New program teaching vets how to treat animals injured in bushfires

A new training course on wildfires is now being introduced across the country to prepare veterinarians across the country to help wildlife in need.

The specialist program was developed by Taronga Wildlife Hospital veterinarian, Dr. Larry Vogelnest.

A specialized program has been introduced to train veterinarians to treat animals affected by wildfires.
Dr. Larry Vogelnst treated animals during the 2019/2020 bushfires for burns. (Live Dr. Larry Bird)

After 32 years of treating injured animals, and seeing the disastrous effects of wildfires, he realized the need for more training.

“It became very clear in early 2020 that there was a need for capacity building among GPs and veterinary nurses to learn more about Australian wildlife and how to treat burn patients,” said Dr. Fogelnst.

As the year draws to a close, horrific bushfires have burned many states and territories, including New South Wales.  While 14-year-old Louis was rescued by a passing motorist, he sadly died of his injuries at Port Macqaurie Koala Hospital shortly after.
Louis the Australian koala escaping bushfires has become a global symbol of disaster. (9 news)

It was in those heart-wrenching photos of a wounded koala that went viral throughout the world during horror season.

The animal, named Lewis, became a global symbol of the Black Summer disaster, as his injuries raised awareness about the need to nurture our wildlife.

“Seeing animals burned, seeing animals in pain is awful. It’s awful,” said Dr. Vogelnst.

A specialized program has been introduced to train veterinarians to treat animals affected by wildfires.
Dr. Vogelnest believes that all veterinarians and veterinary nurses need to know to treat animals injured in bushfires. (Live Dr. Larry Bird)

To date, $2 million has been allocated to the program and its development, with the course providing critical preliminary information on the response to ensure that local animals are cared for and treated appropriately.

“When we have fire events in the future, we know that many of our vets and veterinary nurses will be equipped to receive, treat and improve infected animals,” said Environment Minister Susan Lee.

More than 3,200 veterinary staff have already accessed the programme, including some from abroad.

“Although it focuses on the Australian species, the principles are the same,” he said.

A specialized program for veterinarians to treat animals injured in wildfires.
More than 3,200 veterinarians have already accessed the program. (9 news)

The course is available online and free to access for all veterinarians and veterinary nurses.

“It is great to see that we have received this funding to truly build our capacity as a nation to take care of our wildlife in a way that they need to take care of,” said Cameron Kerr, CEO of the Taronga Conservation Society.

Rescue a kitten from the rooftop of the school

Rescue a kitten from the roof of the school building

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