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Vet shortage

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, June 16, 2014

THE continuous departure of qualified international vets remains a major concern for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"And the society could only hope that new vets joining the organisation could finish their term properly," SPCA committee president Deepak Rathod told this newspaper at the weekend.

He confirmed that Dr Jo Olver, who had spent the last year with them, left the country last week after getting an offer from abroad.

"Dr Jo Olver left last week and has been with us for less than two years," Mr Rathod said.

"We had a three-year contract with her but, unfortunately, she got an offer from abroad so she had to leave.

"We have signed a contract with a vet from Poland and we are just waiting for the medical report and she should start with us probably by mid-July.

"Once a medical report comes in, we will then lodge her work permit with the Immigration Department."

Mr Rathod said vets who came to Fiji kept returning abroad because they were not paid well enough here.

"This is why we can't keep a vet here for too long. When there are no vets, we have vet nurses that assist but they can't do operations. The government vets sometimes help us if there is an emergency or when there is a need for surgery.

"At least, if we can have a vet to stick around for two years, it's really good as it stabilises everything and once we see that she/he is here for a longer period, we can then acquire for a second vet. We're trying to get this place stabilised a bit."

He added the clinic at Garden City had also been closed in the past three months as Dr Asha Reddy had also left.

"At the moment there is no private vet in Suva, Navua and Pacific Harbour but there are government vets. There has always been a shortage of vets in Fiji. We have a number of local people who are qualified vets but most preferred to go abroad."

From last year, the SPCA has issued around 400 licences to pet owners.

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