Students at Qatar Foundation (QF) have a unique opportunity to learn more about veterinary medicine through an educational volunteer programme designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to help take care of critically ill neonatal equine patients.
The volunteer programme – the Foal Sitting Project – offered by the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC), a member of Qatar Foundation, aims to engage university students to provide critical and intensive care for newborn foals, who are either sick with infectious disease, or who have had birth trauma, and need a lot of support during the first 24 to 48 hours through the first two weeks of their lives.
EVMC Senior Clinical Veterinarian Dr Camilla A Jamieson said that one of the most important things that the foals need is a person who cares for them, who is interested, and motivated, and who can pay attention and be by their side.
These foals are baby animals and just like baby people. They need stimulation, interaction, and support. And just the warmth of having somebody who can give them a few hours of dedicated undivided attention is vital for their healing process.
Dr Jamieson said that the programme at EVMC offers an amazing opportunity. They are also affiliated with a number of universities and people who are interested in horses, and are looking to pursue an equine or veterinary related career.
She said that foal sitters do not need to have any previous experience in veterinary medicine, and volunteering students regardless of their major or area of studies are welcome.
There is no experience necessary. Loving horses is the only prerequisite and the only requirement. You don’t need to be a vet or highly qualified, but just a person who cares for horses. We will be there to guide and train them.
Describing her experience as a volunteer and foal sitter, Zainab Qazi, a student at Georgetown University in Qatar, said it has been a wonderful and truly unique experience for her.
I was able to learn more about them from the EVMC medical professionals and I had no concerns regarding safety due to the enforcement of extensive precautionary measures. I would highly recommend this project to all QF students since it was a truly rewarding and valuable experience for me.
Speaking on the impact that the programme will have for the future, Dr Jamieson said they hope to guide people and give them inspiration, or help them realise that they really want to pursue a career in an equine or veterinary field.
She said that her dream would be to have a student who comes through and does the foal sitting programme and gets attached to it.
And we see them season after season; then follow them through vet school, and maybe even have them as interns in the clinic in the future.
To learn more about the volunteer programme, visit evmc.qa.