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Crowdfunding to boost veterinary services and research


University raises funds to provide accommodation, treatment and recovery programmes for fire-affected animals

The University of Sydney has launched an online appeal to raise funds for emergency veterinary assistance for wildlife, livestock and family pets affected by Australia’s bushfire crisis.

The university will provide emergency accommodation and treatment for injured animals, as well as specialist support for regional vets and wildlife carers.

Research teams will also work with government agencies and wildlife rescue shelters to collect data and develop recovery programmes.

“In response to the current bushfire emergency, the university is extending and increasing its current veterinary services for wildlife, livestock and companion animals affected by the bushfires as a matter of urgent priority,” a university statement said.

“A dedicated crowdfunding campaign has been established to enable the community to provide financial contributions to assist the university with this effort.”

So far, bushfires burning across eastern and southern Australia have destroyed more than 2,100 homes and killed 29 people. Andrew Constance, the New South Wales transport minister, has described the fires as “a humanitarian disaster” that have left tens of thousands of people homeless across the state.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries estimates that 2,800 horses, more than 2,000 dogs and around 500 cats are being housed at emergency evacuation shelters across the state.

The university has two veterinary hospitals in Sydney’s outer suburbs, which are treating wildlife affected by the fires. Its expanded emergency veterinary services will include a national koala health hub to provide online clinical assessment resources for veterinary clinic staff. There is information on treating koalas for burns and infectious diseases, as well as recommended dosages for commonly used veterinary drugs.

Frazer Allan, head of the university’s school of veterinary science, said the campaign would support the work of state agencies and animal welfare charities such as WIRES, the state’s largest wildlife rescue and education service.

“The Sydney school of veterinary science and the wider university has a wealth of knowledge and resources that it can and has used to help wildlife impacted by the bushfire crisis,” he said in a university statement.

“We welcome the public’s support in helping us to use our expertise and services to do whatever we can to both assist the vets and other professionals treating animals as well as using our own clinics to treat affected animals.”