Sharon for Vet School

Mature vet student

Sharon for Vet School
  • £678

    pledged of £9,500

    • 14

      sponsors

    • 0

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Completion Date: Mon 15 Aug 2016

Raising money to study Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool

 

Hello I’m Sharon and I need to raise £24,500 towards my BSc Veterinary Science studies at the University of Liverpool. I was accepted unconditionally, against some very stiff competition and hope to start in September 2016 providing I can raise the money for my fees. I will be studying to become a vet, combining my interest in animal welfare and research.

Why support me?

I am returning to study later in life, being a mature student.  I must raise the fees myself, as I am unable to apply for assistance through Student finance.  Although daunting, it is a challenge I will tackle. I hope to raise some of the funds required by applying for grants, although I am limited to only a few awarding bodies as I am above their upper age limit for the vast majority of awards.

I am determined, resourceful and compassionate.  This will not only help with the task at hand but in my career in Veterinary Science. I have a particular interest in equine obesity and hind gut disorders.

By supporting me you will not only be supporting advances in research to improve animal welfare, but also raise awareness of the issues. 

I have chosen rewards carefully to enable you, should you be interested, to be involved in my studies from my blog, to Twitter and Facebook updates.

For higher contributions, I can offer a bespoke limited edition framed picture by Derek Grant Photography Whitley Bay and termly updates on my progress along with a bespoke thank you card.

Alternatively if there is something else you would like I would be happy to discuss it and try to arrange something.

Where is the money going?

Before I start I need to secure £9000 for my first year tuition fees.  Although this is a 5 year course I am hoping to cover only the first year, which will allow me to apply for grants and awards to help towards the remaining years.

I hope to cover the tuition fee for the first year through crowdfunding. To cover the Stripe fee I have set the total at £9500 and the minimum set at £4700, as I am able to pay in installments and this will allow me to start the year.

Should the total come to more than this, I will use the extra money to make a contribution towards 12 weeks of extra mural studies I must undertake and additional study equipment I must purchase from the University. After that any money would go directly towards my second year tuition fee.

The remaining money I am hoping to cover, through grants and fundraising for The Diggler’s Charitable Trust.   They have kindly offered to support me, in return for fundraising on their behalf.  The money raised goes directly into a bursary fund which in turn is paid directly to the University of Liverpool for my tuition.

Why Choose Vet Science?

 I have always had a love of animals and research. Approximately 2 years ago my ex-racehorse, Nyx, became unwell, with fairly non-specific symptoms that, when my vet came, they were never enough to make a diagnosis.

Nyx developed odd fat pads in strange places, loose droppings with a cowpat consistency, and showed intermittent lameness with occasional bouts of laminitis but only ever in one foot at a time.

During this time she had many vet visits and underwent many diagnostic tests, which either ruled out a condition or were never significantly raised to point to a diagnosis.  Nyx was not only under the care of my vet, but we had the input of specialists, but still no definitive diagnosis.

At this point I felt helpless.  As an owner with equine veterinary nursing experience it was difficult to slowly watch my horse deteriorate in front of my eyes, so I decided to look at her as a research project.  This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, nursing a sick horse while being analytical and objective.

I kept notes of symptoms, environmental conditions, and consistency of droppings.  I had the grazing analyzed.  I made notes about her foot condition.  Now that she was barefoot I got to see changes that often go un-noticed when a shoe is in place. She even underwent thermal imaging trying to pin point an issue which maybe underlying. Her results came back with hot spots all over, but no definitive area of concern.  Her whole left side was a concern!

I began researching her symptoms reading veterinary articles on biomechanics, equine gastric ulcers, GI disorders etc.  Then one day I came upon an article by a vet in America - Dr Kerry Ridgeway.  Kerry’s paper discussed high heel/low heel syndrome.  This was one of the symptoms displayed by Nyx - along with a host of other biomechanical issues.

I sent Dr Kerry an email to ask his advice.  He pointed me to an article discussing hindgut acidosis.  I read the paper.  The symptoms were too similar to dismiss.  I reviewed the literature and discovered that while there was a whole host of articles regarding equine gastric ulcers, there were very few regarding hindgut acidosis in equines.

I began keeping records of the pH of my horse’s droppings.  They never got near the stated normal for horses (pH 6-7.5)! Over a 3 week period Nyx’s averaged pH 4.5. Much too acidic! I shared my data with my vet. I was concerned,  not only did Nyx have hindgut acidosis but the prolonged nature of the condition had provided perfect conditions for the more pathological bacteria found in the gut. The vet sent the droppings off for detailed analysis.  This confirmed acidic droppings, and a secondary bacterial infection of clostridia, requiring prompt treatment.

Today Nyx is well and returning to full fitness.  We still have a couple of biomechanical issues to work through: as a result of holding herself for such a long time to protect her hindgut and herself from pain.  But she’s well on the road to recovery.

This journey was a lengthy, distressing, and, quite frankly, bloody frustrating. However, I am glad I took it.  It led me to where I am today: about to embark on a new career and a 5 year veterinary science degree at the University of Liverpool.  At last I can combine my passion for animal welfare and research.

I believe that conditions of the hind gut are more common than we think and often present either asymptomatic or are misdiagnosed as behaviour problems or biomechanical issues. Early indicators - such as the biomechanical issues and loss of performance - should be thoroughly investigated and hind gut issues not dismissed. The problem is there is no definitive test to indicate hindgut issues.  Diagnosis is often difficult in the early stages as each case is very individual and can present different symptoms. This is primarily why I wish to study Veterinary Science, so I can contribute to research into hindgut issues.


Where is the money going?

Before I start I need to secure £9000 for my first year tuition fees.  Although this is a 5 year course I am hoping to cover only the first year, which will allow me to apply for grants and awards to help towards the remaining years.

I hope to cover the tuition fee for the first year through crowdfunding. To cover the Stripe fee I have set the total at £9500 and the minimum set at £4700, as I am able to pay in instalments and this will allow me to start the year.

Should the total come to more than this, I will use the extra money to make a contribution towards 12 weeks of extra mural studies I must undertake and study equipment I must purchase from the University. After that any money would go directly towards my second year tuition fee. 

The remaining money I am hoping to cover, through grants and fundraising for The Diggler’s Charitable Trust.   They have kindly offered to support me, in return for fundraising on their behalf.  The money raised goes directly into a bursary fund which in turn is paid directly to the University of Liverpool for my tuition.

Rewards

In return for your support, you will become part of my journey, including the highs and the lows. I have spent time thinking about the best way I can offer this to everyone!  I have chosen the rewards as you can see listed on the right.

Thank you card with original photography by Derek Grant Photography (Whitley Bay).

 

If there is something else you would like, please feel free to contact me to discuss other options