Tonga receives much needed vet for treatment of animals

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 6, 2018
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SUVA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Geoff Neal, lead veterinarian for South Pacific Animal Welfare (SPAW), is in Tonga with his team of volunteers offering much needed vet treatment for the island's animals.

According to Matangi Tonga news website on Thursday, they said that Tonga has the greatest need in the Pacific because vet care is not easily accessible there.

SPAW visits Tonga twice a year and their free clinic gets busier on every visit.

The SPAW program introduced volunteer veterinary care to Tonga and the organisation has run joint programs with local agencies on Fiji and on the islands of Upolu and Savaii in Samoa.

While much of the work is neutering animals and giving treatment for parasites, there are also some difficult and unusual cases.

Neal has been volunteering for SPAW since 2013.

SPAW is predominantly focused on Tonga, which has the greatest need and the lowest external resourcing. There are no veterinarians in all of Tonga. Both Samoa and Fiji have some veterinarians.

Neal believes that the welfare issues with animals in Tonga all stem from this lack of easily accessible care.

"Basically there is a lack of access to stuff. Parasitism, uncontrolled breeding, malnutrition, skin conditions. Not because there is a degree of neglect, in fact probably the opposite. They do care for their animals but they cannot access the resources they need to do that including dog/cat food, flea and worm treatments and health care and medications. This does not exist. It's not that they don't want to get help it's just not accessible," Neal said.

That is where SPAW steps in to help out. At the clinic on Thursday there were dogs in all shapes and sizes, as well as cats and kittens. There have even been some ducks brought in this week. All the veterinary care is free. Enditem

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