Big changes, great and small, at Arran Vets

Shona Hume, Gemma Ferguson and Charlotte Clough with some of the patients.

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Good things come in threes, it seems, and there have been some very welcome new developments here at Arran Vets in Brodick in the last few months, writes practice owner Charlotte Clough.

The start of July this year saw the arrival of new blood analysis machines at the Knowe Road practice, a big investment but of huge benefit to our patients, of all varieties, in that we can immediately have results for critically ill animals.

For example, with the Vet Scan HM5 hematology analyser we can check the parameters of red and white blood cells in a dog with a life threatening blood clotting problem or a fading cow with liver fluke induced anemia. The Vet Scan 2 biochemistry analyser is also of great value in that we can check liver and kidney values on the day of an anesthetic, benefiting patient safety.

At the end of July I met Dr Danielle Jackson MRCVS, our new permanent vet for the first time. Thank you to all the residents on Arran who directed her in my direction when she was here on holiday a few weeks before. It’s good to know you are all looking out for me!

I am delighted that she has now joined the practice and she started work on in early November. As an extra bonus to the island, her fiance, Jake Dove has also started work on the island as a farm manager.

For the last five years all new vets graduating in the UK can now use the title Dr, a title given to vets graduating in other parts of the world for many years. Older, existing UK vets can also change to become Dr but as I’ve been plain Miss then Mrs all my working life I decided to stick with that. After all human Rs on becoming surgeons change to become Mrs or Mr and the vast majority of vets are also surgeons.

Here Danielle tells Banner readers a little about her career so far.

‘Having grown up in rural Worcestershire, following a year of travelling and teaching in South America, I attended the University of Liverpool Vet School, qualifying in 2014 with honours. Spending many of my holidays working extra hours in the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital I also chose an elective in Equine Soft Tissue Surgery.

‘In 2014 I completed a six month Wildlife Internship in South Africa and then returned to the UK to work as a small animal vet in Upton Upon Severn. Having been offered a job to manage and be the sole vet on a 10,000 hectare game reserve I returned to South Africa to work in wildlife again, but also served the local community helping with cattle, goats and treating whatever I was presented with.

‘Since returning to the UK I have also worked short spells in the West End of Glasgow and at the PDSA. During my time in South Africa I also set up a mounted anti-poaching unit which I still manage remotely in my spare time. When I’m not busy working or helping with the project I love to get away into the hills either running or walking with my fiancé Jake.

‘I’m very privileged to have had such a varied career so far and hope this stands me in good stead to serve the community here on Arran. I am very excited to join Charlotte and the team and look forward to meeting you all.’

Meanwhile, Gemma Ferguson received a totally unexpected email a few weeks ago with the news that she had been nominated for an award by The College of Animal Welfare (CAW). We were all delighted and very surprised as we didn’t know that the College had an annual awards ceremony.

The CAW is the largest provider of veterinary nurse training across the UK and promotes animal welfare through education and training. It has centres in Leeds, London, Huntingdon and Edinburgh.

In early 2019 Gemma completed their level 2 Certificate in assisting veterinary surgeons in the monitoring of animal patients under anaesthesia and sedation. Her final exam was taken in Edinburgh in December last year. She passed with flying colours and, unbeknown to us, was then nominated by her CAW tutor for the award of best student of 2019 on this course, from across the whole UK.

Gemma and husband John travelled all the way down to Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire recently where she was presented with her award.

We are all very proud of her achievement and, most importantly, we know that the animals under general anesthetic at the practice will be looked after with great care and attention and skill.

Many Congratulations to Gemma for such a great personal achievement and for flying the flag for Arran Vets, the Isle of Arran and Scotland at a nationwide awards ceremony.

New blood analyers are installed in the prep room. No_B49vet01

New VS2 biochemistry and HM5 heamatology analsyers will make a huge difference in patient care. No_B49vet02

Dr Danielle Jackson has taken on the position of full time vet at the practice. No_B49vet03

Dr Danielle Jackson her fiance Jake Dove who have both moved to Arran. No_B49vet04

Shona Hume, Gemma Ferguson and Charlotte Clough with some of the patients. No_B49vet05

Gemma Ferguson is presented with her award for being the best student in her class at the College of Animal Welfare. No_B49vet06 and the certificate itself. No_B29vet07