Te Are Manu has three volunteer vets from overseas who have stayed behind in Cook Islands to work at the clinic.
Dr Ellen McBryde from Australia, Dr Katie Thompson from the United Kingdom and Dr Anika Fleischer from Germany are working alongside the local managers, Debbie Topp and Pip Henderson.
SPCA, however, has had to cut back its hours: its dog shelter still operates 24/7, but it is other open for emergencies only until 7pm each day. “We can no longer do 24/7,” said manager Deborah Ramage.
Te Are Manu vet clinic president Patricia Barton said they were fortunate to have these vets staying longer than originally planned. “We are still very busy and it is currently business as usual with additional measures being implemented such as social distancing and hand sanitisers around the clinic for pet owners and staff to use.”
Barton said they have requested that anyone wanting to go to the clinic must call them on 27719 and make an appointment.
The clinic is caring for a few abandoned kittens, until they can find them homes.
“This is not easy and we encourage the general public to assist us with this by either helping to care for a kitten until a permanent home can be found, or by actively looking for a new home for a kitten.
“We are also asking people to bring in the mother cat of any kittens so that we can de-sex /spay her and try to reduce the number of kittens being dumped/found. The return of our pert carry cages would also be much appreciated.”
She said: “We are not sure how COVID-19 will affect us long term – travel restrictions have already meant future volunteers have had to cancel their plans to visit the Cook Islands, and we are struggling to get some supplies in, but we are currently still able to function as normal.
“We are doing what we can as a clinic to assist our current volunteers however it is a large financial burden for them to remain here long term.
“We are also incredibly grateful for the generosity of our community at this time with continued support through donations despite the current issues affecting all Cook Islanders.”
Barton said the vet clinic did not have an animal ambulance, so was reliant on the SPCA to pick up animals in need – or on the public to bring in injured animals.
“We have unfortunately had to cancel planned Vet Treks to Aitutaki and Atiu (originally scheduled for this April) due to Covid-19 but we are very keen to continue providing veterinary services to the Pa Enua once travel restrictions are lifted and the risk of Covid-19 has subsided.”
The clinic still has many works that need doing at the clinic so if anyone has a few spare hours to help out the clinic would appreciate this.
Anything from helping do the washing, clean kennels, mow lawns etc would be appreciated. Anyone who is interested can contact clinic manager Debbie on 27719.
For any livestock Issues, the Ministry of Agriculture provides an emergency after-hours number.