Local vet pitches in to help fight coronavirus
AS PART of what is described as a "One Health" approach to the coronavirus pandemic, veterinarians across the country are being asked to help donate lifesaving equipment in the fight.
Practice principal of Angourie Road Veterinary Surgery Dr Karen Teasdale said that following a request from the Australian Veterinary Board Council, the surgery would donate their human-size ventilator to be used in intensive care wards.
"The east coast of Australia has a higher percentage of ventilators in vet clinics than anywhere else in the world because of our local occurrence of paralysis ticks and snake bites," she said.
"The Australian Veterinary Board Council put out the call to see if they could get together a list that showed who had what equipment and where.
"That's been passed onto The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care society so they can be best used."
Dr Teasdale said the vet clinic had a variety of sized ventilators because their patients weights varied dramatically.
"We treat animals under one kilogram all the way up to cows and horses, and quite often vet clinics will have multiple ventilators - one's that can really tiny animals and others that are human ventilators for large animals," she said.
"The Intensive Care society can then dictate the supply and demand, so if a problem arose around Grafton or Lismore, they would know we have a ventilator available that could be used for saving human lives."
Dr Teasdale said the call-out had gone out across Australia not just for ventilators, but other supplies such as drugs, gloves and masks.
"We are struggling to get those consumables at the moment, but we understand they need to go where they're going to be the most useful," she said.
"It's a real collaborative approach - it's called a 'One Health' approach - where veterinary and human physicians see the health of the planets and all of the animals are intrinsically intertwined _ and we need to have a multidisciplinary approach to this."
Dr Teasdale said that many vet clinics wanted to step up and be on board to help their human physician colleagues, as many of the ventilators may only be used at the vet once or twice a year.
However, Ms Teasdale said that as one of the main uses for the human ventilators was to support large animals that were being treated for paralysis ticks, she urged pet owners to be even more vigilant than normal.
"We are sacrificing our equipment to help others, and the way our clients can play their part is to make sure their equipment is 100 per cent up to date, and to be even more vigilant than usual," she said.
"If people have any questions or concerns, we urge them to call their vet clinic and talk to the vets or nurses and get expert advice over the phone."