Horsham veterinarians encourage equine service support

Horse lover Amanda Rigby with Rail Lifter. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER
Horse lover Amanda Rigby with Rail Lifter. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

HORSHAM’S Your Family Vet owner Penny Schwarz has encouraged horse owners to take their animals to their regular veterinarian.

Dr Schwarz, who took over and rebranded O’Callaghan Parade Veterinary Clinic on Monday, said the business no longer dealt with horses.

But she said horses had never been a large portion of the clinic’s workload.

“We just don’t attend to horses on a routine basis,’’ she said.

Dr Schwarz said clients did not routinely call about horses.

She said the clinic could not provide the work if it was not requested.

Dr Schwarz said people had taken to social media to complain that the clinic did not treat horses.

Several horse owners have banded together to call for a 24-hour equine veterinarian service in the city.

But Dr Schwarz said the clinic could not provide that service.

“Most of these people aren’t our clients,’’ she said.

“The horse’s veterinarian is the best one to see.’’

The clinic will continue to treat other large animals such as sheep, alpacas and cattle.

Dr Schwarz said she had researched the subject of horses thoroughly.

She has spoken with the Australian Veterinary Association and the Veterinary Practitioners Board of Victoria.

Dr Schwarz said she was told that without frequent upskilling and facilities she could be found to be negligible.

“I also have a responsibility as an employer to make sure my employees are in a safe environment,’’ she said.

She said the cost of training and facilities was also an issue.

“It’s been coming for a long time,’’ she said.

“The other clinic stopped doing horses a long time ago.”

Dr Schwarz said the best case scenario would be if there was a veterinarian who focused on equine work in the city.

She said there were services in Stawell and Ballarat, along with Brian Clarke in the Wimmera, who dealt with horses.

“In absolute extreme cases we’ll do our best,’’ she said.

“But we can’t be expected to provide emergency services when we don’t get any routine work.

“But we don’t want to see horses suffer. We don’t want to do the wrong thing by the horse.’’

Horsham Veterinary Hospital principal Debbie Delahunty agreed people should approach their regular veterinarian first.

She encouraged people to support Ballarat’s service to ensure it continued in the Wimmera.

“We are a small animal practice but in times of need we will provide an emergency service,” she said.


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