Biomedical Sciences

Alex Thiemann (MSc IAH, Winter 2009 graduation)

For the first half of my career I focused solely on the clinical aspect of being an equine practitioner in a large practice, then went on to specialise in donkeys.

Alex Thiemann stands next to a donkey in Spain
Alex with a donkey in Spain

Being employed by The Donkey Sanctuary, which is the largest equine NGO globally, I came into contact with the international nature and importance of veterinary work on a daily basis.

When my third child was born I started studying for the Masters in International Animal Health with Edinburgh. The programme content was very appealing and well structured. The modular nature and interactive message boards allowed me to feel included and able to cope with the demands of my day job, studying and home life.

I used the programme to study in depth transboundary diseases affecting equines, and did my dissertation on equine piroplasmosis serology in donkeys in Spain. As someone rather scared of statistics to start with my supervisor guided me (relatively) painlessly through the areas that I found hard.

Soon after completing the Masters programme, I was offered the opportunity to work across Europe with several partner organisations offering donkey care. This has led to developing a lasting network of colleagues and continuing to provide care for this much marginalised species. Spurred on by the Masters I undertook the Certificate in Veterinary Education (also online).

With this combination of postgraduate credentials I can now combine clinical work with involvement in the global aspect of the work of the Donkey Sanctuary, and provide education and teaching to a range of users. My new job title is Senior Veterinary Surgeon – Education and Research. With this new role comes the ability to guide strategy that will improve the lives of donkeys both in the UK and worldwide, and from the donkeys to the communities that depend upon them for their livelihoods.