On World Veterinary Day (April 27), Vets Beyond Borders celebrates the contributions of veterinarians and veterinary nurses to the health of animals and communities around the world.
Vets Beyond Borders is an Australian-based, international charity that deploys volunteer veterinarians, nurses and other animal welfare workers throughout the year to deliver animal health and community awareness where they are desperately needed.
“Since 2003, VBB volunteers have made a measurable contribution to the health and welfare of animals and people in developing communities around the world. They have carried out extensive rabies vaccination, public education and animal birth control measures to assist prevention of the spread of zoonotic diseases in the population,” said VBB CEO Maryann Dalton.
In the last financial year, VBB desexed more than 7,000 animals, administered nearly 36,000 doses of anti-rabies vaccine and 290 doses of distemper vaccine, in addition to the medical, surgical and hospital care volunteers provided to hundreds of sick and injured domestic animals and wildlife¹.
Through its VetMatch and VetTrain programs, VBB provides the volunteers and facilitates clinical skill development of local vets.
VBB volunteer Dr Victoria Bondin, a veterinary surgeon in Malta, travelled last year to Ladakh, India, where she was involved in desexing and vaccinating street dogs for rabies.
“I want to make a difference, however small, in the suffering that stray animals endure,” she said. “I know there is a big stray dog problem in India, which brings with it a huge rabies problem. I look forward to the day when this disease can be eradicated for good.”
Providing vet students experience of a lifetime
VBB also provides invaluable experiences for veterinary students, through its new partnership with the University of Sydney, to volunteer in Cambodia.
Emily Bidgood, final year vet student at Sydney University, said, “The opportunities for veterinary students to help in Cambodia are endless, including sharing their academic knowledge and gaining practical experience. It opens your eyes to the difference within the world and makes you appreciate the extremely high level of veterinary care we have in Australia.”
VBB’s VetTrain program also offers training to veterinarians in developing countries on various clinical disciplines to allow appropriate treatment of the myriad of diseases and injuries that afflict animals struggling for survival on the streets of towns and cities around the world.
VBB VetTrain volunteer and veterinarian Dr Luke Michel of NSW said he always enjoyed teaching and finds that it helps him to continue learning and reminds him of important principles that he needs to use in his day-to-day work.
“I’ve been very lucky to work with some terrific vets over the years who have taught and mentored me, and I’d love to be able to pass on what they’ve shown me,” he said. “To stay passionate about my job I need to have new experiences that I enjoy and highlight how lucky we are to work in this industry.”
VBB volunteers are priceless!
Ms Dalton said Vets Beyond Borders is grateful for the continued generosity of volunteers throughout the year. After all, volunteers pay for their own travel expenses.
“We need funds to purchase medical equipment and vaccinations to treat street dogs for distemper, parvo and rabies. We encourage animal lovers to support VBB volunteers in giving animals in developing communities access to basic veterinary care and training local vets to make a difference, too,” she said.
To donate to Vets Beyond Borders or for more information about the animal health and community awareness programs in Australia and around the world, visit www.vetsbeyondborders.org