Support offered to Cyclone affected veterinary teams

Published on 17 February 2023.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is putting a call out to all veterinarians affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, asking how they are faring and what support they need.

“The first of a series of webinars was held at 2pm this afternoon to check in on as many veterinarians as possible, “ NZVA Chief Executive Kevin Bryant said. “We know telecommunications are still problematic for many people but we are keen to develop a clear picture of what is needed, particularly in remote parts of the country.”

Animal welfare issues have been top of mind for veterinarians in the Upper North Island since the Cyclone hit, including animals that have been displaced or made unwell or injured by flood water or storm damage. Significant issues have also arisen for many farmers, particularly in relation to cows that have not been milked as usual.

“The key questions we are asking our members are “Do you have a good stock of medicines?, Do you have sufficient staff? and Are your clinics able to be used?,” Kevin said. “Animal food and medicine suppliers have been calling us asking what they can provide and we have had numerous offers from veterinarians and other veterinary professionals to visit cyclone-damaged parts of the country to help out.”

The NZVA is keeping a register of veterinarians offering support and will match people with teams in need as required. The organisation is working alongside local emergency management co-ordinators to ensure that any additional supplies or personnel are provided in a way that fits with the overall disaster response.

“Behind the scenes we are also supporting veterinarians across the country through our wellbeing support provider Vitae,” Kevin said. “Aside from the difficulties associated with responding to a disaster like this, the death of volunteer firefighter and vet Dave van Zwanenberg has greatly affected many people in the veterinary community,” he said.