AMRRIC volunteer vet Dr Arielle Giles performing surgery on a cat in Batchelor.
AMRRIC and Coomalie Community Government Council have been working together to improve access to veterinary services in the Batchelor and Adelaide River towns and the Coomalie Council rural area.
In August 2020, the AMRRIC team visited both Batchelor and Adelaide River townships to complete a companion animal census. Moving door-to-door, the team offered general health and welfare advice and antiparasitic treatments to owners, while collecting data about the animals in town. The data collected during the census showed there was demand for veterinary services within Coomalie Shire and, most pressingly, there seemed to be an increasing number of cats in Batchelor.
On 24th and 25th March 2021, the first of the AMRRIC-coordinated veterinary trips was run. Local veterinarians and veterinary volunteers were engaged to assist the AMRRIC team. Services offered on the days included: surgical desexing of male and female dogs and cats, basic veterinary consults, antiparasitic treatments and vaccinations. There was a high uptake of services among Batchelor residents with a total of 14 dogs desexed, 6 cats desexed, and 10 other treatments performed including a mix of nail clips, vaccinations and other consults.
AMRRIC Education Officer Michelle also visited the Batchelor and Adelaide River schools during the trip. She was invited into the classroom to provide education about the new tick disease Ehrlichiosis which is spreading across Northern Australia. Michelle also provided education about feral cats and their propensity for breeding and for hunting of native animals – a lesson which is especially important in Batchelor given it borders Litchfield National Park.
The AMRRIC team and Coomalie Community Government Council have plans to complete another two days of veterinary services based in Adelaide River, servicing both Adelaide River township and the rural area, in mid-May. It is hoped that these veterinary days will again have great uptake from the community in order to help to forge ongoing relationships with local veterinarians and support the provision of such future programs in the area. Overall, the aim is to continue to improve access to veterinary services in the Coomalie shire, to optimise animal health and welfare, to stabilise population numbers, and to reduce the burden of cats on the region.
Special thanks to Anna, Emma, Hilary and Glenn of Coomalie Community Government Council for their ongoing support of animal management in Coomalie shire, and without whom the program would not have been possible.