Army on pet mission in Jigalong

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Captain Garnett Hall with a pet goat brought in for a check.
Camera IconCaptain Garnett Hall with a pet goat brought in for a check. Credit: AACAP

Pets in Jigalong were treated to a week of free animal care recently, when an Australian Army veterinarian and vet nurse rolled into town.

Located four hours drive south-east of Newman, Jigalong is home to nearly 500 residents on the western edge of the Little Sandy Desert.

The Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme is operating in the community, bringing in everything from the Army band to combat engineers of the 21st Construction Squadron as they work on building a new multi-purpose structure and a new barbecue area.

Captain Garnett Hall serves in the Army reserves but can normally be found working as a vet in Perth.

Dr Hall checks over local hound Shenzi
Camera IconDr Hall checks over local hound Shenzi Credit: AACAP

He set up a clinic in an old dialysis building attached to Jigalong’s health centre and travelled door to door checking on as many animals as possible. “We grab a community member, usually someone who has got an interest in animals or functions as a ranger to go door to door and say g’day and have a chat,” Captain Hall said.

“We get around to talking about the animals and I say ‘you want me to worm them, want me to treat them for ticks and vaccinate them?’

“Animal health is very linked to the human health, one of the pillars to making sure you have a health community is to have healthy animals.”

The AACAP’s vet clinic treated 14 dogs and one goat on their first day, and on their second day they also saw a calf come through.

Captain Hall said while there were a lot of ticks on the animals it was not uncommon and in fact Jigalong’s animals were in better shape than he usually sees when serving in remote communities.

“I’ve done a few of these and I think this community is lucky enough that they do have vet visits every now and again,” Captain Hall said.

He credited Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities or AMRRIC in particular for the higher standard of pet health.

Alongside treating parasites the visiting vet clinic performed de-sexing services, cleaned out fight wounds and treated ear infections.

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