“Fetch the anaesthetist!”: Practical surgery sessions in Morocco

Morocco team

“Fetch the anaesthetist!”: Practical surgery sessions in Morocco

Read about our new veterinary programme advisor Hannah Davies’ first trip abroad with SPANA…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was told that my first trip with SPANA would be helping to run a practical surgery course at the SPANA centre in Marrakech, Morocco. “I’ll need an anaesthetist for some surgeries” said Francesca, our veterinary director and specialist equine surgeon.

Woman and grey donkey

Anaesthetising donkeys and mules in Morocco… now that could be interesting, I thought! Perhaps a little different to the veterinary work I have been used to in the UK, but I was excited to get stuck in, and sure enough, I did!

The surgery course ran over three days and held in our busy Marrakech centre. Our vets from all the Moroccan SPANA centres attended. We provided lectures on anaesthesia, surgical equipment and surgical techniques in the mornings, and ran practical surgery sessions in the afternoons.

Dr Boubker, one of our vets from the Marrakech SPANA centre, had certainly gathered some interesting and challenging cases for us, such as sarcoids, tumours, infected joints and limb deformities.

The anaesthetics were challenging, but I was impressed with what we were able to achieve with a fairly limited range of drugs. I certainly learnt a few tricks of the art of anaesthetising mules from the local vets!

Woman and a donkey

The surgical facilities were very functional with a padded surgical theatre and comfy waterproof mattresses for the patients to lie on during the procedures. Under the guidance of Francesca, all the vets got an opportunity to ‘scrub in’ and learn new surgical techniques and methods, while I assisted some of them with the anaesthetics. We all worked together as a team achieving great results!

Overall it was a very valuable trip – for me and for our vets in Morocco – and gave me a great taste of things to come as a SPANA vet in the future!

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