Vets carry wildlife- care cost bur­den

Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Pierra Wil­lix

Ve­teri­nary clin­ics across the Rock­ing­ham area are foot­ing the bill for car­ing for sick and in­jured wildlife and are asking for some sort of gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance to pro­vide medical treat­ment.

Bal­divis Vet Hos­pi­tal’s Kylie Sloanes said on av­er­age, the clinic would treat 1000- 1500 species of wildlife a year.

“We av­er­age from two to five species of wildlife a day; birds, joeys, pos­sums, blue- tongues, skinks — you name it, we have seen it,” she said. Ms Sloanes said the cost for car­ing for wildlife could range from $ 30 for an­tibi­otics to $ 700 for ra­di­ol­ogy and frac­ture re­pairs for each an­i­mal.

“On av­er­age, with med­i­ca­tions, dis­pos­ables and staff time, we would eas­ily spend tens of thou­sands of dol­lars,” she said.

But de­spite the cost, no gov­ern­ment fund­ing was of­fered or avail­able to help pay the costs of car­ing for na­tive an­i­mals, she said.

“It would be great if there were fund­ing and sup­port from the Gov­ern­ment so we could do more for our wildlife and sur­ren­dered or stray an­i­mals,” Ms Sloanes said.

“How­ever, most vet hos­pi­tals ac­cept that it’s part of be­ing a vet that we hap­pily take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of car­ing for wildlife for our com­mu­nity.”

Rock­ing­ham Ve­teri­nary Clinic man­ager and reg­is­tered ve­teri­nary nurse Wendy Brad­dow said on av­er­age, the clinic would see a na­tive an­i­mal at least once ev­ery sec­ond day. The clinic works closely with Se­abird Res­cue and Narage­bup Wildlife and reg­u­larly does ra­dio­graphs and treats wildlife in their care. Although the clinic does not keep reg­u­lar records of the med­i­ca­tion costs for wildlife, Ms Brad­dow said ex­penses would re­flect largely in terms of the staff’s time to care for and per­form surg­eries and pro­ce­dures.

“If that was billed out ap­pro­pri­ately, it would be sig­nif­i­cant,” she said.

The De­part­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions said it did not pro­vide di­rect fund­ing to in­di­vid­ual ve­teri­nary sur­geons for na­tive wildlife treat­ment or care, and charges ap­plied for this ser­vice were “a mat­ter for each prac­tice to de­ter­mine”.

Ms Sloanes said if vet­eri­nar­i­ans were not will­ing to take in­jured or sick wildlife in, there “would be a lot more strain on the res­cuers”.

How­ever, she said most vets took on the cost of treat­ment to en­sure wildlife was cared for and could sur­vive, re­gard­less of what it may cost clin­ics.

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