An inflatable veterinary field hospital that will help animals injured by natural disasters has been launched in South Australia, just as the state’s annual fire season is due to start.
Said to be the first of its kind in Australia, the tunnel-shaped structure resembling a Nissen hut will house SA Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) staff.
“During the Sampson Flat bushfire of 2015, we saw probably close to 1,000 animals over an eight-week period,” SAVEM’s Rachel Westcott said.
“Many of those were wildlife, mainly kangaroos and koalas, but we did see all species such as horses, dogs, cats, reptiles, other pets, as well as cattle and sheep.”
Dr Westcott said the most common injuries were burns to feet and hooves.
“Kangaroos can have catastrophic injuries to their feet, while livestock can have burnt hooves as well as burns to their whole body,” she said.
“At the Pinery bushfire, animals that were in canola stubble died because the fire was so hot.”
Dr Westcott said smoke inhalation was another common and sometimes fatal condition that could be treated with antibiotics, pain relief, anti-inflammatories, and by “making sure they were well hydrated” by using IV fluids.
“Lots of horses had smoke injuries in the Pinery fire because the smoke was so dense it was like night time where they were.”
The $30,000 field hospital was financed by The Hackett Foundation.
Sourced from an article that appeared on the ABC Rural News website.