A Week Volunteering In Chemaia

01 July 2015

In her fourth entry in a series of blogs, read about vet Jo Hardy's experience of volunteering with SPANA in Morocco. Jo recently appeared on the BBC Two programme, Young Vets. 

Volunteer vet Jo HardyChemaia was amazing. Full stop. I am so pleased I spent a week there and the work they do is incredible! Chloe and I were hands-on every day, and the team (Driss, Kamal and Youness) were so welcoming and made us feel part of ‘the gang’ minutes after we walked through the gate.

Three particular cases really stuck with us —three donkeys that we named Gemima, Maggie and Sophie. Gemima was the donkey that had the twist in her uterus and had caesarian surgery on the Monday. She was a miracle donkey and her character was really funny; quite bossy, and a real fighter.

As expected, the surgery induced an inflammation in her abdomen and with that her temperature fluctuated up and down dramatically. She’d have good and bad times - one minute she would be bright and socialising, the next minute, dull and depressed. Luckily, SPANA has a large supply of drugs available, and she was receiving almost everything that she would receive in a referral hospital in the UK, leaving her in good stead to make a recovery.

Maggie was a donkey who came in with colic. Her heart rate was 100 (the normal rate is under 50 for a donkey) and she was very dehydrated.

We put her on intravenous fluids and high doses of pain relief. Over the week, she fluctuated, but generally slowly improved, and started to pick at grass when turned out with other donkeys. She was a very sociable donkey and always looked brighter when she was around others. Our week finished before she had fully recovered, but I’m hoping she continues on the up! The cause of her colic remains a mystery.

Sophie was my favourite though. A tiny donkey, who unfortunately collapsed and her cart ran over her, causing massive trauma to her face and knees. Chloe and I were in charge of suturing her face back together. It was a long procedure, but afterwards she looked somewhat more respectable. The main complication of the accident was that she had damaged the nerve and muscles of her left eye, so she couldn’t blink properly so will have to monitored closely when her wounds have healed to check her eye isn’t drying out. We also found out she had a particular liking for watermelon rind!

Read Jo's first blog: Volunteering in Marrakech.

Read Jo's second blog: The first day in Chemaia.

Read Jo's third blog: An average day in Chemaia.

Read Jo's fifth blog: Back to Marrakech.

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