12 Dec 2018

SPAW sees need for vets in Tonga

12:31 pm on 12 December 2018

There is huge demand for veterinary care in Tonga which has no veterinarians, the South Pacific Animal Welfare group (SPAW) says.

SPAW veterinarians working in the Pacific.

SPAW veterinarians working in the Pacific. Photo: SPAW

The New Zealand based SPAW conducted a free, week-long workshop in the country earlier this month.

Its lead veterinarian, Geoff Neal, said up to 500 animals were attended to.

The workload shows that at least one veterinarian is needed on Tonga, Dr Neal said.

"It's just the ability for it to occur. That's the challenge going forward for the Kingdom of Tonga, getting that in place," he said.

"They definitely need a permanent facility and a permanent veterinarian and veterinary service. It's not just Tongatapu, there is 'Eua and the Ha'apai group and Vava'u.

"It is a big country, vastly spread out, with a lot of animals."

Mr Neal said SPAW veterinarians dealt with about 100 animals each day in Tonga.

"There's a lot of desexing work, spay and neuter for cats and dogs but also injuries, sick animals, skin problems, vaccinations of puppies to keep them healthy, livestock cases.

"We've had sick ducks come in, we've had pigs with mange. Literally if it has four legs or two legs and needs assistance then we try our best to do whatever we can for them."