WHETHER it’s a poorly bat, an injured fox or an owl that’s starving and cold, veterinary nurse Ashley Pounder loves to take a walk on the wild side.
Ashley, who works at Parker & Crowther Vets on Merseyside, has helped dozens of sick, injured or orphaned wild animals and birds and has even been known to take them home until they’re well enough to be released back into their natural habitat.
Over the last few years, she has helped a fox that suffered a fractured leg after being hit by a car, bats that have been attacked by cats, a young tawny owl tangled in a football net, hedgehogs suffering from dehydration during the heatwave and head-reared baby rabbits, hedgehogs, rats, mice, pigeons and jackdaws.
To further her knowledge and ability to care, Ashley is studying for an Advanced Veterinary Nursing Certificate in Zoological, Exotics and Wildlife, including avian, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, wildlife and zoo animals.
The course covers a range of topics from anatomy and physiology, through nutrition, anaesthesia, emergency and critical care, fluid therapy, husbandry and nursing of common diseases. She has just passed the wildlife nursing section.
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Ashley also loves looking after dogs, cats and other pets that come through the doors with their owners at Parker & Crowther’s surgeries in Formby, Maghull and Birkdale, but admits she loves seeing wildlife and also volunteers with a group of local conservation and wildlife enthusiasts.
Ashley said: “I’ve always had a keen interest in exotics and wildlife even before I went into veterinary nursing as I find them really fascinating. We have lots of wildlife brought into the practice and I enjoy the challenge of looking after them.
“I feel that the skills I’ve developed through working with wildlife and from doing my advanced certificate have much improved the quality of care we have been able to provide to wildlife in the practice providing advice and education in the community.
“Everything is given a chance if it is ethical, able to survive and we are able to nurse it back to health and then release it again back into the wild. It is not always in the animals best interests to be brought in and it is sometimes better to let nature take its course.
“I am also a volunteer with the Bat Conservation Trust and we see a lot of bats in practice if they have been attacked by cats or had their habitat disturbed by new building developments. We also had a juvenile tawny owl brought in after it was caught in a football net in the rain and was waterlogged, cold and hungry.
“We have had a lot of baby rabbits brought in this summer and the heatwave has led to a lot of hedgehogs being brought in due to the heatwave as they struggle to find water when it’s so hot.”
Expanding knowledge helps our teams to thrive
Ashley, a Registered Veterinary Nurse, who has worked at Parker & Crowther for seven years, is nearing the end of her new qualification, which has boosted her knowledge of treating exotics and wildlife.
She added: “Through doing the course, I’ve learned a lot of new things and gained a lot of confidence. I am able to relate to a lot of the cases I study and it is good to have the theory behind things you’ve seen.
“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge I am able to apply in practice and also help colleagues.”
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