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Posted By: Greg - Vet

Rainbows visit brightens up the practice

A veterinary practice is best known for being a place to visit with an ill pet or for some preventative animal health advice, but it is also an important fixture of the local community. Education within the community is an important job of a veterinary surgeon, be this with training courses for farmers, a placement for work experience or visiting schools to inspire the next generation of potential vets and nurses. The younger generation are crucial to educate about animal health, and it is not only in the school setting that we like to introduce ourselves; young farmers clubs, and youth activity groups like the Beavers are always encouraged to visit the practice – most recently the Shepton Mallet Rainbows came to enjoy a tour.

A Monday evening surgery can often be a busy and tiring one, following up on cases from the weekend, but at the end of the day Shepton Vets welcomed the Rainbows to inject a bit of energy back into the building! A group of eighteen five and six year old girls accompanied by their leaders and helpers assembled in the waiting room, some with their own cuddly dog toys ready to be fixed. Some had already been to the practice previously with their own pet, but this would be a more relaxed and fun, but hopefully informative session and would be a chance for a behind the scenes peek.

First up was a discussion about the needs of pets and what we could all do to ensure we looked after them to the best of our ability. It was pleasing to hear that the girls could happily and quickly reel off all the vital things – food, water, comfort, care and safety. Next everyone managed to name most of the goings-on at the practice in the normal day-to-day running of the vets ranging from appointments to operations and X-Rays, and they were all familiar with the jobs of the vets and nurses.

Next with the help of practice toy dog ‘Shep’, the Rainbows were shown an example of a veterinary consultation involving a full clinical examination. Shep was very well behaved despite his poking and prodding, and was even muzzled whilst his temperature was taken. The girls found out that he was microchipped after being passed over by the scanner, what his weight was and that he had no teeth and only one ear. Shep was then well behaved as he was stroked by a line of eager Rainbows.

By this time all the children had sat very still and politely but were itching for some activities and to see the sights of the practice. Through the consult rooms and corridors everyone arrived in the prep room – normally the hub of activity in any veterinary practice. One of the girls’ stuffed dog toys was then ‘anaesthetised’ to have her leg ‘fixed’ and bandaged, with photos taken of the finished article. Next was an occasion to dress up, and although the leaders may have been reluctant to put on their gloves and hats, all the kids were more than keen to pretend to be an operating surgeon. Disposable gloves, hats and gowns were all put on with glee and of course a group photo followed.

Finally after a bit of show and tell where models of bones and ears were correctly guessed and a stethoscope was identified and then passed around to listen to each other’s hearts, a question and answer session wrapped up the evening. Among the questions the girls asked were of our opening times - but they were shocked to know that we worked at night, weekends and even Easter! By this time it was bedtime (for everyone involved!) and all the Rainbows were picked up happy and still wearing their surgical hats.

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