Sick pets get quick fix

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER SUN­DAY JAN­UARY 13 2019

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.

Pic­ture: PA­TRICK GEE

STATE-OF-THE-ART: Af­ter Hours Vet­eri­nary Emer­gency Cen­tre ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Vibeke Rus­sell with grey­hound Freya, at the new Moonah hos­pi­tal.

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