Animal welfare implications of treating wildlife in Australian veterinary practices.
Authors of this article are:
Orr B, Tribe A.
A summary of the article is shown below:
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the extent, costs, demands and expectations of Australian veterinary practices in the treatment of wildlife, to identify potential risks to animal welfare based on the current situation and to propose recommendations for improvements.METHODS: A survey was sent to all veterinary practices across Australia identified through the website Yellow Pages®. The survey was designed as a cross-sectional study. Data were collected using an online self-completed questionnaire and analysed using IBM SPSS 19.0.RESULTS: Of the 902 veterinary practices contacted, 132 (14.6%) completed the questionnaire. Most practices (82%) saw less than 10 wildlife patients per week, with birds and marsupials most commonly admitted. Vehicular trauma, trauma (other) and predation made up the majority (82%) of presentations. However, wildlife cases were only examined immediately upon presentation in 20% of practices, with 74% reporting they only attended to wildlife whenever they had spare time. The majority (90%) of veterinary practices never or rarely received reimbursement for their wildlife work, indicating most is performed pro bono. Several barriers to treatment were highlighted, including time and a lack of knowledge/skills.CONCLUSION: Private veterinary practices play a more significant role in wildlife treatment than has been previously thought. The effect of perceived barriers on willingness to treat wildlife requires further research. Further investigation into educational resources to aid veterinary assessment of wildlife should also be considered.© 2018 Australian Veterinary Association.
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Australia;animal welfare;veterinarians;veterinary practices;wildlife
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