The First Day In Chemaia

22 June 2015

In her second 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.

Veterinary volunteer Jo HardyThe next Monday, Chloe and I were transferred to the Chemaia clinic.

On arrival I saw that it was smaller than the Marrakech clinic with 12 hospitalisation stables, but equally as functional. A very charismatic technician called Driss showed us around, and introduced us to the two experienced vets, Dr. Youness and Dr. Kamal. We started the day again with tending to the inpatients, then helping with new cases. We also saw a lame horse, and then a donkey mare arrived, who had been colicking on and off for two days and was heavily pregnant.

On examination, it was obvious what the problem was: the uterus had become twisted. In England, the only two options for this condition are referral to a hospital for surgery or euthanasia so I thought it was the end of the road for this poor mare. But then I looked at the vets, and they were preparing for surgery!

The plan was to try and correct the twisted uterus and deliver the foal naturally, but if that wasn’t possible, plan B was to deliver the foal by caesarian, then correct the twist. It was soon apparent plan B was the only option. Youness and Kamal bravely did the surgery together, and removed the foal, which was sadly dead, most likely because of a compromised blood supply as a result of the twist. They then stitched up the uterus, untwisted it, and sutured the skin leaving a neat little wound.

I was in awe. Standing caesarians are commonly performed on cows in the UK, but in an equid, this sort of thing is not done in the field! The donkey was admitted to the hospital for pain relief and some intensive care and hopefully she will do well.

Read Jo's first blog: Volunteering in Marrakech.

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

Read Jo's fourth blog: A week volunteering in Chemaia.

Read Jo's fifth blog: Back to Marrakech.

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