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Exotics vet overcomes spider bite and heat to raise funds for animal welfare

Companion animal and exotics vet Daniella Dos Santos overcame a spider bite, a leg injury and heatwave-like conditions to complete the Virgin London Marathon on 22 April.

She completed the race in seven hours and four minutes raising more than £1,600 for vet-led charity Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF).

Dos Santos, who became the first person to run the London Marathon for AWF, had originally planned to compete in an ostrich costume but had to drop the idea given the extreme weather and her injury.

To prepare for the London Marathon, she introduced a training schedule to overcome her running aversion, as well as working full-time as a vet.

A 2012 Royal Veterinary College graduate, Dos Santos is the Principal Exotics Vet at ParkVet Hospital in Kent and is studying towards a certificate in Zoological Medicine. She is passionate about ethics and animal welfare and, apart from being on AWF’s board of trustees, is an active member of the BVA Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel.

Dos Santos, an AWF trustee, said: “I have a real knack of getting bitten by spiders and ending up in pretty bad shape. About three weeks ago I was bitten, for the sixth time, by a spider in Australia. Walking, let alone running, was a challenge, and as a result I picked up an injury in my other leg. Though I wasn’t as fit as I’d have liked to have been, I decided to run so that AWF can continue their amazing work for animal welfare worldwide.

“I managed to cross the line safely 34 minutes later than I had aimed for, but given that it was the hottest London Marathon on record and I was nursing an injury, I am happy with my achievement.

“I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support of AWF, my colleagues at work and at the British Veterinary Association (BVA), and my friends and family – it’s what got me over the finish line.”

Chris Laurence, AWF chair of trustees, said: “I am amazed at the incredible grit and determination Daniella has shown in her quest to raise vital money for AWF’s work. The funds will go a long way in supporting our work in improving animal welfare. On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to thank her for her support.”

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