Kenmare vets help circus camel over major hump

SKILLED veterinary surgeons have helped a lame circus camel overcome a major hump.

Sully, a middle-aged Bactrian or two-humped camel, who had been hobbling in pain for some time when he arrived in Kenmare, Co Kerry, with the Tipperary-based European Circus.

But he is now pain-free and back on all four legs thanks to the team at the Kenmare Veterinary Centre.

The centre’s co-founder, Dr Henk Offereins, has treated camels before in Holland but said this was one of the most unusual, and one of the most rewarding cases, he has ever worked on.

“The animal was in clear pain. But with the combined knowledge of our vets, we were able to help,” he said.

The circus owners discovered Dr Offereins was at one of their shows and they asked him to examine Sully.

Camels are a curious mix of a horse and cow and can be particularly vicious — capable of kicking front, back and sideways, and of biting and spitting.

Despite this, and the fact that camels don’t take anaesthetic very well, Dr Henk agreed to take on the case.

An X-ray revealed a piece of glass embedded deep in one of the animal’s front legs. Dr Henk sedated Sully using a general anaesthetic and in a complex two-hour operation in their specialised equine theatre, they removed the glass.

“Surgery on camels is complicated,” Dr Offereins said. “They do not take anaesthetic well and they don’t handle as easy as the average patient we see.”

Henk and Joanna Offereins opened their state-of-the-art animal hospital in 2005. It has since developed into one of the region’s most respected clinics.

Dr Offereins works with fellow vets, Niamh McCormack and Francois Walch.

While Niamh and Henk are well known for their knowledge and dedication to pets and horses, Francois is an experienced vet for farm animals.


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