HELPING to take blood samples from African dwarf crocodiles, giving eye drops to a penguin at Edinburgh Zoo and filing a horse’s teeth – it’s not your usual work experience.
These were just a few of the duties that six youngsters undertook as part of a new CBBC series filmed at Edinburgh University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the Easter Bush campus in Midlothian, which put aspiring vets through their paces.
The series, Junior Vets, which provides an insight into what it takes to become a vet, shows six children from across the UK learning what to do when faced with sick and injured animals.
More than 1000 youngsters applied to take part in the series, which aired for the first time yesterday and showed youngsters dealing with a range of situations – from suturing to identifying abnormalities in X-rays.
The Junior Vets also practised how to diagnose a cow pregnancy by using a specialised training mannequin.
Professor David Argyle, head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: “This programme really gives a sense of what being a vet entails. For youngsters wanting to become a vet, it is an immensely rewarding career with so many amazing experiences.”
The youngsters, aged between 11 and 14, worked closely with vets, gaining hands-on experience and a flavour of what a career in veterinary medicine entails.
Each of the ten episodes sees the children put into teams of two to carry out that day’s veterinary tasks, both at the university’s vet school and out and about at farms and zoos, including Edinburgh Zoo and the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian.
All episodes are presented by Paul Manktelow, a qualified London-based vet who offers advice on the new challenges that the youngsters faced.
The Junior Vets even scrubbed up for surgery on an African grey parrot and a ferret, where they helped monitor the effects of anaesthetic.
One of the more unusual operations involved an Axolotl, an amphibian, which had a lump removed from its head.
College and university bosses hope the series lead to a hike in admissions for veterinary courses.
A “Head Junior Vet” was selected based on performance at the end of the series, who received a trophy after all the youngsters “graduated” from Junior Vet School.
The first programme was aired at 5.45pm yesterday and will be repeated at 1.25pm on Sunday.
Professor named as new Napier principal
A VETERINARY surgeon has been appointed as principal and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University.
Professor Andrea Nolan, currently senior vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor at Glasgow University, will take up her post in July, replacing Prof Dame Joan Stringer, who will retire after a decade in the role.
Prof Nolan graduated from Trinity College Dublin and was appointed as a lecturer at Glasgow in 1989. She became vice-principal in 2004. She said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the next principal and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University.
“I look forward very much to working with the university community to build on the success of Professor Stringer’s principalship.”