A tapir chal­lenge

Somerset Life - - GARSTON VETS -

One thing for which Garston Vets will be for­ever re­mem­bered is its as­so­ci­a­tion with Lon­gleat sa­fari park.

Lor­raine says: “In 1966 when Lon­gleat opened, Stephens and Stephens [as the prac­tice was then known] were vets to Lord Bath and his es­tates. So they were al­ready his vets, but not to ex­otic an­i­mals.

“One day they got a call that there was a sick tapir. The vet popped home to look in an en­cy­clopae­dia to see what a tapir was!” She says that the Garston vets be­came pi­o­neers in ex­otic an­i­mal treat­ment. They in­vented a way of se­dat­ing an­i­mals – ap­par­ently se­dat­ing a gi­raffe is very dif­fi­cult be­cause it can re­gur­gi­tate and choke to death. They had to use ri­fles with the larger an­i­mals, al­though the small ones could be se­dated with the use of a blow pipe. “The vet of­ten had to op­er­ate in situ, sur­rounded by a guard of ri­fles. As a vet then you had to have nerves of steel!”

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