neighbouring farm. We drove to the game reserve where Marius went in the helicopter to go and look for the lion to dart it whilst me & Ele went on the back of a game rover with a huge wooden cage between us. It wasn’t the normal “tourist” routes we took, but steep, rocky roads climbing up the mountain sites with tree branches going into the road, so we had to duck and hold on as best as we could. After about 1 hour they managed to spot the lion and dart it. When it was sedated we could approach it and touch the massive animal. It had huge paws and the canines were as long as my finger. The satellite collar it had on was replaced before the lion was lifted into the cage. Then they drove it back to the game reserve where it was but in an enclosure for a few days to keep an eye on it to make sure it came out fine from the anaesthetics before being released into the reserve again. Going down the mountain again, it was a strange feeling having a lion so close to you, even though it was fast asleep. After this we drove to the farm with the buffalo and injected 5 calves.

Saturday me and Ele went to Forever resort in Warmbaths, Bela Bela. We had the intention of trying the cable water skiing there, but this turned out to be a lot harder than we thought. We both ski and snowboard but with the cable skis they pull you at the speed of the boat around on a cable and there is no ease into it so one is very reliant on triceps muscles to manage to stand. After quite a few face plants in the water and I even managed to leave my board at the platform a couple of times, we gave up and went on the water slides instead. We had a lot of fun with the speed slides and also managed to squeeze in half an hour Swedish back massage for our sore muscles =)

Sunday the guesthouse Heleen and Blackie took us to Zebula for Adventures with elephants. This is an organisation that takes problem elephants and train them to interact with humans. They educate people on the use and treatment of elephants in addition to using the elephants against poaching for rhino horns. I got to meet and interact with 6 beautiful elephants. I felt the sole of their feet, them flapping their ears and my favourite part was feeling their chest when they talked. The whole elephant was rumbling. We played games with them too learn how smart they where, one of them remembered by name out of 4 people and could also give me my shoe back from a pile of shoes. After the interaction we all went on a ride with them around the area. It was a really special feeling getting to get so close with these massive animals.





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I’m back writing after a long break. Right now I’m in Marsa Malta working as a volunteer as Happy Paws charity Organisation ( http://www.happypaws.org.mt/). Happy Paws was founded in 2004, and works to help the people of Malta care for stray animals, by providing free neutering and promoting stray adoption along with other various programs. Apart from the resident Vets, the Organisation is run by volunteers, and finance the charity by charity shops, sponsorship’s, donations and fund raising events. Me  & Sydney meet in Malta on the 16th of June to work for two weeks learning how to spay and neuter at Happy Paws. Already 3 days in we have both done solo castrations under the supervision of two vets there> Victoria bondin and Louise Forrest.

Today after work we went took the Bus to Marsaxlokk, fishing village. this is a village filled with colourful boats, market and fish restaurants. After some icecream we then took the bus to Mdina, which is the old capital of Malta. Mdina is a medieval walled town situated on a hill in the centre of the iseland overlooking the whole of Malta. Saturday we went to Gozo to visit azure window which is a natural arch in the maltese island featuring a table like rock over the sea. This beautiful area was created thousands of years ago when two limestone caves collapsed.  We had to take the bus over an hour and then a ferry to reach Gozo, so by the time we got there, it was really really hot. We didn’t have much energy but to take the hop on and off tour of Gozo and go home. Sunday we went to Comino, this is a tiny iseland between Malta and Gozo in the mediterranean sea. Its has a permanent population of only four residents. Comino has a beautiful blue lagoon that we visited all day. just swam in the turquoise sea and relaxed. Syd managed to get sunburned even when she was sat in the shade all day under an umbrella. The 26th of june there was a huge concert. MTV Iceland Malta where artist like Nelly Furtado, Flo Rida, Will.I.am and Cassie played. We heard there were 50 000 people showed up. It was a lot of fun, with stands selling everything from food, drinks and ice creams=) The rest of the week we spent on our spot I Marsa, we also visited Valetta and had a couple of day trips to Siliema, where we took a boat trip to view Malta from the sea.  Malta has some beautiful architecture with lovely cosy streets. The last few days Stephanie and Sarah (also two Glasgow vet students) arrived. We went for dinner and tried to hit Malta’s party place paceville. Most of the people there were kinda young so we ended up back at another club in Sliema and had a great night there


Ive gotten questions if this is a good spay/ neutering practice. I got to do mostly cat castrates at Happy paws, so if this is what your looking for go there. They do do a great job with the stray animals in Malta.

Talk soon

Love Annette

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Hi Again

I’m really sorry its taking me this long to write anything. To be honest I’ve not had the greatest time in the past 6 months, so kinda not had the energy to write. Anyways its the start of the summer so I thought I would start again. Maybe summaries some of the things that have happened the past year as well..

The past month has been hell. 8am to 8 pm reading at the main Library Every day!! Fingerscrossed its enough to pass my exams for 3rd year.

Glasgow University Library & Main University in the sunshine

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All classes, exams and courses at the University of Glasgow – including the campus in Dumfries – are cancelled today,with very strong winds expected from 12 noon onwards, the University has decided to close with immediate effect. All staff and students are encouraged to return home as soon as possible.

This was the message we got this morning after staying up almost all night reading for pathology. Last year some of the exams were cancelled because of the snow, but this year its wind. it is getting up to 90mph and its said to reach 100mpg.

The only problem is that the exam we have left now is the one i havent read that much for, and its also not cancelled. Its tomorrow and Glasgow University kicked everyone out from the library. Its hard to read at home- better get on with it i guess… sigh…


Hundreds of schools are closed in Scotland today as Britain is battered by winds at over 100mph.

Snow is expected as far south as Birmingham as Arctic conditions sweep in across the country. London will experience gusts of up to 55mph, forecasters said.

High winds: The coast at Saltcoats in Ayrshire, Scotland, is battered by seawater as the coast is hit by gusts of up to 90mph today


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