In May 2023 Dr Anna Peggram travelled to Fez in Morroco to spent 1 week at the American Fondok to deliver lectures and practical workshops to thier veterinary team. Anna tells us more about her trip and volunteering at the American Fondouk.
I was selected by the BEVA Trust to travel to Morocco and present seminars on theriogenology and if I had time ophthalmology. After I had written 5 presentations and prepared some practical sessions there was no time for ophthalmology so sadly will have to be left for another time.
The American Fondouk is a Boston based charity which has been providing free veterinary care to the working Equids of Fes, most of whom either work in the narrow streets of the Medina transporting goods or pulling carts on the larger roads. Some of the Arab/Barb horses are used for weddings and tourist transport..
The hospital is open 24/7 and the first patients of the day usually start arriving from 730am and continuously throughout the day. The Fondouk was full when I was there with approx. 25 patients receiving treatments for wounds, colics, respiratory disease, fractures, tendon sheath infections, hernias and foaling issues. Routine dentals, deworming and castrations are carried out as well. Some of the patients remain for many weeks as they cannot be sent home to be managed.
The hospital is run by Dr Ahmed Khairoun who is kept very busy and has a passion for surgery and will turn his hand to anything. He has recently completed his surgical internship at Prudoe. He is assisted by his wife Iman whose main interest is internal medicine and is involved in some research into respiratory disease in the working equid. There are 2 other clinicians, 2 interns and various students. There is a strong relationship with Glasgow and Edinburgh university and students often come over for work experience.
I found this to be a truly unique experience as I have never worked in an environment where there is no financial restraint, so every patient is given a chance and not discharged until it is cured or able to go back to work. Yes it is not for the faint hearted as some of the mules arrive in dreadful condition but most of the owners are trying their best and the Fondouk is there to help.
I enjoyed teaching and found the vets to be very keen to learn and we had a nice cool room with a projector for our classes.
I was keen to show them how to do standing castrations as currently they are all down under G.A. Ahmed said I would never be able to do a mule like that but I proved him wrong! We were going to do a miniature donkey as well but ran out of time.
We also did some practical reproductive ultrasound scanning and hopefully they will be more confident doing this going forward.
I also felt I was learning whilst I was there especially with some of the long term wound management cases and chronic impactions. Their motto is to never give up!!
I was very well looked after, had a lovely room to stay in and extremely well fed. I was very appreciated which is unusual in our veterinary profession today and I would love to go back! Thanks for this marvellous opportunity.