I recently had the opportunity and luck to visit Borroloola on the western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, to assist Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Centre in continuing its successful program of dog health in the local communities, camps and outstations. It was my first trip to this part of Australia and, being at the end of a late Wet, the country was looking spectacular, with dancing brolgas disappearing into waving acres of head-high grasses at the road side, huge mobs of black cockatoos flying over the swollen MacArthur river, its banks dotted with 5 o'clock fishing families. The rental car just made it through some of the puddles on the way from Highway Inn.
My assistant, Darilyn, who has worked with Jo Manson, the previous vet, over the last few years, showed her experience and made the desexing program run very smoothly. We were only able to visit the communities close to town, as it was deemed too risky to attempt visits to the outstations so close to the wet season. I met some wonderful folk and have owe them thanks for making my visit such a good experience.
Over a 2 week period we speyed 22 female dogs, castrated 7 male dogs, removed 55 bladder stones from another dog, and removed a nasty tumour from another. Parasite control programs were ongoing, and I have to say the general health of the dog population was good, with only a few exceptions of heavy tick burdens (associated with minimal debility), and a few severe mange infestations. It seems that the dog health program is achieving some real success.
I will be returning to Borroloola in September this year with the aim of enhancing the training program for local people interested in dog health, and visiting all the outstations.
AMRRIC enabled me through its great resources to feel very much at ease in this first visit of mine to Borroloola. Thanks also to Carol at Mabunji for her great support.