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John and Nicole volunteer in Northern Territory remote community

By John Morgan | Dated May 2, 2018

Imagine being 7 hours away from the closest vet. To have your beloved pet looked at for a skin condition, vaccination, desexing or, God forbid, examined for an emergency incident would require 14 hours of driving. Not to mention that during wet season the roads to get to the nearest vet could be closed. This is a reality facing so many Australians living in remote communities.

The red dirt roads became a very familiar site.

Earlier in April, Nicole and I had the opportunity to volunteer to help Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC) and Roper Gulf Regional Council deliver veterinary services in one of these communities. While in many ways a confronting experience, it was one of the most rewarding weeks of my career so far.

The “pop-up” clinic we put together for the week.

The dogs in this particular community were well fed, looked after and very affectionate. Our role was to help build relationships, desex animals with the consent of the owners for population control and for health reasons and provide tick and worm medication to help reduce the serious parasite burdens these dogs face. In the long run the aim is to improve the quality of the lives not only of the dogs in this community but also their owners.

School groups were welcome into the theatre to view surgery and learn about our work.

We had a successful week and desexed 47 animals, but there is much more work to be done. Roper Gulf Regional Council will be returning on a 6 monthly basis to help keep the numbers of undesexed dogs down.

This dog had a type of mange that causes hair loss and itching. She had medication to help manage it.

We learnt so much during our time with AMRRIC and Roper Gulf Regional Council and hope to work with them again and put this new knowledge to use in another community in the future.

The whole team together at the end of our week.

If you would like to support AMRRIC please go to https://www.amrric.org/ to find out how you can help!

John Morgan
Written by John Morgan

John first started with Gordon Vet Hospital back in 2004 as a weekend Nurse while studying Veterinary Science. When he graduated he worked in Goulburn for a few years before spending 2 years doing locum work through Canada. John returned to Australia in 2013 and came back to Gordon Vet Hospital. John completed his postgraduate studies in Small Animal Practice in 2013 and in 2015 gained Membership to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery.

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