Our veterinarian Dr Nicole of Vetwest Canning Vale recently volunteered her time and skills at a charity animal clinic in a region in Bali. Read her story here:
"For those of you who are interested in the welfare of animals around the world, volunteering in charity animal clinics in third world countries is a rewarding and very enjoyable experience. It is a great way to learn about different cultures and meet local people in a more informal manner then when visiting as a tourist. I recently spent one month volunteering in a charity clinic called BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) which is set amongst the rice paddy fields in the inland hilly region of Ubud, Bali.
Bali in recent years has had a large number of human rabies cases. These cases have been the result of bites from mainly dogs carrying the viral disease. A major focus of the BAWA clinic has been to vaccinate a large proportion of the dogs on the island. Approximately 70% of the dog population has been successfully vaccinated in the last 12 months. This vaccination program will need to be repeated every three years. Now the focus of the clinic is on the neutering/ sterilisation of dogs and cats, and also on the treatment of sick and injured animals to improve the health of animals on the island. The sterilisation program and preventative health programs help to reduce the spread of rabies by reducing the general animal population and reducing the territorial aggression of street dogs.
BAWA employs a large number of local veterinarians and veterinary nurses supporting the livelihood of local Balinese and Indonesians. The clinic sees a large range of diseases not seen so frequently in Australia, due to the more rigorous prophylaxis undertaken in Australia such as vaccination, worming and flea treatments. In my stay I saw many cases of distemper and parvovirus, which unfortunately are generally fatal in the Bali environment, some suspect rabies cases, a tetanus case and numerous road traffic trauma cases.
The education is very much two ways, with Western veterinarians able to bring in new ideas, and Balinese veterinarians teaching how to treat animals on a shoestring budget, with minimal diagnostic equipment.
The Indonesians and Balinese staff were a joy to work with, working in a much more relaxed manner than found in the Western world. The highlights for me were the varied interesting people and animals I met, although the food and beautiful scenery deserve a mention."