18 Jul 2017

Vet clinics to improve animal welfare in Tonga

9:12 am on 18 July 2017

Five vets and six vet nurses from New Zealand are to travel to Tonga in August as part of an ongoing campaign to improve small animal welfare in the South Pacific.

SPAW - Tonga vet clinic

Photo: Facebook/ SPAW

The team of volunteers will be there to desex animals, provide parasite treatments and vaccinate dogs against the parvovirus.

The organisation South Pacific Animal Welfare, or SPAW, who is organising the clinic, has facilitated similar trips to South Pacific islands since 2010.

Its executive director Karen Galvan said that the group would also help to educate locals about animal welfare and caring for their pets.

"We are inspiring change by being present, by giving communities in the Pacific access to veternary care," said Ms Galvan.

"Neglect is one thing you see the world over. What I can't stand is when people go 'oh animals are treated so badly in the islands.' Compared to every other nation in the world, no they're not," she said.

"The fact that they don't have access to veterinarians, breeding is out of control, so desexing is such a huge focus for us."

SPAW - Tonga vet clinic

Photo: Facebook/ SPAW

Ms Galvan said the volunteers were looking forward to working in an environment that was different to their New Zealand clinics.

"We want an experience where veterinarians and vet nurses are giving their time and skills to have a really good quality time. So there's a nice mix of learning about culture and seeing some sites, but also doing some really life-enhancing vet work," she said.

The five-day clinics had grown so popular that the teams were kept busy, according to Ms Galvan.

"It's pretty much booked up and our vet teams are working constantly from eight in the morning to six o'clock at night for the full five days."

SPAW - Tonga vet clinic

Photo: Facebook/ SPAW