A veterinary nurse who works in Vets Now’s 24/7 emergency and specialty hospital in Swindon has been awarded a top prize in a national exam.

David Stokes, 32, picked up the award in the City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species examination.Image of Vets Now exotics vet nurse David Stokes

David came into veterinary nursing later than most, qualifying as an RVN in 2011, and now works in Swindon as part of Vets Now’s Great Western Exotics team.

He entered the profession after achieving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology with Marine Zoology at the University of Wales in Bangor.

David said: “I always knew I wanted to work with exotics and after qualifying as an RVN I started looking for a nursing position with exotic species.

“In 2014 I was lucky enough to get the chance to work at Vets Now in Swindon.

“I now work solely with exotic species, so achieving my City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species means that I can use the information I have learnt on a daily basis.”

He added: “I have always been passionate about reptiles and amphibians, and this is the area I tend to study the most.

“In my job, however, I see a wide variety of species including birds, small mammals and other wildlife, so the wide range of species dealt with in the course has really helped me to improve and broaden my knowledge.

“In nursing, particularly with exotics, there is always something more to learn but I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn about veterinary nursing of exotics.”

David shared his top prize with fellow vet nurse Eleanor Slowther, who works at Chester Zoo.

Course director Simon Girling said of the winners: “We have had another truly impressive year of qualification success.

“I am continually impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm the veterinary nursing profession has to improve their knowledge and care for exotic pets and wildlife.”

Part of Vets Now, Great Western Exotics is one of the few full-time staffed, avian and exotic animal veterinary services in the UK.

Headed by European and RCVS recognised specialist in avian medicine Dr Neil Forbes, it offers a 24/7 avian and exotic animal referral service for veterinary professionals, as well as routine first-opinion consultations for pet owners seven-days-a-week.

Its team of vets and vet nurses are specifically trained to care for the everyday needs of exotic pets, including birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, amphibians and arthropods such as snails, spiders and other insects.