The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is calling on the next Federal Government to cover costs of essential veterinary care in disaster responses.

Sixty per cent of veterinary practices in Qld and NSW flood-affected areas were recently forced to close, half of those for five days or more.

Dr Cristy Secombe, Head of Veterinary and Public Affairs at the AVA, said vets in the affected areas have been using their own money to cover the costs of essential veterinary care.

“Vets should not be having to dig so deeply into their own pockets or set up Go-Fund-Me pages to cover these essential animal care costs. There should be a national framework for vets to access government support quickly to provide essential animal care to those in need.

“In the long term, the drain of high amounts of ‘in kind’ labour is leading to low pay for veterinary professionals and workforce shortages – making it harder for everyone to find a vet.”

Dr Secombe said this was an all too familiar situation, after experiencing it with the 2020/21 bushfires and previous floods.

“The community rightly has an expectation that these animals are cared for, and the government has a responsibility to step in with assistance.”

The AVA recently launched a federal election platform highlighting key recommendations, including the development of a mechanism to allow consistent veterinary services delivered in natural disasters to unowned animals, including wildlife.