Sick pets get quick fix
HOBART has a new $1.5 million emergency veterinary hospital to cater for soaring demand for after-hours services.
The After Hours Veterinary Emergency Centre treated a record 5500 animals last year, which was 2000 more than just three years ago.
The centre’s executive director Vibeke Russell said demand was increasing every year.
“We are getting busier, because people expect more for their pets in terms of care,” Dr Russell said.
The new emergency and critical care hospital in Moonah has more than double the capacity of AHVEC’s present facility in North Hobart.
“We’ve been at North Hobart for seven years and we’ve grown hugely in that time,” Dr Russell said.
She said this summer had been especially busy, partly because of snake bites.
During December the afterhours clinic saw 621 pets – all outside of regular office hours, from 5.30pm until 8am, weekends and public holidays.
“The busy months are always the summer months, as there are more snake bites, more overeating and eating the wrong things,” Dr Russell said.
So far this summer the after-hours clinic has treated nine dogs and eight cats for snake bites. One of the dogs died.
Dr Russell said many of the dogs bitten by snakes were so paralysed they were unable to breathe without support. They were placed on the hospital’s ventilator, which was purchased a year ago from the Royal Hobart Hospital.
The new animal hospital will have a dedicated intensive care unit for pets bitten by snakes, as well as other critical care cases.
The facility will also have a surgery suite, endoscopy room, an oxygen cage and cat and dog wards. In total, it will be able to house about 30 dogs and 15 cats. Dogs and cats will have separate waiting rooms and consulting rooms.
Dr Russell warned people to keep pets indoors when snakes were likely to be about, and especially keep them away from dams and water holes where snakes were likely to be.
If a pet was bitten by a snake, she said they needed to be treated as quickly as possible. She said treatment, including snake antivenom, had an 80-90 per cent success rate.
STATE-OF-THE-ART: After Hours Veterinary Emergency Centre executive director Vibeke Russell with greyhound Freya, at the new Moonah hospital.