First aid training in Saudi Arabia

Dr Tom Dutton from Great Western Exotics joined the GB falcon racing team in Saudi Arabia to showcase a new style of falcon racing and to provide medical care to the falcons involved in the racing.

Using a drone in the shape of a prey bird, this new style of stimulated hunt racing provides falcons with the opportunity to utilise their speed and agility while the pilot tries to keep the model away from their talons.

Developed in the UK by Dr Nick Fox OBE, the drone prey bird has also been adopted by veterinary professionals to assist with the recovery and rehabilitation of wild injured birds in a safe and monitored environment. A number of injured peregrine falcons treated at Great Western Exotics have been released into the wild after being rehabilitated using the models, with success and data previously being presented at international veterinary conferences.

Visiting the local falconry hospital, Dr Tom Dutton, an EBVS specialist in avian medicine and surgery provided insight on the veterinary investigations and treatments being provided to the visiting falconers.

Dr Tom Dutton, said:

“Having the opportunity to travel internationally and to share my knowledge and experience of caring for falcons has been brilliant.

I think the use of drones is really interesting and offers so many options for getting wild birds fit and healthy. To see these really well-conditioned birds, chase the drone in a safe environment was fascinating as it highlights the level of fitness that can be achieved.”

Dr Dutton leads the team at Great Western Exotics in Swindon and is also a RCVS recognised specialist in zoo and wildlife medicine. The referral hospital is part of the IVC Evidensia group and its expert team specialise in the care of birds, rodents, reptiles and zoo animals, including fish and amphibians.

To find out more about Tom’s visit, click here.