Friday, January 21, 2011

Pets seek refuge in "Noahs Ark" after Queensland floods

A veterinary clinic is helping to house and care for the massive numbers of lost pets after the devastating Queensland floods
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Dozens of pets find haven in university's Noah's ark

Date: January 18 2011

A VETERINARIAN clinic in south-eastern Queensland has become a Noah's ark after receiving more than 80 pets separated from their owners by the floods.

Staff at the Gatton veterinary medical centre at the University of Queensland have spent the past week feeding, washing and caring for 35 dogs, 20 birds, 10 cats, seven horses, five guinea pigs, two rats, two quails and two Siamese fighting fish.

And more sick, injured and lost animals that survived the Lockyer Valley floods are arriving at the clinic.

Adjunct Professor Bob Doneley was the only small-animal vet left on the Gatton campus when floods hit eight days ago.

He offered the clinic's services to the Lockyer Valley council after electricity and water supply could not be guaranteed at the local pound.

Professor Doneley said yesterday: ''They came one by one - dogs covered in mud, cats terrified from their ordeal and horses that had worn down their hooves swimming for up to 30 hours to stay afloat.

''The council's animal management officers did an amazing job searching houses and buildings for animals that had survived the flood. In some cases they had to rescue animals from houses that had … collapsed.''

An equine veterinarian, Andrew Van Eps, said his staff were heading out to farms to treat horses that had contracted pneumonia after breathing in floodwater while swimming for their lives.

''We are also caring for a miniature horse foal that is only a few days old and was orphaned by the floods.''

In yet another display of community spirit, Professor Doneley said businesses and the public had all chipped in to donate food for the animals.

The Petstock shop in Toowoomba gave almost five tonnes of food and flea products, and another five tonnes came from Lockyer Valley locals.

The Forest Hill butcher donated bones to keep the dogs busy during their cage rest, and up to 20 people from Gatton and surrounding small towns volunteered to be carers in the clinic.

Some of the pets have been reunited with their owners, but the clinic does need people who can foster others in the meantime.

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