store supervisor at the independent TFM Countrystore in Whisby, Lincolnshire,
followed a slightly less conventional route to her role as a RAMA, having been
a primary school teacher for ten years prior to taking up her current position.
“I was looking for a complete change of direction and animals and rural life have always been close to my heart. The opportunity to undertake a qualification in animal medicines was a particular attraction, along with the ongoing training and CPD as I am always hungry to learn new skills,” explains Alex.
“I didn’t realise until I started training just how involved the course was, and how rewarding becoming a qualified RAMA would be. I love the high standards of professionalism, the regular CPD and the ability to help people and their animals,” she adds.
Alex is one of a wider team of RAMAs at TFM, with seven currently registered covering companion animal, equine and avian categories, with another staff member awaiting exam results and another one currently training.
“This means we generally have at least two RAMAs on the shop floor at any given time, despite long opening hours,” continues Alex. “As a company we do proactively encourage staff development and feel that it improves job satisfaction.”
Although qualified as an equine, companion animal and avian RAMA, it is issues surrounding equine worming that Alex feels is particularly pressing now, given the serious issues with resistance.
“We urgently need to protect our remaining anthelmintics from losing efficacy by ensuring we only use them when necessary, but I feel we are still some way off successfully communicating the importance of targeted worming, and the use of worm counts, to the wider equine community,” says Alex.
“Many horse owners are still working on the old system of worming every three months, and I’ve even heard of one owner being advised to worm both horses, despite one having a low worm count, as they share grazing. This totally undermines the purpose of worm counting.
“I would like to see more horse owners, and in particular yard owners, engaging with us and taking advice on suitable worming programmes for their horses,” she adds.