Bushfire update from AVA on veterinary contributions and volunteering

The Australian Veterinary Association has provided the following information on actions being taken to provide veterinary assistance during the Victorian bushfire emergency: 

With dangerous bushfires still burning in the North East of Victoria, sadly many areas remain inaccessible to enable veterinary assessment and treatment of animals.

The Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan was developed on recommendation after the Royal Commission on the devastating bushfires in 2009. As part of this Plan, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is responsible for coordinating volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses to assist in emergencies if requested by the State Government, once government veterinary services have been exhausted.

AVA staff are currently sitting within Agriculture Victoria’s Incident Management Team and managing the volunteer register, in addition to liaising with local councils and shires in bushfire affected areas to ensure any animal welfare requirements are met. The AVA is also managing donations of medical supplies from veterinary wholesalers, organisations and veterinary clinics. The generous contributions have been very humbling.

With so many areas still inaccessible, it is not yet clear what capacity of veterinary assistance is required. Currently the AVA has coordinated six livestock veterinarians to work with Agriculture Victoria staff entering private properties in the North East – assessing, treating and euthanasing livestock. There are another fifteen livestock veterinarians ready to be deployed when required.

Over the past few days, veterinarians were flown into Mallacoota to treat and euthanase wildlife and they are doing an incredible job under trying circumstances. Further wildlife triage centres are expected to be established this week and will initially be staffed by veterinarians from Zoos Victoria but there may be a requirement for further assistance that the AVA will coordinate.

The amount of veterinary assistance required will become clearer as time progresses and the AVA will circulate any requests to their volunteer database. If you would like to receive these requests, please register on the AVA database at this link.

If you have medical supplies you would like to donate for use at wildlife triage centres or for livestock assessments, please email [email protected]. These supplies will also be available for wildlife carer groups to access.

During emergency situations such as this, please remember the legislative requirements of Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 drugs must be complied with. To view these requirements, please click here.

There has been an overwhelming support by veterinary community during this challenging time and it is truly appreciated.

Susan Chandler
Senior Advocacy Officer
Australian Veterinary Association 

Tel: 02 9431 5000 | E: [email protected]